“Quietly but Forcefully,” John Yoo Defends His War Crimes

First, read Carrie Johnson’s sympathetic portrayal of John Yoo’s new crusade to tell anyone who will listen why it’s “absurd” to suggest that he did anything wrong or unconstitutional by writing those memos authorizing torture, arbitrary detention with no legal rights, and absolute, limitless presidential power:

While former colleagues have avoided attention in the face of such scrutiny, Yoo has been traveling across the country to give speeches and counter critics who dispute his bold view of the president’s authority. Now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, he engages in polite but firm exchanges with legal scholars over conclusions in their academic work. This month, he wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal defending his actions and labeling critics’ arguments as “absurd” and “foolhardy” responses to “the media-stoked politics of recrimination.”

The uncompromising rhetoric can be hard to square with a soft-voiced man who easily made friends at Harvard University and Yale Law School, without regard for ideological affiliation. But the blaze of criticism that ignited late in the Bush administration appears to have pushed Yoo, 42, onto a far more assertive path, according to friends and lawyers who have followed his career.

Then read Tara McKelvey’s “Meanwhile, at Guantanamo…” at the American Prospect’s Tapped blog, which describes the plight of Gitmo detainees who are waiting to find out what will become of them when, or if, Guantanamo closes. Here is one paragraph:

The prisoners were, by and large, sane when they arrived, with only 8 percent showing signs of serious mental illness, according to a report about Guantanamo that was written by Admiral Patrick Walsh, vice chief of Naval Operations. This level was significantly lower than the 45 to 50 percent rate of mental illness among individuals in U.S. prisons. However, many of the prisoners seem to be going insane because of their incarceration, wrote Leonard S. Rubenstein in The Lancet, citing reports from lawyers who have visited the prisoners.

Be sure to click through to that Lancet piece. You can read the full article after filling out a brief (free) registration.

Explore posts in the same categories: Human Rights, Politics, Society, Torture, War Crimes

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