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Headline: Mukasey Hedges on Waterboarding

In his first appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee since taking office as US Attorney General, Michael Mukasey said that his opinion on the legality of waterboarding as an interrogation technique would depend on the circumstances.

Mukasey's reluctance to comment stems from the fact that waterboarding is not officially considered part of CIA interrogation protocols. A ruling, therefore, is not needed. Mukasey went on to say that in an instance where the CIA director might want to use this technique, it would be an issue that would have to go before the President as well as notification sent to the Judiciary Committee.

In one exchange:

Senator Kennedy asked, "Would waterboarding be torture if it was done to you?"

To see Mukasey's response,


Mukasey answered, "I would feel that it was."

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) opened the hearing saying this:

"Torture and illegality have no place in America . . . waterboarding has been recognised as torture for the last 500 years. We prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding Americans during World War Two."

Was Mukasey right to demure as a matter of relevance and national security? Do we need our Attorney General to state that waterboarding is torture? Do you think it is?


Join The Conversation
jnj213 jnj213 9 years
I like how we say it's not American soil so it's okay.. but you know if Cuba tried to take back Guantanamo everyone would flip out. I think the bottom line is it doesn't matter where you are - torture is a heinous thing. We don't need it.
"If it was me, it's torture. If it's ome guy named Mohammed, it's perfectly acceptable." Can we say double standards?
raciccarone, thank you for the "24" comparison. Well needed! Again, if we prosecuted another country for the exact same action in the past, why is it not torture when America performs it?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I love that Cheney and Bush, who have never served one day in the military find torture acceptable. And for anyone else who says they're okay with it, try having someone hold your head under water until you think you're going to die and then make some flippant remark like "it's a no brainer". Also, that argument about captives knowing of a potential threat and not cooperating is just lame. This is not 24. Jack Bauer isn't going to "break" someone at the last minute. You want to stop a terrorist? Give him a reason to live.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Thank you, City Girl. Torture is not a joke.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
If we prosecuted other countries for doing this, we can't argue that it is ok for us to use it. We need respect around the world!
stephley stephley 9 years
I think the Attorney General does need to say whether waterboarding is torture. Many Americans feel that the Bush Administration has broken laws in its treatment of the people it holds at Guantanamo and other sites around the world and if this Congress ever decides to behave morally, and hold the President accountable for his transgressions against the Constitution, it would be important to know where the Attorney General stands and if he would support the law.
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 9 years
Which would accomplish nothing at all, make him look petty, and distract from a real and important discussion taking place on the use of waterboarding.
piper23 piper23 9 years
If it were Bin Laden being waterboarded, I would ask to hold the waterhose.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I would have said "well senator kennedy is leaving a girl to die in a submerged vehicle murder?"
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