Thursday, November 01, 2007

Protecting The Paranoid

Nominee’s Stand May Avoid Tangle of Torture Cases - New York Times: "Jack L. Goldsmith, who served in the Justice Department in 2003 and 2004, wrote in his recent memoir, “The Terror Presidency,” that the possibility of future prosecution for aggressive actions against terrorism was a constant worry inside the Bush administration.

“I witnessed top officials and bureaucrats in the White House and throughout the administration openly worrying that investigators, acting with the benefit of hindsight in a different political environment, would impose criminal penalties on heat-of-battle judgment calls,” Mr. Goldsmith wrote."

One problem: we're not talking about second guessing "heat-of-battle judgment calls". We're talking about approving torture that happened long after the initial heat of the post-9/11 battle faded, torture that is happening today and torture that may happen in the future.

Like the question of telecom immunity in the FISA battle, people continue to obscure the issue by making it sound like we are still living in the world of Oct-Dec 2001. We aren't talking about giving immunity for people who may have done something wrong for the right reason at a time when they thought we were facing imminent danger (the ticking time bomb). We are talking about giving blanket permission to torture and wiretap at all times, both past, present and future, by leaving the question of threat assessment entirely in the hands of people who believe paranoia is a good foreign policy.

Mukasey won't give a straight answer on the question of waterboarding because to do so would put in legal jeopardy people who have advocated torture last year, this year and next year. He isn't protecting Jack Bauer. He's protecting George Bush. And George Bush is no Jack Bauer.


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