Re: A Times Editorial Musters The Courage To Assail Torture
I disagree with you that Berkeley Law School should fire Professor John Yoo. He is a tenured professor and should not be fired for speaking or writing what he thinks. It is quite clear that he thinks torture of enemies is justified if they have information that you need to wipe out their friends and bases. It is true, as you say, that Professor Yoo tries to rationalize his conclusion that torture is illegal. Nevertheless, his basic position, in favor of the fine art of torture, is in my opinion sincere, and he should not be penalized when he gets back to the academic world for having expressed himself in a government setting.
But I also disagree with you on your contention that Professor Yoo has merely been "adroit at thinking up arguments and engaging in so-called legal analysis, in this case arguments and analysis in favor of immorality," or that he can "think up legal reasons to justify the evil" that his client wishes to commit. In my view, Professor Yoo was not being in the least bit creative. As the legal adviser William H. Taft of the Dept. of State made clear in his memo to Professor Yoo, the argument in favor of torture was advanced by the Department of Justice only because the relevant treaty provisions, obligations, norms, and US statutes, were SYSTEMATICALLY OMITTED from the analysis. Professor Yoo, and Albert Gonzales for the White House as well, selectively omitted the clearest norms and precedents that established beyond doubt that the torture carried on by the government of the United States was illegal under our treaty obligations.
Surely, anyone can write a memorandum in favor of torture if it omits the overwhelming weight of the precedents and statutes making torture illegal. It doesn't take creativity to do so. It only takes a willingness to violate the law profession's Code of Ethics that requires a lawyer not to intentionally misstate the law. At worst, Professor Yoo violated the Code of Ethics. At best, he was so woefully ignorant of international law that he should never have purported to write a memorandum about it. If I were the dean at Berkeley, I would use my discretion to make sure that he does not teach courses in international law, at least not until he demonstrates a minimum competence in that field.
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 2:04 AM
Subject: Check out 2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers - Empire? -
2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers - Empire? - Global Policy Forum oy-- now larry don't take this the wrong way but... read the last paragraph in this link--your position is disingenuous, overbroad and taken out of its historical context in relation to the Yoo memo- it was drafted immediately in the aftermath of 9/11 when i had cap patrols flying over my apartment for a month because 3000 of my fellow citizens had been murdered 3 miles from my home by islamic fanatics--even deputy white house counsel flanagan said the memos didn't form the basis of presidential action --your incessant failure to understand this amoral enemy who would slit your kufr throat in a nano second without qualm manifests your bds--bush derangement syndrome--not to mention your misapprehending elemental concepts of 4G warfare in your and the nyslimes attempt to crush the political will of those who are protecting us--assymetrical warfare is propaganda warfare above all--they can't win on the ground but can win by demoralization--coercive interrogation is not torture--the admittedly unlawful and stupid sex humiliation games of abu gharab [which have been appropriately punished] are not hand severing--wall hanging--tongue cutting--or the electro-testicle mambo--why aren't you pissed at the mujahjadeen beheaders, arab fascist thugs and the muslim supremacists who are your enemy--its like denial and displacement--i don't get it and respectfully it appears either do you--but i love you anyway and forgive you your misjudgements--btw hello-- y'all lost the election--the middle east is going through a world historical democratic change due to the muscular proactive bush doctrine--i suggest getting on the right side of history for a change--you'll feel better.
regards [Initials Omitted]