Book review of John Yoo’s ‘Crisis and Command’ By Jack Rakove Sunday, January 10, 2010; CRISIS AND COMMAND A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush John Yoo was a significant participant in the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. As a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, he wrote many of the legal briefs on which the Bush administration relied, including, famously, a number of memos relating to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. . . . Since returning to his academic position at the University of California at Berkeley law school, he has published three books.
John Yoo is, I guess, the epitome of the modern American; highly educated, with a distinguished career path and an utter lack of any shred of ethical grounding. The end justifies the means is the war cry of Yoo and the New American, from government service to Wall Street to our recent doctrinal world view.
(Wikipedia) He has held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Trento and has also been a visiting law professor at the Free University of Amsterdam, the University of Chicago, and Chapman University School of Law.
He also held the ear and hauled the trash for Dick Cheney, Ken Adelman, Don Rumsfeld and his PINAC chums, playing a significant role in developing the legal justification for the Bush Administration’s policy in the War on Terrorism. Yoo argued that prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions does not apply to “enemy combatants” captured during the War in Afghanistan and held at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Yoo personally lit the torture fuse, asserting executive authority to undertake waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” (regarded as torture by the current Justice Department). He argued the President was not bound by the War Crimes Act, and provided a legal opinion backing the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. A thoroughly likable guy, kind to children and small animals. President Obama has, for reasons good or bad, declined to prosecute the previous administration’s evil-doers in order to ‘move on.’ One can but wonder the point of moving on without taking the time and thought to contemplate from whence we came. By comparison to a singled-out Scooter Libby here or there, the Republican dream-administration of Ronald Reagan suffered 138 officials convicted indicted, or subjected to investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal charges. That was in less modern times, when we still considered our country to be a nation of law instead of a ‘homeland.’ John Yoo should quite properly be writing from a jail cell. Nor is my complaint a Republican or conservative issue. This currently well-paid, power positioned and equally crooked Democratic administration is showing itself to be the equal of past years in all but outright torture. So the charge is not political, but ideological. Our once strong nation has come to doubt itself and, in doubting, seems to have misplaced its guiding principles of fairness, law, equity and humility along the way. We scream 9-11, but hardly remember the worldwide outpouring of support, the flowers heaped at the gates of our foreign embassies. Ashes to ashes. The sting of military defeat, economic collapse and international disfavor brings the modern American not to self or national analysis, but a growing mob psychology of hatred for one another. John Yoo is the kind of man we have become as a nation–arrogant and dangerous as hell to the liberties we claim to enshrine. If we stopped to think instead of moving on, he would be in jail. No matter, we are modern. The infamous ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ applies to lapses in governance as well as pop stars. Is it possible we have become a pop nation?