Yesterday Larry Johnson, moonbat extraordinaire, sent a letter to the committee calling on them to put a hold on the nomination. The signatories listed are a who’s who of disgruntled former CIA operatives and other moonbats. I suppose now they’ll start working on the full Senate to try persuading them to vote no.
CNN has a story titled Poll results: Waterboarding is torture. Key excerpts:
Asked whether they think waterboarding is a form of torture, more than two-thirds of respondents, or 69 percent, said yes; 29 percent said no.
Asked whether they think the U.S. government should be allowed to use the procedure to try to get information from suspected terrorists, 58 percent said no; 40 percent said yes.
There is no link to the poll itself, so I’m not able to see how the questions were phrased or how much the respondents knew about the issue before being asked. A couple of paragraphs in the story give some indication of how the poll was set up, however.
In the procedure, water is used on restrained prisoners to make them feel like they are drowning.
Waterboarding was used during the Spanish Inquisition and by Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime and the World War II Japanese military, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
Again, I have no way of knowing just how the questions were phrased (if anyone can show me where to view the polling from Opinion Research, please do), but if they were anything like those two statements then it’s no wonder the results are as reported. First of all, that’s an incomplete explanation of what waterboarding entails. Second, Human Rights Watch is not just some run of the mill “advocacy group”. Here’s how they’re described by discoverthenetworks.org:
Human Rights Watch (HRW) was founded in 1978 as “Helsinki Watch,” to monitor the Soviet Union’s compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords. Among its founders were Bob Bernstein, CEO of Random House publishers; Aryeh Neier, the current President of the Open Society Institute, a former Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and a co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society in 1959; Orville Schell, Dean of the University of California at Berkley graduate school of journalism and a leftwing journalist; and Jeri Laber, a writer and political activist. In the 1980s, the organization developed a number of “Watch” committees, including Americas Watch, Asia Watch, and Africa Watch, which ultimately united under the umbrella of the U.S.-based HRW in 1988. Today HRW states that its “principle advocacy strategy is to shame offenders by generating press attention and to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on them by enlisting influential governments and institutions” on a wide array of issues.
You can see that it’s a left-leaning group, to put it mildly, and keep in mind the Open Society Institute is George Soros’ baby.
Even as it documented abuses in the Soviet Union, HRW directed much of its censure in the 1980s at the United States. Particularly, the organization denounced the Reagan administration’s policy of combating Soviet expansionism in Latin America by aiding anti-Communist governments and opposition forces.
According to CNN it’s just an advocacy group that lobbies for human rights, and who can disagree with that, right? Also, the title of the story implies that the issue is settled. The people have spoken and declared waterboarding to be torture so the Senate needs to get Mukasey to admit it! As I mentioned the other day, the only reason they want him to make a declaration is so they can get the ball rolling on the war crimes trials.
Update: While I was composing this the usual suspects have chimed in with their responses to the CNN poll.
Andrew Sullivan says Polling Waterboarding – A large majority believes the bleeding obvious. Atrios has a one word title: Torture. We can expect more of this as the day wears on.