Thursday, November 1, 2007

The AG Quandary

I've been thinking about the Mukasy for attorney general nomination and the "waterboarding" issue. Many smarter blogs have pointed out that if Mukasy admitted that waterboarding is torture, he would then be obligated to prosecute members of the CIA and others for their acts.
And this got me thinking of the essential quandary facing congress regarding the next attorney general. If the AG is to uphold the constitution, they must prosecute members of the administration. Shrub is not going to nominate anyone who will prosecute his people. Therefore, any shrub nominee is going to be constitutionally unacceptable.
I believe that congress should reject Mukasy, and most probably any other shrub nominee, but that leads to another problem. How long can the justice department, and the country, operate without an attorney general? Given that the administration won't prosecute itself, congress is the last line of defense.
The constitutional answer would be impeachment. But congress lacks the strength to impeach.
It's a huge dilemma, with no good answer in sight.


gandhisxmas said...

You are right on target here. I was thinking the same thing. This will be very interesting. Everyone knows water boarding is torture under the Geneva Conventions.

But Bush did it anyway. Maybe Bush himself can plead ignorance, but his admin undertook a PR and legal campaign to make waterboarding look legal. Alberto Gonzalez and John Yoo, the President's legal counsel at the time argued EXPLICITLY that enemy combatants are one, not afforded Geneva Convention Rights, and two, torture had to impair body or organ functioning.

The Bush admin committed torture by Geneva Standards. So did members of the US military did the CIA. Now Bush will have problems finding an attorney general because you cant say your boss is a torturer, even if he is.

There is enough evidence to send most of the Bush admin to the Hague...right now.


Jess Wundrun said...

I guess I don't see it as a quandary at all.

Remember that Janet Reno greenlighted the moronic investigations of Bill Clinton that cost us 70 million dollars and yielded nothing?

Here is where dems could show some spine by making your point: no AG can be confirmed by saying that admin officials are above reproach.

If we can accept that it is too late in the game to impeach (why bother?) we can also live without an AG for the next few months as a matter of protest.

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm not a fan of Dan Abrams, but he's been beating this drum on him MSNBC show. He's asking the simple question: Is waterboarding torture or not. Because his point is, if it is considered torture then we have crossed the line as a country.

Expecting an AG to have an opinion on that doesn't seem out of line. Democrats need to keep the pressure on.

FranIAm said...

Well - this one turned out badly, didn't it?

Deep sigh.

I think I need some of that mead from the other post!