If the United States really, in the words of President Barack Obama, wishes to keep “looking forward” instead of backward when it comes to the violent legal limbo that is the Bush administration’s legacy, someone might want to ensure New York State Senator Greg Ball (R) gets a copy of that memo.
In several separate instances this weekend, Sen. Ball has advocated torturing the teen police are accusing of helping execute the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured more than 140.
“So, scum bag #2 in custody,” he wrote on Twitter Friday night. “Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?”
It’s not clear what he meant by “save more lives,” as authorities in Boston have not uncovered any further threat or additional “ticking time bombs,” as many torture advocates like to say when justifying the institutional use of extreme pain to extract often times misleading information.
Confronted on his rhetoric by The Journal News on Saturday, he rejected the notion that his in any way offensive. “If people find that offensive, they’re going to have to check their own conscience,” he reportedly said.
A follow-up statement from his office added that Ball hopes New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to put more emphasis on the death penalty, especially for “cop killers and terrorists.”
By Sunday, his office issued yet another statement, specifically addressing the torture comment.
“Terrorists play by a different set of rules by manipulating the greatest strengths of our open society against us,” he said in the prepared text. “One of the questions to be asked is this: is “torture” ever justified in the war against terror, if it can save lives? I am not shy in joining those who say yes, and I believe we must give those tasked with protecting us every constitutional and effective tool to do so.”
As Ball’s staff circulated that statement to reporters, former deputy CIA director Phillip Mudd appeared on Fox News to explain that 19-year-old Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother of the deceased alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, should really be charged with murder instead of terrorism.
“This looks more to me like Columbine than it does al Qaeda,” he said. “Two kids who radicalized between themselves in a closed circle go out and commit murder. I would charge these guys as murders, not terrorists.”