"On Friday, March 13, 2003, Jay Bybee resigned from his Office as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, to become a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The very next day -- a Saturday, mind you -- John Yoo, merely a Deputy AAG in the Office, issued his notorious memo to the Pentagon, on behalf of OLC, which effectively gave the Pentagon the green light to disregard statutory limits on torture, cruelty and maltreatment in the treatment of detainees. This is the version of the 2002 Torture memo, which was addressed only to the CIA and the torture statute, as applied to the numerous statutes restricting the conduct of the armed forces. None of those statues, you see, limits the conduct of war if the President says so. It is, in effect, the blueprint that led to Abu Ghraib and the other abuses within the armed forces in 2003 and early 2004." ~ Marty Lederman [here & here & here]Meet John Yoo, serial offender, guilty of peddling flawed, politically motivated "legal" analysis aimed at justifying the BushCo policy of using torture. Yesterday the Pentagon released a recently de-classified memo in which Yoo had justified use of torture by military interrogators (his previously known handiwork applied only to the CIA). Even the Bush Justice Department eventually realized what a travesty Yoo was perpetrating and retracted his memos.
You can read the story in The New York Times here. Note that The Times still trades in euphemisms - speaking of 'harsh interrogations' instead of torture. Note too that The Times neglects to draw the connection between Yoo's legal fictions and the practices at Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and elsewhere. I think the title to one of Lederman's posts is right on target - "Full Employment Memo for Bloggers (and Prosecutors?)" If there is any justice in the world, the answer to the final question is "Yes," and while Yoo will be in line, he will not be alone.
Photograph © Elsa Arnet/New York Times