Skip to main content

I just have to add to attytood's news that torture lawyer John Yoo has been given a monthly column at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

I almost have to get out of my seat and clap at the absurdity of that.

That's a data point you'd expect at the end of a Vonnegut novel.  So it goes.

Aside from justifying waterboarding and other forms of torture, aside from saying that terror suspects didn't deserve habeas corpus because it costs too much, aside from willingly offering every argument to aggrandize executive power in ways that would make a monarch blush, aside from authorizing a torture regime that has led to multiple homicides, aside from a looming disciplinary report from the Office of Professional Responsibility, aside from potential war crimes trials in Spain, here is the latest handiwork from Yoo, designed to get him and his buddies off scot-free (clearly he didn't need to worry):

A Bush administration attorney who approved harsh interrogation techniques of terror suspects advocated in 2006 that President Bush set aside recommendations by his own Justice Department to bring prosecutions for such practices, that the President should consider pardoning anyone convicted of such offenses, and even that jurors hearing criminal cases about such matters engage in jury nullification.

That advice came from John Yoo, a former attorney with the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and author of memos that served as a legal rationale for the Bush administration's interrogation techniques. Yoo's recommendations constitute one of the most compelling pieces of a body of evidence that Yoo and other government attorneys improperly skewed legal advice to allow such practices, according to sources familiar with a still-confidential Justice Department report.

I don't think you need further evidence that Yoo and his cohorts knew what they did was wrong in the eyes of the law.  Of course, to the media fraternity, that just means he's "knowledgeable."  His most recent op-ed attacks President Obama for seeking "empathy" in his next Supreme Court pick.  Obviously Yoo wouldn't know anything about that.

Here's Will Bunch:

But it's not too late to change things. Last Sunday's column by Yoo should also be his last, period. While Yoo is a free man who is thus free to utter his detestable viewpoints on any public street corner, the Inquirer has no obligation to so loudly promote these ideas that are so far outside of the mainstream. People should write the Inquirer -- -- or call the newspaper and tell them that torture advocates are not the kind of human beings who belong regularly on a newspaper editorial page, officially sanctioned. Journalists here in Philadelphia or elsewhere who wish to strategize on where to take this next should email me at

I'll write the paper, but this really makes me sad more than anything.  Not only has a substantial portion of the country accepted torture as a viable option, the scoundrels who authorized it, who debased this country, are not only likely to avoid any justice for the crimes they committed, but they're getting op-ed columns to boot, a ticket into polite society.  

Similarly, despite the fact that Jay Bybee's moral and ethical fitness can be fully questioned by his decision to allow the United States to commit torture in our name, he can just lobby his Congresscritters and elude accountability and sit on a federal bench in judgment of other Americans.

And here's maybe the kicker to the whole thing - at least in Bybee's case - federal judges can be held accountable in this country.  It just happened yesterday:

A disgraced federal judge was sentenced Monday to nearly three years in prison for lying to investigators about whether he sexually abused his secretary.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent was sentenced to 33 months Monday. He was also fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $6,550 in restitution to the two women whose complaints resulted in the first sex abuse case against a sitting federal judge.

Kent could have received up to 20 years in prison after admitting to obstruction of justice, but prosecutors said they wouldn’t seek more than three years under a plea agreement.

“Your wrongful conduct is a huge black X ... a stain on the judicial system itself, a matter of concern in the federal courts,” U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said as he imposed the sentence. Vinson is a visiting senior judge called in from Pensacola, Fla.

Right after the verdict, this popped up in my email inbox, a joint statement from the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee:

Unless Judge Samuel Kent immediately resigns, we intend to introduce a resolution jointly tomorrow to commence an inquiry into whether grounds exist to impeach him and remove him from office.

Are they trying to give me a heart attack?

I'm obviously not saying that a sex abuser doesn't deserve this kind of treatment, but that for some reason, authorizing torture which led to detainee homicide doesn't get the dander up in Washington in the same fashion.  It makes a mockery of the phrase "moral obligation."

Maybe it's the Puritan past.

Originally posted to dday on Tue May 12, 2009 at 09:30 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site