I admit it. I could not read Yoo’s gloating, self-congratulatory op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today. I can only take but so much straight-up, undiluted evil directly in my face before feeling like I have a bad case of food poisoning.

Jon Perr is braver than I:

As the Scooter Libby affair showed, no one circles the wagons like the Republican Party and its conservative allies. Now that Bush torture architects John Yoo and Jay Bybee barely escaped disbarment in the final version of the report from the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the right-wing counterattack and near orgasmic celebration is well underway. Leading the clarion call is none other than John Yoo himself, who in his Wall Street Journal op-ed today proclaimed his legacy of unlimited war powers – and a virtually unlimited regime of detainee torture – “my gift to the Obama presidency.”

Following the cheerleading from the usual Republican mouthpieces including the National Review, Commentary and the Wall Street Journal, Yoo took a victory lap Wednesday, stepping over the broken bodies of American prisoners and shattered national honor. Rewriting both the history of the OPR report and its conclusions, Yoo crowed:

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… Without a vigorous commander-in-chief power at his disposal, Mr. Obama will struggle to win any of these victories. But that is where OPR, playing a junior varsity CIA, wanted to lead us. Ending the Justice Department’s ethics witch hunt not only brought an unjust persecution to an end, but it protects the president’s constitutional ability to fight the enemies that threaten our nation today.

Jon also links to Glenn Greenwald’s Monday post — which I had not seen before — on the way the right has been misrepresenting David Margolis’ report on the Office of Professional Responsibility’s recommendation (emphasis is Glenn’s):

… At National Review, Bill Burck and Dana Perino so thoroughly mislead their readers about the DOJ report — rejecting the findings of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of ethical misconduct against John Yoo and Jay Bybee — that it’s hard to know where to begin. …

Perhaps the most deceitful claim is this one:

So, in one corner we have a legal all-star team of Mukasey, Filip, Estrada, Mahoney, Goldsmith [all right-wing Bush lawyers], and Margolis. In the other corner, we have OPR operating far outside its comfort zone and area of expertise. This shouldn’t have been close — and it wasn’t, on the merits.

Compare that to what Margolis actually said (p. 67):

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.

Just think about that for a minute.  Margolis said that whether Yoo “intentionally or recklessly provided misleading advice to his client” when authorizing torture — about the most serious accusation one can make against a lawyer, as it means he deliberately made false statements about the law — “is a close question.”  That’s the precise opposite of what Burck and Perino told National Review readers about Margolis’ conclusion (“This shouldn’t have been close — and it wasn’t, on the merits”).

Yoo’s mea magnifico is titled “My Gift to the Obama Presidency,” and is here if anyone has the stomach to read it.

Kathy Kattenburg
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tidbits
Guest

There is an ocean of difference between finding that your opinions do not [quite] rise to the level of professional misconduct and extrapolating from that, that your opinions are legally correct. Yoo may not be guilty of misconduct, but he is an ass.

casualobserver
Member

“your opinions do not [quite] rise to the level of professional misconduct and extrapolating from that, that your opinions are legally correct.”

While Yoo conflates at the beginning of the piece between being exonerated from the ethics charge and the validity of his opinions, you are taking it much farther without providing the evidence.

Most of his “in-your-face” language is specific to the ethics investigation….and when one political party pursues such against another political party…..I choose to see that as political. So, one round of posturing begets another round of posturing……all pretty standard political gamesmanship.

If Yoo is gloating now, the Obama administration brought it on. Just like here at TMV, if you make a partisan statement that doesn’t come true, be ready to pay the price.

tidbits
Guest

Careful, CO, we find ourselves much in agreement again. That he conflated his exoneration, with which I agree, with his “correctness” on the substance, even if only at the beginning of the piece is sufficiently arrogant for me. I need take it no farther than that. And, yes, it is “all pretty standard political gamesmanship.” That’s the real damnation of it (on both sides)…simple disciplinary investigation gets dropped for good reason and turns into a national game of political gotcha. Government by tabloid diversion.

dduck
Member

Government by tabloid diversion.”

Give him a break, like many others with questionable legal entanglements (H&B) he is trying to sell books.

JeffersonDavis
Guest

I think Yoo should kiss my……

Foot.

Axel Edgren
Guest

Fun fact about weakening the rule of law: it weakens protections that were meant to protect you as well.

