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November 08, 2007 08:35 PM UTC

Salazar Once Bitten, Twice Shy

  • by: Colorado Pols

Take this as a sure sign Sen. Ken Salazar won’t get burned by any more disastrous Bush attorney general nominees, as the Pueblo Chieftain reports on the Mukasey confirmation proceedings:

Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey may not have been able to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee last week whether an interrogation technique called waterboarding is torture, but Colorado’s two senators weren’t as reluctant to take opposing positions Wednesday.

Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat, told reporters in a telephone press conference he could not vote for Mukasey because the retired federal judge would not agree that waterboarding Ñ which simulates drowning Ñ is torture under U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions.

“From my point of view, this is not a complex issue,” Salazar said. “It is torture, it is illegal and it is inhumane. And because of Judge Mukasey’s inadequate responses to my questions, I am going to be opposing him in his confirmation process.”

Taking the other side, Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican, said no one has yet to define what kind of waterboarding U.S. interrogators may be using. Saying waterboarding can include everything from holding a detainee’s head under water to holding a wet wash rag on the face, Allard said Mukasey was right not to give an opinion on the procedure to the Senate committee…


26 thoughts on “Salazar Once Bitten, Twice Shy

    1. again proves why he is one of the great thinkers in the Senate.  He should be familiar with some features of waterboarding since he has his head so far up Bush’s ass.

  1. I mean, if Schumer and what’s-her-name from California are supporting the guy, doesn’t it seem a little wierd for Salazar to be coming out against him?  It seems a little out of step to me

    1.   The Salazar pendulum was due to swing to the left on this one. 
        I was keeping a rough count of how K.S. voted for a while, and it seemed that he was going centrist on one issue, then leftist on the next, then back to centrist, etc., etc.
        But your point is well taken…..on this issue, he’s to the left of Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein.  Time for Kos and to lay off him for a while.

      1. Though will certainly provide ammo for Republicans in 2010.  You can almost hear the ads being broadcasted saying how Salazar was left of Schumer and Feinstein (thanks for clarifying for me that it was Feinstein, BTW).

        1. You could say that people who support torture are to the left of Pol Pot or to the right of Franco, the characterization of left/right is misleading.

        1. To oppose a well qualified nominee.  I mean, I don’t like Schumer’s politics but I have to give the man credit for being a relentless watch dog over judicial nominations.  If the man who opposed Roberts, Alito, and Gonzo (IIRC) is for Mukasey, doesn’t that say something?

          1.   is that Mukasey, despite waffling to cover Bush Admin on torture, is committed to restoring integrity and professional  operations to DoJ.

              But if the guy is unable or unwilling to make the hard call on the fundamental issue of legalizing torture, what reason is there to expect he will be willing to enforce professionalism whenever push comes to shove with his boss at the White House?  I get the rationale, but this doesn’t seem like an acceptable trade-off to me.


      2. Think warrantless wiretapping.  He as proven a very deft politician.  I won’t venture into the debate over whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, for fear of upsetting the Pols.

  2. I had no idea, but apparently my mom used to perform waterboard torture on me when I was sick. I have a new respect for how we’re treating prisoners now.

    1. Did you cough up pints of water when your mom was done washing your face?


      “In contrast to merely submerging the head, waterboarding elicits the gag reflex,[3] and can make the subject believe death is imminent. Waterboarding’s use as a method of torture or means to support interrogation is based on its ability to cause extreme mental distress while possibly creating no lasting physical damage to the subject.

      The psychological effects on victims of waterboarding can last long after the procedure.[4] Although waterboarding in cases can leave no lasting physical damage, it carries the real risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries as a result of struggling against restraints (including broken bones), and even death.[5]”

  3. what clinched his decision to oppose was Mukasey saying that his reaction to a government request to use waterboarding would depend on whether there was an intent to cause pain ( Denver Post p.8).  Can anybody think of any OTHER possible reason to use waterboarding or any other form of torture?  I guess this sounded as ridiculous to Sen. Salazar as it does to me.

    Many Dems are afraid to stand strong against waterboarding or torture in general because they are afraid of the Republican charge that their objections are about coddling terrorists.  They let the Republicans present it as a choice between  being too fussy about the legality of torture as opposed to protecting us against terrorists.

    Dems need to use the huge amount of studies and testimony from experienced intelligence personnel to  get out from under that spin.

    1) Torture is such a poor unreliable tool for obtaining accurate information, using it actually puts us in more danger and gets more people killed because that’s what happens when you send people out with bad information.  It’s not about coddling.  It’s about avoiding lousy  unreliable tools that don’t work to keep us safe.

    2)  No question that waterboarding is illegal torture.  We’ve courtmartialed our own soldiers for it and prosecuted Japanese soldiers.  It’s been recognized and banned in our law and international law as torture with precedent going back 100 years.

    3) the one thing torture is very good for is getting false confessions, accusations, fabrications and anything else the torturer wants.  Thats why it has never been used primarily for information gathering.  Its formost use has always been by repressive regimes to get the phony stories and confessions they need to terrorize the public and advance their agendas. 

    Much of the false intel that Bush used to take us to war was obtained by torture in foreign countries as was intel that led to all those convenint false alarm terror scares they kept feeding us during the 2004 elections.

    Apparently the Bush administration WAS using torture, not because they were stupid enough to believe it works well to get accurate info, but for it’s age old intended purpose: getting people to say stuff they need to create phony stories to deceive the public.

    The best way Dems can get this info out to a public that already mainly rejects torture and let people know the choice Republicans pose is a false one and that other techniques work far better than torture to get the  accurate info we need would be to filibuster Mukasey.  They could spend hours reading all the facts into the record on C-span and get wide media coverage. 

    They could stop being afraid of Republican taunts and instead ridicule Republicans for mistaking the silly world of “24” for documentary reality.  The parade of high ranking retired military and intel people who would be happy to  educate the public would be long enough to fuel debate for as long as they cared to keep it up.  Too bad they probably are STILL too afraid of the Republican spin machine.  Never mind most Americans stopped buying their crap long ago. 

    Thank you Senator Salazar.

    1.   You are correct the real test of Salazar and the Dems is when/if they are willing to directly confront and overrule the Bush Admin on this issue (or any other) with a filibuster or other procedures.

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