Note that Alberto Gonzales insisted on the inclusion of an infamous footnote which stated that, notwithstanding the different analysis, it was not overturning the advice given by the Yoo/Bybee torture memorandum. Although Levin grudgingly included this, that was not enough to save his job. Why did the Administration insist on this footnote? Because people had in fact been waterboarded, and this occurred with the authority of some of the senior-most officials of the Administration: Cheney, Addington, Gonzales and Rumsfeld, for instance. Without this, the door would be open for their criminal prosecution. Senior officials of the Administration were manipulating the issuance of opinions in the Justice Department to shield themselves from criminal prosecution.At what point are the Democrats in congress part of the problem? I'd say right now. It is no secret that the Bush administration has violated the 4th Amendment in spying on Americans without a warrant. They have all but admitted this as a fact, and the facts (what precious few we have been able to glean) speak for themselves. The retro-active immunity for telecoms in the new FISA legislation is really all about the Bush administration trying to cover its own ass for breaking the law.
There is no serious or competent basis upon which waterboarding can be claimed to be legal. The persistence of these bogus arguments is just more evidence of the deterioration of public discourse. Our habit as a nation has always been to accept anything that our political leadership states as a respectabe contention, even if worthy of criticism. But with the arrival of the Bush Administration this has become an extremely dangerous premise. There is no respectable opinion that can hold waterboarding legal. It is criminal depravity. When we allow its justification as an article of polite conversation, we deal our society and its values a potentially mortal wound.
“Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable,” George Orwell reminded us in “Politics and the English Language.” In the waterboarding debate, Orwell’s warning has found its most literal application.
The administration got Mukasey to do an about face on the subject of torture between his first and second day's testimony during senate hearings on his confirmation as AG. His response to follow-up questions from Sens. Leahy and Spector denouncing waterboarding as torture was designed to provide cover from prosecution of war crimes for those in the administration that have authorized its use. Anyone with half a brain recognizes this. I would have to include those members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have apparently seen fit to give Mukasey a pass for being oblique on the question as to whether waterboarding is torture or not.
That's just two examples within the past two freaking weeks of demonstrable proof of not only impeachable offences, but offences which could land the most senior members of this criminal administration on the gallows in The Hague, being ignored by some of the most senior Democrats in the House and Senate.
The enablers in congress (Fienstein, Schumer, Rockefeller for caving on the Mukasey nomination and the new FISA legislation, and also Pelosi and Reid for leaving impeachment off the table) have twice given these criminals a pass in just the past two weeks, despite overwhelming evidence that the most senior members of the administration have broken the law. This is no blow job, these are real crimes... crimes against us, crimes against humanity.
When will it end?