Sooner or later, people have to make a choice – do they risk the effects of siding with entropy and evil in order to do away with a corrosive element in their midst, or do they attempt to galvanize and strengthen their society, siding with negentropy and hoping that even the most flagrant elites can be submitted to order?

Basically, Yoo is telling people in Western society that crime pays and that having lots of good-ol’ boys in your country club is more important than having a soul.

Where are the conservative columnists who are so quick to blame the degeneracy of today’s younger people on rappers and HBO? Why, they are writing columns about how Christianity is compatible with torture.

The same people telling “the West” to shape up and become more noble are willingly participating in the complete elimination of meaning, dignity and honor in our culture. People like Yoo are unworthy of taking a bullet for the kind of people who fought to get the Third Reich government on trial.

The US public is scarred, chaotic and vitriolic after 9/11, and they cannot recuperate. Instead, they sacrifice more and more values and principles on the altar of vindication, like some abused teenager who thinks his trauma absolves him of culpability when he takes out his aggression on the community. When he keys a car or throws a brick through a window, he can temporarily forget the constant ache the humiliation left him with. Turns out the US – the mature country that doesn’t make excuses for itself – is using the same pubescent logic that teenage criminals use.

Pathetic. I spit on all those who think this mockery of Western values can strengthen society, and apologize for this parody of justice. Yoo got off the hook because he has enough friends in the system – *That* is elitism, you fascist idiots. Osama bin Laden turns out to be the most influential person in America, from 2001 and onwards. He screwed you all up good, and like many victims of abuse, you took his evil inside you and are now spreading it. He is losing in the martial sense, but that isn’t the only battlefield.

DaMav
Guest

Spectacular victory for Woo and Bybee over the political hacks we have running the “Justice Department” these days. Yoo richly deserves his ‘victory lap’, considering that we have for years heard this honorable man slandered and smeared by his far left detractors. Yet in the final analysis, he was guilty of no crime, and committed no lapse worthy of sanction. His real “crime” was to empower the Executive Branch to fight terrorism, a work benefitting whoever holds the Office of the President, regardless the party. A non-partisan triumph which no doubt saved American lives and made the country stronger.

Those who don’t like Yoo and Bybee had your chance to produce something of merit and failed utterly despite a detailed, exhaustive investigation by the very people desperately in seach of political trophy.

There’s irony involved when we are sternly admonished to call terrorists “alleged” or “accused” because they have not yet been tried, but such sensitivity does not extend to Americans seeking to protect the country. Yoo and Bybee have been found after a meticulous investigation to have done no wrong and committed no crime. They are honorable citizens of our country and deserve to be treated as such, regardless of whether people agree with their legal opinions.

There is a push underway to eventually provide Yoo and Bybee with formal recognition for their fine services to the country, and I hope it succeeds. Many Americans are grateful for their service.

tidbits
Guest

DaMav,

We disagree from time to time, and this would be one of those times. A couple of days ago I agreed that Yoo/Bybee were not guilty of misconduct, but that does not make their legal opinions correct.

Being a racist isn’t a crime, but that doesn’t make being a racist correct.

I’m not accusing Yoo/Bybee of being racist, just making an analogy. The idea that Yoo/Bybee’s opinions are correct because they are not in prison is a nonsequeter. Lawyers don’t go to prison for incorrect opinions, they are just incorrect legal opinions. The fact that they are not being disbarred doesn’t make them heroes and it sure as heck doesn’t make them right.

Edit Added: hit the “Like” button by mistake trying to reply…it’s ok, I do like some of your comments, just not this one.

DaMav
Guest

I understood your comments from a couple days ago and understand them now. I’ve heard Yoo speak several times on TV, read a number of his articles, and admire the man greatly for what he has sacrificed over the years. He is bright and well spoken and has good values imo. Yet he can’t even publish the time and places of his law lectures for fear of disruption by radicals who believe he needs to be ‘punished’ for disagreeing with them — I doubt that you would favor that.

Yes, we disagree on Yoo. (I’m less familiar with Bybee). You (and Kathy and others) have every right to your opinions on his views and actions and I applaud you both for freely expressing them. And I will continue ‘yumping’ on the other side of the teeter-totter pointing out that opinions vary. Many Americans on both sides. Never a dull moment in politics. Honest disagreement is part of the system, and may that always be the case. Thank you for your input, as always.

dduck
Member

Lawyers don’t go to prison for incorrect opinions’

Even if they are the Supemes, as you have pointed out.

