Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s confirmation hearings got underway this morning, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) explored Mukasey’s position on administration torture policies. His response was surprising.
Not only did Michael Mukasey repudiate the so-called 2002 “torture memo” signed by Office of Legal Counsel chief Jay Bybee — which appears to have survived in spirit, if not in letter — but he compared U.S. torture to the Holocaust. [...]
The Bybee memo is “worse than a sin, it’s a mistake,” Mukasey said. He referenced the photographs taken by U.S. troops who liberated the Nazi concentration camps in 1945 to document the “barbarism” the U.S. opposed. “They didn’t do that so that we could then duplicate it ourselves.” Beyond legal restrictions barring torture clearly, torture is “antithetical to everything this country stands for.”
One suspects the ensuing firestorm to Mukasey’s remarks will be a little less intense (which is to say, non-existent).