What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 20, 2010

Yoo claimed president had constitutional power to order a village to be "massacred"

Via Newsweek:
The chief author of the Bush administration's "torture memo" told Justice Department investigators that the president's war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be "massacred," according to a report by released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

The views of former Justice lawyer John Yoo were deemed to be so extreme and out of step with legal precedents that they prompted the Justice Department's internal watchdog office to conclude last year that he committed "intentional professional misconduct" when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects.


Pressed on his views in an interview with OPR investigators, Yoo was asked:

"What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? ... Is that a power that the president could legally—"

"Yeah," Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. "Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief's power over tactical decisions."

"To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?" the OPR investigator asked again.

"Sure," said Yoo.
The Office of Professional Responsibility cleared Yoo of professional-misconduct allegations last month.

Jack Balkin at Balkinization explains why:
That is to say, rules of professional misconduct are aimed at weeding out sociopaths and people driven to theft and egregious incompetence by serious drug and alcohol abuse problems; they do not guarantee that lawyers will do right by their clients, or, in this case, by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. In effect, by setting the standard of conduct so low, rules of professional conduct effectively work to protect all those lawyers out there whose moral standing is just a hair's breadth above your average mass murderer. This is how the American legal profession simultaneously polices and takes care of its own.


Clyde Wynant said...

Mr. Balkin is spot on.

And the same can be said for the medical profession, where a lack of internal policing leaves seriously deficient and corrupt doctors out there treating patients. In fact, studies have shown that, if those idiots were weeded out (they are responsible for a huge percentage of egregious medical errors) malpractice rates would drop significantly. The concept of "physician health thyself" apparently no longer applies... It is now, "Physician cover your gluteus maximus."

The incredible inability for this nation and its people to deal effectively with the powers-that-be, and to take them to task for their malfeasance, is a sign of our weakness, I believe. A sign that we, as citizens, have lost total control of the system which governs us.

Even 20 or 30 years ago guys like David Vitter and Larry Craig would have been frog-walked out of DC and told to never come back. Today, as we see with Vitter's poll numbers, the voters of Louisiana love the guy! A slimeball cheat who "liked to wear diapers."

Oh, and yes, "first, kill all the lawyers...."

Conservative Mountaineer said...

What are we supposed to do when fighting terrorists who hide behind innocents?

I'm not condoning leveling or massacring entire villages. However, there has to a way to decimate and eliminate terrorist organizations.

Terrorism is nasty sh*t. They would do the same thing. War is/was nasty sh*t. War sucks, especially when fighting animals that want everyone to return the 12th Century.

One way, which I wholeheartedly condone and agree with, is systematic assignation of terrorist leaders. The latest elimination of the Hamas terrorist leader in Dubai is a good start. No innocents were killed. One less bad guy. No downside, IMHO. Keep eliminating those at the top and the upper levels.

The PC-way of fighting terrorists must be stopped. Now.

I will never change my mind concerning the systematic elimination of terrorist leaders. (Note: I haven't called for nuking Mecca... yet.)

If Liberals can't see that or disagree.. so be it.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

And, for you Liberals you say that my approach is wrong-headed or 'stoops' to the level of the terrorists...

Tell that to the families of the victims of 9/11.

Tell that to the family of Daniel Pearl.

Tell that to thousands and thousands of Israelis who endure this sh*t EVERY day.

Tell that to the families of the victims of Oklahoma City (yes, that was terrorism; McVey was a dupe).

Tell that to the familes of TWA 800 (center full tank issue? /snort).

Tell that to the families of the victims of Egypt Air 900.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. We bomb 'aspirin factories' and deserted tent villages. We issue rules of engagement that state they only can be shot if they are holding a weapon (Obama's new rules). We refuse to recognize we're fighting animals.

EdHeath said...

You know, CM, even if it was an aspirin factory, the intelligence services that you are willing to rely to assassinate Al Qaeda leaders told President Clinton that it was a chemical weapons factory. You can’t have it both ways, if you think it is ok to violate the sovereignty of other countries to go in and kill terrorists, you can’t complain when Clinton tried to do exactly that.

