The nominee for Attorney General of the United States, Judge Michael B. Mukasey, is unable to speak the name of torture:
But Mr. Mukasey told Senate Democrats he could not say whether waterboarding, which simulates drowning, was illegal torture because he had not been briefed on the details of the classified technique and did not want to suggest that Central Intelligence Agency officers who had used such techniques might be in “personal legal jeopardy.”
Of course, his stated reason for his avoidance of publicly recognizing torture as torture is not the primary reason, which has much more to do with politics. Bush, and those around Bush who are sponsoring Judge Mukasey's nomination, will not publicly admit to the human rights abuses they have created. They are using Mukasey to continue their rule; and Mukasey it trying to use them, or at least not contradict them, in an effort to advance his career. All of which, from a Confucian perspective, is grubby and immoral:
The Master said: "A noble- minded man is not an implement." (2.12)
(my favorite alternate translation comes from Simon Leys: "A gentleman is not a pot.")
In other words, a moral man, a man (or woman) who is trying to do the right thing, does not allow himself to be used, like an implement or a tool, for someone else's purposes. It is rather like the obverse of the Kantian imperative that we not use other people as means: we should also not allow ourselves to be used by others.
There may be a certain impracticality in this. We can think of all sorts of ways that allowing ourselves to be used by others might actually serve our interests. But that is precisely the main point of Confucius. It should not be about interest and personal profit. What matters is the pursuit of Humanity and moral goodness. But Mukasey and Bush and company cannot understand that. They are tools.