Zzzzz
Guest

I think Yoo is a war criminal. I believe he has knowingly and deliberately undermined the Constitution, thus damaging this country. I would dearly love to see him rot in jail for the rest of his natural life.

Axel Edgren
Guest

I want him put on trial. You know, like all other people plausibly suspected of crimes.

But Yoo is apparently above people like us, and can’t be subject to that.

That’s American values today. DaMav is just in a slightly more advanced state of apathy than most of society.

DaMav
Guest

Now there ya go. Even though a full investigation has demonstrated no crime, not even sufficient evidence for an ethics rebuke, you want him to be put in jail for life.

You advocate putting people in jail for life, even if we can’t indict them for anything and they are cleared by a full investigation. And then you claim Yoo is ‘undermining the Constitution’. I couldn’t ask for a more obvious self-indictment.

Axel Edgren
Guest

I forgot that you don’t deserve to be responded to on this subject – comment removed.

dduck
Member

I forgot that you don’t deserve to be responded to on this subject”

Oooh, poor Damav, he missed out at an uber-remark from the overseas prince of reason and light. Bad boy, too much mental m________, Axel. Feel free to attack me in lieu of DaMav (oops, I probably am not worthy).

Leonidas
Guest

Yoo may not be guilty of misconduct, be he is an ass.

It fits so many politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle so well.

Axel Edgren
Guest

We’ve reached the Event Horizon of mental laziness (the “But what about the other side”-defense) in all but 10 comments.

I hate having to listen to other humans. They never fail to disappoint me. Thank goodness I don’t have to suffer the effects of the political opinions of the average American.

JSpencer
Member

Sociopaths in high US government positions seem to be a dime a dozen anymore. Hard to believe anyone would choose Yoo for a role model though. Good grief…

Zzzzz
Guest

Full investigation? I don’t think so. How can you have a full investigation when a big chunk of the emails/evidence mysteriously went missing? They only investigated him for whether he broke legal ethics by deliberately giving his clients (the US) bad advice. Obama didn’t want to touch with a ten foot pole prosecuting him for war crimes, like the Nazi lawyers were successfully prosecuted for, when they provided legal cover for Nazi war crimes. Torture is a crime. He knew that, and did his level best to slap together a convoluted justification for law breaking. I believe the emails WOULD have shown he KNEW he was doing wrong. I want him thoroughly investigated, put on trial, and successfully prosecuted for his real crimes. I think Yoo is a disgrace to this country.

DaMav
Guest

Got it. You want a Kangaroo Court to affirm your personal opinion of Yoo, then throw him in jail for life. Obama is covering for Yoo because Obama is part of the Big Nazi Conspiracy. I hear Karl Rove is still in charge of the Justice Department and Eric Holder is actually a robot manufactured in the Underground Labs at Bilderberg by Faux News. And ‘everyone’ knows that Rove gets his orders from Himmler, right?

Thanks for today’s report from the Mother Ship. :-) Now can we just Move On?

DaMav
Guest

Got it. You want a Kangaroo Court to affirm your personal opinion of Yoo, then throw him in jail for life. Obama is covering for Yoo because Obama is part of the Big Nazi Conspiracy. I hear Karl Rove is still in charge of the Justice Department and Eric Holder is actually a robot manufactured in the Underground Labs at Bilderberg by Faux News. And ‘everyone’ knows that Rove gets his orders from Himmler, right?

Thanks for today’s report from the Mother Ship. :-) Now can we just Move On?

dduck
Member

Thanks for today’s report from the Mother Ship”

Good one, but not as good as your “waving chicken entrails” winner. LOL

DaMav
Guest

The evidence that Yoo knew he was providing bad legal advice was not there because he is a madman

Well it’s good to see you are maintaining your sense of objectivity in this, lol

Let me know when you actually have charges, let alone a conviction. Surely you aren’t pretending that Eric Holder is holding off on prosecution because he’s part of the right wing. He just doesn’t buy into the fantasy world, despite his very liberal views. He knows that if he can’t even get a finding on misconduct, he’s not going to get a conviction on criminal charges.

‘Well I’m angry so somebody’s gonna pay’ is not the basis of criminal law in this country.

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