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April 03, 2008

Professor John Yoo
Posted by Michael Cohen

As most of you are likely aware the Department of Justice finally got around to declassifying John Yoo's infamous memo regarding the use of torture by Pentagon officials. Here are a few classic tidbits, courtesy of the Washington Post:

"If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network," Yoo wrote. "In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions."

"Whether conduct is conscience-shocking turns in part on whether it is without any justification," Yoo wrote, explaining, for example, that it would have to be inspired by malice or sadism before it could be prosecuted.

And then there is this, courtesy of Kevin Drum:

Any effort by Congress to regulate the interrogation of enemy combatants would violate the Constitution's sole vesting of the Commander-in-Chief authority in the President....Congress can no more interfere with the President's conduct of the interrogation of enemy combatants than it can dictate strategic or tactical decisions on the battlefield.

Any presidential decision to order interrogations methods that are inconsistent with CAT (the Convention Against Torture) would amount to a suspension or termination of those treaty provisions.

If you might think that these notion run counter to the Constitution and the application of the rule of law, think again. According to an e-mail from John Yoo to the Washington Post, "Far from inventing some novel interpretation of the Constitution," Yoo wrote, "our legal advice to the President, in fact, was near boilerplate."

Well not so says Jack Goldsmith, who wrote that the two memos "stood out" for "the unusual lack of care and sobriety in their legal analysis" or Thomas J. Romig, former Army judge advocate general, who called the memo "downright offensive."

Now for most DA readers none of this will seem terribly surprising, but here's something that might. John Yoo teaches at University of California Law School. Guess what he teaches . . . constitutional law and development.

I really am too snarked out to add anything here. The truth speaks for itself.


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US Constitution, Article I, Section 8
The Congress shall have Power . . .To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces

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