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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/28/09

Why Dems Liked Mukasey Better Than Holder

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Democrats in Congress respected former Attorney General Michael Mukasey beyond any measure he appeared to have earned, and to the extent of fully expecting him to perform his duties even in the most difficult circumstances. In contrast, the same Congress members do not believe Attorney General Eric Holder is up to the job.

As exhibit 1 in a demonstration of the above claims, let me offer a letter that 56 Democratic members of Congress mailed to Mukasey on June 6, 2008. They got right to the point with a difficult request that would require the highest loyalty to the rule of law and willingness to challenge one's political benefactor:

"We are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to investigate whether the Bush Administration's policies regarding the interrogation of detainees have violated federal criminal laws. There is mounting evidence that the Bush Administration has sanctioned enhanced interrogation techniques against detainees under the control of the United States that warrant an investigation.

These 56 Democrats went on to helpfully share with Mukasey some of the evidence they were aware of to support a charge of authorizing torture. They pointed out for him the laws violated and urged him to act. And this was before the Senate Armed Services Committee's report was released, before the Robert Jackson Steering Committee's report, and before Bush and Cheney went on television and confessed to authorizing torture.

Shockingly, these trusting and admiring Congress members were bitterly disappointed. Mukasey let them down and did not do the job they expected him to do. Two Congress members, John Conyers and Jerrold Nadler wrote to him again in December to fill him in on various other crimes of the Bush-Cheney gang, certain -- apparently -- that he would finally take action. Alas, he let them down again.

And then came Eric Holder. Holder took over the same job Mukasey had been employed in, with the same duties, but unable to fill the shoes of his predecessor or even to give the impression of being able to do so. The same crimes had still not been prosecuted. More evidence had accumulated. The only difference was that now the Attorney General was someone whom Democrats in Congress apparently believed incapable of performing his duties and not worth even the trouble of asking him to try.

Either that or the Democrats in Congress never expected Mukasey to act and asked him for precisely that reason as a PR stunt. But that would be crazy, almost like suggesting that they talked up impeachment in 2005 and 2006 in order to win elections, not in order to impeach. Or it would be like claiming the Democrats kept the war in Iraq going during 2007 and 2008 in order to run against it in yet another election. Crazy. Sheer lunacy. Like claiming they prefer having the filibuster as an excuse to the prospect of having 60 senators but no more excuses. Who believes such tales?

Our elected officials surely know better than we do and understand that Holder is just not competent. Therefore there would be no point in asking your Congress member to ask Holder to appoint a special prosecutor.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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