Radical-left actor John Cusack’s back on The Huffington Post today with "Two Questions" for Attorney General nominee Eric Holder: Is waterboarding torture? Because torture is a war crime. And "Since we know the Bush administration at the highest levels approved waterboarding which is torture which is a war crime," will you appoint a special prosecutor to imprison the guilty Bush officials? It’s unthinkably insane to Cusack that Barack Obama and Holder would resist this agenda, or delay it with a commission:
This is not another political play of the day. Arguing this as just another political moment is a case of moral relativism at its most insane -- this is Dante. Torture and the suspension of habeas corpus and the violations of privacy through the FISA court are ironclad felonies. Open and shut. Those who say we need to move on are as guilty in some ways as the perpetrators of the crime and many who did nothing are morally, if not legally, culpable. So, of course, pressure will be intense to turn the other way.
People who do not find The Huffington Post a soothing oasis of Cindy Sheehan shiatsu massage might quibble. "Moral relativism at its most insane" defines the argument that the waterboarding of someone like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad – the strategist behind the September 11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans – is a much graver crime than September 11 itself. Cusack certainly saves all his outrage and all his feelings about American "justice" and "renewal" and "collective self-worth" in the first instance, and not the second:
The only relative argument that seems to make any sense is that President Obama may choose not to make the rule of law a top priority. This seems plausible and politically expedient, but dangerous and shortsighted -- the world will only fully understand that America is in the process of renewal if justice is served.
Our collective self-worth and character need to come first. What is the point of having our economic interests and security be so sacrosanct if our government (us) is really just worthless and soulless garbage who can commit felonies and war crimes with no accountability? We will never gather the collective strength to overcome our problems if we don't reclaim our basic, fundamental principals.[sic] It is the oxygen of tolerant and free people everywhere and we want it back... we need to breathe it again.
Since the Obama administration may practice less violent means of causing unpleasantness to detainees, perhaps they can make them watch the DVD of Cusack’s movie War Inc., which one critic put on his Worst of 2008 list:
Any attempt at intelligent political thoughts were quickly co-opted by a roster of ridiculous characters, the worst of them being Hilary Duff doing her worst impression of Christina Aguilera as over-sexed foreign pop star "Yonica Babyyeah." The talents of many better actors were similarly wasted with all of the movie's silliness, none more so than Sir Ben Kingsley, doing another bad accent and giving another ridiculous scenery-chewing performance as Cusack's corrupt CIA ex-boss.
Cusack’s conservative opponents might ask Holder a different question about moral equivalence: Which is worse? Thirty seconds of waterboarding a terrorist suspect? Or sending an innocent six-year-old kid back to a communist dictatorship for the rest of his life?