Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bush Is In Legal Jeopardy for Torture

Though it failed to send his nomination the way of Robert Bork, Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's evasiveness on the definition of torture has done something historic. It has made it unmistakably clear to mainstream observers that the President may be criminally liable for violating anti-torture laws. Criminal liability of this White House will have wider repercussions than Mr. Mukasey's confirmation. It will reverberate through his tenure as Attorney General, and beyond the end of the Bush administration.

We now know the reason why Mr. Mukasey refused to acknowledge that waterboarding meets the legal definition of torture, or at the very least cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment clearly had nothing to do with not being briefed about the procedure. If he didn't know at the time of the Senate committee hearing, he certainly learned afterwards that the US considered waterboarding criminal and prosecuted it for at least a century. The real reason, as to mainstream news analysts now acknowledge, was that publicly admitting waterboarding is torture or cruel and inhuman would have put the President in jeopardy of criminal charges.