Yoo Know Who

by Larry Tate on January 30, 2009

In all the excitement before the Steelers – Cardinals Subparbowl, you might have missed this: our good friend John Yoo has written yet another op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

What a great country. Where else can you be a public opponent of the international ban on chemical weapons and claim that the president of the United States can order someone to crush the testicles of small children to produce “actionable” intelligence while still being taken seriously in one of the nation’s most important newspapers? Only in America, my friends.

In my favorite part of his article, Yoo argues that Obama’s recent executive order outlawing torture was a cynical political move designed to “please his base.” You see, it’s not a question of ethics, or morality, or legality — it’s pure political pandering when a sitting president acts to prevent the torture of other human beings. Obama is merely engaging in a pathetic and obvious attempt to run up the score on his incredible approval ratings and marshal even more power under his command by insisting that our country obey international treaties preventing “outrages upon personal dignity,” “humiliating and degrading treatment,” “murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.”  Yep, Obama is pure politics — one cold, calculating, power craving SOB. A biracial Caligula. Machiavellian to the core.

Yoo claims all this cynical pandering has dire consequences; Obama’s actions have weakened the country and leave us open to the shadowy forces of evil, superhuman terrorists. Obama’s executive order has done nothing less than “[return] America to the failed law enforcement approach to fighting terrorism that prevailed before Sept. 11, 2001.” Yes, the failed law enforcement approach to crime and terrorism. We can’t go back to that old trick.

And do you know why? Yoo knows:

Eliminating the Bush system will mean that we will get no more information from captured al Qaeda terrorists. Every prisoner will have the right to a lawyer (which they will surely demand), the right to remain silent, and the right to a speedy trial.

We can’t use the US justice system or the Uniform Code of Military Justice because, well, they both have the word justice in them. You can’t let these people have a defense! Or see evidence. Or have habeas petitions. It’s absolutely absurd that governments should actually prove that someone is guilty. Only American citizens are worthy of such treatment — except for Jose Padilla. Or anyone else the president whimsically decides to imprison and torture.

The rest of Yoo’s argument is the same warmed-over horseshit that we’ve been spoonfed for the past several years: Torture works™. The only problem is that it doesn’t. It hasn’t. And it won’t.

Have fun at the Hague!

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