Revelations in the Justice Department’s whitewash of the torture memos offer a frightening glimpse into the mind of John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who, with now judge Jay Bybee and others, gave the Bush administration a license to entertain the darkest fantasies of Dick Cheney. What Yoo believes is not just weird, or scary, or Byzantine. It’s downright un-American. Apparently, Yoo believes that as long as he says the United States is “at war” with some entity — state or non-state, and even without a Constitutional declaration of war by Congress, the president of the United States has it perfectly within his power to:
- Torture a child by having his testacles crushed in front of his parents to get them to talk;
- Order the massacre of a civilian village (meaning the My Lai massacre would have been, in Yoo’s construction, perfectly legal, had it been ordered directly by the president);
- Launch a nuclear attack without the consent of Congress;
And only God knows what else. How is this man being allowed to instruct young would-be lawyers?
Meanwhile, Newsweek’s Michael Issikoff posts about Dick Cheney’s time machine theory of torture and Jose Padilla, and the gruesome new details of Bush-Cheney-era torture contained in that DOJ whitewash report. And what’s scariest about this whole sorry spectacle, is that a majority of so-called “conservatives,” probably agree with John Yoo (so long as the president in question is a Republican.)
Related: Torture and impunity.