A Massive Hedge
The nominee for Attorney General, Judge Mukasey, is not exactly inspiring confidence that he will stand up to President Bush's pro-torture policies. Here he is not knowing whether a mock execution is torture:
WHITEHOUSE: Is waterboarding constitutional?This is just a re-tread of the President's completely unacceptable statements that "we don't torture," always given without bothering to ever let us know what he thinks "torture" is.
MUKASEY: I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.
WHITEHOUSE: "If waterboarding is constitutional" is a massive hedge.
MUKASEY: No, I said, "If it's torture." I'm sorry. I said, "If it's torture."
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, which is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting cloth over their faces, and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning. Is that 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.