"It is shocking that four U.S. Senators running for the Democratic Presidential nomination failed to show up and vote against Judge Mukasey or speak against him during the debate to persuade their fellow Senators that torture is a no-compromise issue.
"Judge Mukasey disqualified himself by refusing to acknowledge what the world has known for centuries: that waterboarding is torture and torture of any kind violates U.S. and international law. Alarmingly, Judge Mukasey already has shown a startling willingness to allow politics to influence his opinion regarding one of the most basic American principles -- human rights.
"The Attorney General is responsible for steadfastly defending the Constitution and implementing the laws of the land, without exception or equivocation. What should have been an easy question to answer-- waterboarding is torture, and torture is illegal-- was not easy for Judge Mukasey, who chose instead to dodge. His actions speak volumes. His answer was unacceptable, and he is unacceptable as the Attorney General of the United States. The Senate could have rejected this nomination with a filibuster. By showing up and speaking out, Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, and Obama might well have stopped his confirmation. Instead, they chose to sit on the sidelines and watch history pass them by.
"Last night, we witnessed a devastating failure of leadership in the fight to take back America, enforce the Constitution, and restore the principles on which this nation was founded.
"This is not what our country needs in its next President.
"Let me be clear: As President, I will ensure that any form of torture, including waterboarding, will never be used. Furthermore, I will direct the Department of Justice to vigorously investigate and prosecute any individual responsible for the use of torture. No one is above the law. No one."
On October 19th, Governor Richardson released the following statement regarding Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture:
"Waterboarding is torture, and anyone who is unwilling to identify it as such is not qualified to be the chief legal officer of the United States of America. If I were in the U.S. Senate, I would vote against Mukasey unless he denounces such specific forms of torture.
"Torture does not work. Mistreatment backfires and destroys our international leadership, as we saw with Abu Ghraib. Torture also endangers our own troops. The standards we adopt may well be what our own troops are subjected to.
"Anytime one makes a person think he or she is being executed, the very nature of waterboarding, it obviously is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, international law, and basic human decency.
"ABC News has described waterboarding as follows: 'The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face, and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in, and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.'
"If another nation engaged in waterboarding against American citizens, we would denounce that country and call the practice barbaric, and rightly so.
"We must stand against torture without equivocation, without compromise, and without exception. Torture is a violation of everything we stand for as Americans and as human beings."
It is unacceptable for anyone who would ask to lead this country to miss such a critical vote and take a stand - in fact LEAD - on such an issue of American values.
Chad (The Left) Shue