Sunday, February 21, 2010

Justice Department Declines Punishment for Bush Officials for “Poor Judgment”.

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Apparently, Bush lawyers displayed merely "poor judgement" when they issued memos which allowed the US to engage in torture.

So John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury will face no meaningful punishment for the disgraceful way they deliberately misinterpreted the law in order to facilitate the Bush administration's desire to torture.

Jonathan Turley:
The Justice Department confirmed that the investigation originally found professional misconduct by Yoo and Bybee, but an unnamed high-ranking official at the Office of Professional Responsibility overruled the finding to avoid any professional action against them.

Now the report merely states that the men “exercised poor judgment.”

Now we are left with a former Vice President who proclaims proudly his support for torture and lawyers who will face no repercussions for their role — and of course an Administration that is refusing to even investigate war crimes. In the meantime, Bybee will continue to rule on cases as an appellate judge under a lifetime appointment – due to the failure of the Democrats to block the nomination.

How did we come to this ignoble moment?
How indeed...

Any hope that Obama was going to clean up this stain on America's reputation must surely now be consigned to the bin.

Torture is now officially, it appears, simply a difference in policy between the Democrats and the Republicans. It certainly is not being treated as a war crime.

They might have got away with this in the United States, but I would suggest that Yoo, Bybee and Bradbury never leave its shores. For they would be sure to face arrest abroad for what they have done. As Tzipi Livni discovered recently, we "old Europeans" still frown at war crimes.


Newsweek has more and has started naming names:

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.

The report by OPR concludes that Yoo, now a Berkeley law professor, and his boss at the time, Jay Bybee, now a federal judge, should be referred to their state bar associations for possible disciplinary proceedings. But, as first reported by NEWSWEEK, another senior department lawyer, David Margolis, reviewed the report and last month overruled its findings on the grounds that there was no clear and "unambiguous" standard by which OPR was judging the lawyers. Instead, Margolis, who was the final decision-maker in the inquiry, found that they were guilty of only "poor judgment."
It strikes me as beyond belief that John Yoo could seriously argue that Bush had the power to have entire villages of innocents "massacred" if he so choose and that Margolis imagines that this is simply "poor judgement". People who make judgements which are that poor should be disbarred.


daveawayfromhome said...

If John Yoo had stolen a car, or held up a liquor store, would that also have been "poor judgement"? And isnt that true of most crimes?

Kel said...

Dave, It's utterly scandalous that someone who showed so little understanding of - or respect for - the law should ever be allowed to practice it again.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.