And of course you are not reciting the record of American action against terrorists accurately; you are spinning it (feeding us so much bullshit) for your own purposes. You are not talking about the current aggressive American action in Afghanistan and drone aircraft used in Pakistan. You failed to mention that when we invaded Afghanistan, the world was with us. But American citizens and the rest of the world were mystified when the highest levels of the Bush administration ordered American forces to let Osama Bin Laden go at Tora Bora. Of course, if we had captured Osama Bin Laden in December 2001, there would have been no justification for our real target in the Middle East: Iraq. That’s where we reversed any gains we had made in the “war on terror”, where we turned that country into a giant recruiting poster for Al Qaeda (also when we dumped our principles and started torturing people and holding them indefinitely without trial or hearing, but refused to grant them prisoner of war status). We invaded for no reason, the Bush administration illustrated to the rest of the world that Americans are scared fools who can be successfully lied to by their President in an utterly transparent fashion. Now the people, if not almost all of the governments of the Middle East, are willing to help terrorists, and the rest of the world sympathizes at least as much with the terrorists as with us in the “war on terror”. That is the legacy of the Bush administration. I am sure you disagree, and there is no way we could resolve that unless we agree on *all* the history and facts.

Meanwhile, exactly how *do* you wage war on terror? Terrorist groups are not states, they do not have territory, their “leaders”, “diplomats” and members do not have the status recognized for leaders, diplomats and citizens/subjects or even soldiers of recognized nations. But the countries where terrorists are hiding/living do have these things. In 2001 we may have (unofficially) declared war on terror, but we invaded Afghanistan. Later, as part of the same “war on terror” we invaded Iraq. To fight terrorists in a violent fashion we need to, at a minimum, violate the sovereignty of another country, and apparently we may need to declare war on that country (or just invade it). That should be a serious political decision, but you want to reduce it to an emotional vendetta. You want the United States to tell the rest of the world that we are more important than you, and we will kill you based on whatever reasons (or no reasons: Iraq) we want.

But then you also said poor people are poor because they are stupid. Not because their parents don’t have money or they can’t get into good schools (or maybe afford any school if Republicans/conservatives have their way).

Conservative Mountaineer said...

@Ed.. You said: "But American citizens and the rest of the world were mystified when the highest levels of the Bush administration ordered American forces to let Osama Bin Laden go at Tora Bora."

Show me where the Bush Administration let Osama go. Prove it. Only in your pacifist "Can't we all just get along?" world can you think this. [Not being able to confirm Osama was killed in the attack is not the same as letting him go.. which, according to you, was deliberate.]

I stand by and defend my position that terrorist leaders should be quietly and quickly removed from the face of the Earth in a systematic way. Thin the herd, so to speak.

EdHeath said...

Well, as far as the administration letting Bin Laden go, you tell me (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/magazine/11TORABORA.html).

Oh, by the way, why don't you prove that Clinton knew it was an aspirin factory. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot, everything a conservative says is automatically and unquestionably true, just as everything a liberal says is a lie. In fact, it is fine to put words in a liberal's mouth. Or can you show me where I said it is a "pacifist "Can't we all just get along?" world"?

That kind of BS is exactly why the US is losing the war on terror. In particular, the neocons of the Bush administration (including President Bush with his laughable and ludicrous conceit that he talked directly to God, and that a Christian God might approve of his actions) acted as though they themselves were morally superior to all other people and could simply dispense with laws and rules concerning civil rights, legal procedure and rules on torture and imprisonment. The whole rest of the f***ing world saw how we decided to label terrorists as animals, deny them any rights and go ahead and torture them. The United States of America, which claims to be the moral authority of the whole f***ing world, threw it all out the window. Now you want to go where ever you please and shoot anyone you think is a terrorist. And anyone who protests apparently believes in a fantasy "pacifist "Can't we all just get along?" world", according to you. According to you, there is no way I could have a commitment to laws and morality. According to you, there is no way I could believe that the very thing you want to sh*t on is the very thing that separates us from the terrorists.

I certainly want to see the terrorist threat reduced. Realistically I don't think it can be eliminated, but I think it can be reduced. But to get there we need more than one strategy. We can't just use our military to fight the terrorists. We need to use our civilian law enforcement apparatuses, particularly for domestic threats. We need our own and other intelligence agencies to identify and track terrorists around the world. We need to find ways to encourage other countries to cooperate with us on fighting terrorists. We need to find ways to culturally engage young Iranians (which might mean loosening some of our sanctions against Iran) so that they see us as people not unlike themselves instead of the cartoon villains their leaders paint us as. In turn future Iranian governments might stop supporting terrorist groups.

In other words, we need to stop acting like a global bully and try (as we so seldom do) to act like we care what America is supposed to stand for. Nothing can replace the losses suffered by the families of the victims of 9/11, or by Daniel Pearl's family, but I strongly doubt those families would like to see those losses as justification for America to kill people wantonly and randomly around the world (as we already have done in Iraq).