Bush: confirm-Mukasey-we're-at-war.

Yesterday President Bush invited reporters into the Oval Office for a preview of a speech he gave later that day at the Heritage Foundation. He's annoyed by how long the Mukasey confirmation is taking. Implying that the United States is at risk in the "war on terror" while operating without an attorney general, Bush again took the opportunity to remind us that "we're at war." Apparently operations in Iraq and Afghanistan can't continue unless the acting attorney general is replaced with an official one. Or perhaps the president is wondering how he's going to justify his "enhanced interrogation" program without an attorney general to provide legal cover.

The president was repeatedly asked about waterboarding, and he gave the tired response he and his people have been offering for far too long:

Q What is your own view about waterboarding?

THE PRESIDENT:I'm not going to talk about techniques. There is an enemyout there. I don't want them to understand -- to be able to adjust one wayor the other. My view is this: The American people have got to understandthe program is important and the techniques used are within the law, andmembers of the House and Senate know what I'm talking about, they have beenfully briefed.

Sorry, but if the president is being honest here (and I have my doubts), he is radically underestimating Al Qaeda. Like anyone who reads newspapers or has Internet access, Islamic terrorists know that the United States has authorized waterboarding (PDF). The enemy may be crazy, but they're not dumb. So why pretend we're up against half-wits instead of the cunning enemy we really face? Because the administration knows that admitting to waterboarding is admitting to torture, and torture is against international and U.S. law.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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