John Yoo Writes Column Celebrating His “Gift” to Obama
02-25-2010, 07:38 PM
John Yoo Writes Column Celebrating His “Gift” to Obama
Just When You Thought He Couldn’t Get More Offensive, John Yoo Writes Column Celebrating His “Gift” to Obama
Fresh off a news cycle that saw him define executive power as bestowing the president the right to massacre whole villages, notorious torture lawyer John Yoo has published a new piece in the Wall Street Journal, boldly titled “My Gift to the Obama Presidency.”
“Barack Obama may not realize it,” he writes, “but I may have just helped save his presidency.”
How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe.
Stunning megalomania aside, it is an eerie thing for John Yoo to declare victory of any kind. Reading his op-ed is a little like listening to Emperor Palpatine crow that Luke Skywalker’s journey to the Dark Side is nearly complete. (”Welcome, young Skywalker. I have been expecting you … “)
Yoo begins by describing Obama’s sad devotion to the rule of law as a newly-inaugurated wet-behind-the-ears president.
“In office only one day,” he writes, “Mr. Obama ordered the shuttering of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, followed later by the announcement that he would bring terrorists to an Illinois prison.”
What follows is a brisk re-cap of what he sees as Obama’s most grievous moments as Commander-in-Chief:
He terminated the Central Intelligence Agency’s ability to use “enhanced interrogations techniques” to question al Qaeda operatives. He stayed the military trial, approved by Congress, of al Qaeda leaders. He ultimately decided to transfer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks, to a civilian court in New York City, and automatically treated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, as a criminal suspect (not an illegal enemy combatant). Nothing better could have symbolized the new president’s determination to take us back to a Sept. 10, 2001, approach to terrorism.
It’s a veritable runaway train of right-wing talking points and, frankly, it merits no rebuttal. It would be hard to reach back to a time when Yoo had any credibility as a legal mind. Perhaps more than any of the Bush administration lawyers, his name has long been synonymous with torture (or as he dutifully puts it, “enhanced interrogation techniques”), his current claim to fame that he got away with his crimes.
More than his immoral views, or the fact that he has yet to be held accountable, the fact that Yoo continues to have no problem finding media platforms from where to spew them is deeply disturbing. This is the same man whose criminal role in the Bush administration won him a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer last year.
Nevertheless, Yoo goes on to describe himself as a victim of the Obama administration’s ideological persecution, which he describes as “hounding those who developed, approved or carried out Bush policies, despite the enormous pressures of time and circumstance in the months immediately after the September 11 attacks.”
He calls out Attorney General Eric Holder for daring to initiate an investigation into the CIA’s torture program, at one point characterizing the Obama White House as “hell-bent on finding scapegoats for its policy disagreements with the last president.”
Would that this were even remotely true.
The depressing reality is that just last week, an internal review by Obama’s Department of Justice let Yoo off the hook when it concluded that he and his fellow Bush administration lawyers exhibited “poor judgment,” but were not guilty of professional misconduct by creating the legal framework for that made torture the law of the land.
“This decision should not be viewed as an endorsement of the legal work that underlies those memoranda,” Assistant Deputy Attorney General David Margolis insisted in a memo released on Friday. It just means that there will be zero consequences for its authors.
Yoo’s Wall Street Journal column is really a cynical victory dance over this decision. He invokes the “rank bias and sheer incompetence” of the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and sneers at what he calls “bizarre conspiracy theories.”
If it took a twisted legal mind to come up with the Bush-era torture doctrine, it takes an even more twisted mind to see the DOJ’s whitewash as a vindication, not just of the memos, but of American democracy itself.
Of course, Yoo is just that kind of mind.
“I did not do this to win any popularity contests, least of all those held in the faculty lounge,” the Berkeley Law professor writes.
(He’s humble too.)
“I did it to help our president — President Obama, not Bush.”
Yoo sums up his view of executive power during wartime (read: all the time), dressing it up as a patriotic pitch for the troops:
Mr. Obama is fighting three wars simultaneously in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against al Qaeda. He will call upon the men and women serving under his command to make choices as hard as the ones we faced. They cannot meet those challenges with clear minds if they believe that a bevy of prosecutors, congressional committees and media critics await them when they return from the battlefield.
Pesky checks and balances. Don’t they know there’s a war on?
Enough. Yoo belongs in jail, not profiting off sick essays that continue to promote torture and lawlessness as the only way to win an everlasting war. By failing to hold him accountable, the Obama administration has ensured that his views will be folded further into the mainstream — and that, like so many other decisions it has made regarding the so-called War on Terror, is the real threat to American democracy.
02-25-2010, 10:24 PM
RE: John Yoo Writes Column Celebrating His “Gift” to Obama
Fuck "American democracy"...like your sig says...
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch..."
But I do agree, J.Yoo should be in jail - at the least, but even better to be made to endure his own recommendations.
"Listen to everyone, read everything, believe nothing unless you can prove it in your own research"
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