Waterboarding Is Torture Or It Isn’t, Nothing in Between

October 18, 2007 at 3:33 pm | Posted in Torture | Leave a comment

Marty Lederman responds to Judge Mukasey who hedged when asked point blank if waterboarding was torture. Marty writes:

Just now, in response to repeated questions, he insisted that he did not know enough to say whether waterboarding, or any other technique, is torture, cruel treatment under Common Article 3, or otherwise unlawful. It’s really remarkable how far we have fallen when a jurist of Judge Mukasey’s caliber cannot answer such questions without hesitation.

Indeed.

Mukasey said this in response to questions from Senator Whitehouse:

MUKASEY: If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional. […]

WHITEHOUSE: If it’s torture. That’s a massive hedge. I mean, it either is or it isn’t. Do you have an opinion on whether waterboarding…is constitutional?

MUKASEY: If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional.

WHITEHOUSE: I’m very disappointed in that answer. I think it is purely semantic.

MUKASEY: I’m sorry.

Indeed it is very disappointing. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves as a country.

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