Saturday, January 19, 2008

John Yoo waging lie-fare against the American people.

John "torture memo" Yoo is a real funny guy. In an Op-Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer (aka a fifth-rate right wing rag) he writes that terrorists (actually American lawyers, same thing really) are using the courts to "harass the men and women in our government, force the revelation of valuable intelligence and press novel theories." [He's one to talk about "novel theories!"] These "terrorists" by bringing suits against members of the Bush administration, the ones who had a hand in violating their client's constitutional rights, are simply fifth columnists for al-Qaeda who are conducting "lawfare" against the United States (i.e. members of the Bush administration accused of war crimes).

That's rich!

Surely, anyone who would dare defend the likes of Jose Padilla, Yoo contends, is working for al-Qaeda. Remember, he warns, "Padilla is no innocent:" Not only was he convicted of working for al-Qaeda in Miami (home of the dumbest jurors in the world) but "the conviction did not even address his detention in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on allegations that he returned from Afghanistan to carry out a 'dirty bomb' attack on a major U.S. city."

The way Yoo makes it sound like this guy was so guilty that the government didn’t even have a chance to get around to charging him with the dirty bomb thing. The fact is, the government detained an American citizen at a military brig for three years without any charges and denied him recourse to the right of Habeas Corpus, the 700 year-old common law protection against being detained without charge.

For good measure, Yoo adds that a court in South Carolina upheld his detention but omits the fact that Alberto "waterboard" Gonzales and his masters were afraid that the Supreme Court was on the verge of blowing all Yoo's crackpot legal theories out of the water, so the government decided to hastily charge Padilla and combine his case with two other al-Qaeda suspects with Arab names. The government's case against Padilla rested solely the evidence of Padilla's finger prints on an al-Qaeda job application.

But, forget about all that, it's all in the past, we're at war damn it, something Padilla's lawyers and the foes of the president [i.e. the terrorists] don't understand. Padilla and Salim Hamdan and all those "worst of the worst" types at Gitmo are all of sudden prisoners of war, not enemy combatants, after all. Yoo informs us that "capturing prisoners has been a permanent feature of war throughout human history. . . Sometimes, unfortunately, the enemy has included U.S. citizens --- in the Civil War, every Confederate soldier was a citizen."

What Yoo seems to forget is that Confederate soldiers, until the very end of the war, were regularly paroled after a number of weeks in exchange for U.S. prisoners. They weren't held in solitary confinement for years on end while being bombarded with loud music, exposed to extremes in temperatures and waterboarded to within an inch of their lives. And his contention that the taking of prisoners is specious anyway, because prisoners of war have legal rights, the very rights Yoo's various memos and legal musings have been denying them all along. (You can't have it both ways, John!)

Yoo makes the outrageous assertion that by Padilla's lawyers going after him and his co-conspirators in the courts is equivalent to Abraham Lincoln being made to worry about being held legally liable for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on his sole authority as Commander-in-Chief. [That plow won't scow, John!] This neatly aligns the GWOT and all its abuses, fully enabled by him and his wacky legal theories, with the freeing of the slaves. And, as if that's not chutzpa enough, Yoo writes that by making "soldiers, agents and officers who have to respond to the next 9/11" have to "worry about personal liability [and] hiring lawyers" lawsuits create "exactly the conditions that make a nation susceptible to a surprise attack, whether a Pearl Harbor or a 9/11."

Apparently, this is a nation of men, not laws anymore. In John Yoo's brave new world seeking to hold him and his cronies accountable for breaking the law is tantamount to attacking the United States, a la 9/11. One might argue that if these "soldiers, agents and officers" weren't breaking the law, they'd have nothing to worry about, but ultimately soldiers don't make the rules, they just follow them. Yoo is attempting to muddy the waters in order to shield himself in the name of protecting out troops (how low can you go?). Yoo signed off on the rules and he's responsible for the all the deleterious consequences that have befallen our once great nation, considered now to be a pariah nation by many around the world.

If we don't hold the likes of Yoo and Cheney's Rasputin David Addington to account for the egregious abuses and rampant violations of the law they've overseen these past seven years, then we might as well just pack it up and get used to living in a country that locks up its citizens on a whim and rewards those that prey on them with a forum in newspapers to propagate their self-serving justifications.


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