My colleague Howard Salter and I had a funny conversation a couple of weeks ago that evolved into this blog post of his, a lost scene of the Godfather acted out by various personalities in Vice President Cheney’s office. The title of the post: Who Got to Mukasey?
I smacked myself afterwards for failing to make the obvious connection that should be obvious to all Godfather fans. Judge Michael Mukasey is Frank Pentangeli, the would-be witness against the Corleone crime family who suddenly recants his testimony. In Godfather, Part II, the Corleones fly Pengangeli’s brother in to remind him where he came from; Howard jokes something similar may be afoot with the sudden change in tone between days one and two of the Mukasey hearings.
By all accounts, Judge Mukasey is a bright man with a record of independent judgment. However, his unwillingness to identify waterboarding as torture undercuts his credibility completely. The question that must be asked is: can a reasonable, independent-minded jurist conclude that waterboarding might not be torture? The answer, as far as Citizens for Global Solutions is concerned, is no.
Here’s the statement of Raj Purohit:
“Citizens for Global Solutions opposes the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for United States Attorney General because of his unwillingness to support long-established international legal standards related to torture and interrogation. An individual unable to state on the record that waterboarding is torture cannot be trusted to hold the position of Attorney General. The United States is a nation of laws and our standing in the world has eroded in recent years because the current administration has flouted well-established legal norms. The Senate must prevent a continuation of this negative trend and should reject the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey.”
— Scott Paul