Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yoo Delares His "Victory" A "Gift" For Obama.

Whenever neo-cons are found to be flat out wrong, they somehow manage to find a narrative which makes it look like they have been victorious. And there is surely no more brazen example of this than John Yoo's startling rewriting of history in The Wall Street Journal.

Barack Obama may not realize it, but I may have just helped save his presidency. How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe.
Only in the mind of a neo-con could this be seen as "winning a fight". For, in truth, Yoo has only escaped disbarment from the legal profession because Margolis refused to implement the OPR's findings:
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.
Nor did Margolis in any way exonerate Yoo's behaviour or hand him any kind of victory. Indeed, he stated this:
For all of the above reasons, I am not prepared to conclude that the circumstantial evidence much of which is contradicted by the witness testimony regarding Yoo's efforts establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that Yoo intentionally or recklessly provided misleading advice to his client. It is a close question. I would be remiss in not observing, however, that these memoranda represent an unfortunate chapter in the history of the Office of Legal Counsel. While I have declined to adopt OPR's finding of misconduct, I fear that John Yoo's loyalty to his own ideology and convictions clouded his view of his obligation to his client and led him to adopt opinions that reflected his own extreme, albeit sincerely held, views of executive power while speaking for an institutional client.
So, I am not sure quite how Yoo thinks that he has won "a drawn out fight" here. He appears to believe that he has been vindicated simply because he has not been disbarred. But the legal views which he expressed, and which he imagines might still be left open to the Obama administration, have been described as, "an unfortunate chapter in the history of the Office of Legal Counsel".

Margolis further admits that it is "a close question" as to whether or not Yoo "intentionally or recklessly provided misleading advice to his client."

And yet Yoo now has the sheer gall to label this "victory" and to pronounce this as his gift to Obama.

This is why I despair at the Obama administrations unwillingness to investigate the war crimes of the Bush years. Yoo will take the fact that he has not been disbarred and sell this as a vindication for his utterly discredited legal advice.

And other right wing mouthpieces will echo his sentiments.

These people are simply shameless. Only a prosecution would have any chance of making them see that a crime had been committed here. Although, as the prosecution of "Scooter" Libby showed, there would still be many on the right who would refuse to accept that the law should apply to them.

But a prosecution might, just might, make the next president who wanted to stray into war crimes think twice before he wandered down that path.

Click here for Yoo's article.


merlallen said...

I have never felt the need for the president to "keep me safe". have you? has any non coward?

Kel said...

Republicans have always been obsessed with bogey men coming to get them. It's a recurrent theme which runs through their entire foreign policy.

As you say, it's cowardly, but they imagine that it's patriotic.