July 21, 2014

"Perhaps John Yoo would've thought twice about the dubious legal cover he gave to Bush administration torture..."

"... or his judgment that there are circumstances in which the president could legally crush the testicles of a child to elicit information from his father, if he'd envisioned a future where tourists on the mall would see a statue of a bound, naked child, a masked man cranking a vise around his testicles, and a marble Yoo shrugging his shoulders as if to say, 'I'm not gonna stop you.' That may sound implausibly grisly for a monument...."

From "The Case for Subversive Monuments in Washington, D.C." by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.

32 comments:

Gahrie said...

He also recommended the one of Clinton sticking a cigar into Lewinsky in the Oval office..right? Or the one of Obama , Reid and Pelosi huddled around a burning Constitution with big smiles on their faces?

rhhardin said...

Yoo and Epstein have an excellent series of podcasts on such things here.

Episodes 34-60 work at the moment, and they promise that 1-33 will work in a month.

I recommend listening to 60 downwards rather than 34 upwards.

rhhardin said...

Yoo wouldn't change anything, by the way.

But he's not after links.

harrogate said...

It reflects well on Birmingham that they have that monument.

The idea for the Yoo statue is brilliant.

jr565 said...

Did Yoo advocate methods that involved putting vices around people's testicles? Can't the critics at least use images of things that he did advocate for? like waterboarding. And he didn't advocate it, he said such an enhanced interrogation method would be allowed. And my guess, the vice around the testicles would not.
The same technique we make our soldiers go through if we want them to graduate SERE training by the way.

chillblaine said...

As long as I can have my monument to Cecile Richards, I'm ok with this.

Michael K said...

Conor Friedersdorf is almost as despicable a human being as Kerry. Just one lie:

On Iraq, when he didn't like the intelligence he was getting on Saddam Hussein's weapons program, he actively sought his own intelligence stream -- and then misrepresented the truth to the American people, substituting his judgment that we ought to go to war in Iraq for a hypothetical process whereby the decision would be made without the threat being hyped.

Translation: Friedersdorf disagreed. If you disagree with Friedersdorf, you must be lying because he knows all truth.

jr565 said...

Note, what Yoo advised the president on when coming up with an enhanced interrogation method was what was and was not permissible under the articles of war and when dealing with enemy combatants.
And when discussing the kids testicles in a vice he was discussing the limits of a presidents power. The president wields tremendous power when it comes to war. He could authorize the dropping of nukes. Which would lead to the deaths of thousands of kids, potentially. So why wouldn't he have the power to deal harshly with one child. Though, why would he? Its like the ridiculous hypothetical Rand Paul came up with where he wanted the president to guarantee that no one could be drone attacked in this country if they were just drinking a cup of coffee in Starbucks and minding their own business. Why would such an attack take place? But think about it in the context of a war zone, and consider if our territory was like Israel. Should terrorists be able to stay in Starbucks and.jump from store to store to avoid a drone strike?
The hypothetical would only make sense under the most narrowest of circumstances.

Matthew Sablan said...

We can put that one right next to one of Obama piloting a drone into a child's birthday party. After all, I'm pretty sure neither of those things really happened.

Also: I always think it is odd that people say we don't remember the bad parts of American History, but almost every high schooler can give you the litany from the atrocities against the Native Americans to Japanese internment.

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

"It reflects well on Birmingham that they have that monument."

It reflects badly on America we don't have more,...

The Drill SGT said...

jr565 said...
Did Yoo advocate methods that involved putting vices around people's testicles?


Two years After Yoo left the administration, he was in a debate, and was asked a hypothetical stating the premise. His response was that there was no treaty that prevented it, and further, depending on the circumstances, no law either. Given that the President can legally Kill several hundred million people if he issues the codes, I suspect that in the most adverse circumstances, torturing a child may be within his legal if not moral powers. History and the Senate are the judge of that.

Yoo was doing what academics do when pushed to define the limits of some argument.

Freder Frederson said...

Can't the critics at least use images of things that he did advocate for? like waterboarding. And he didn't advocate it, he said such an enhanced interrogation method would be allowed.

Yoo ignored the accepted definition of torture in both U.S. law and international treaties which the U.S. is a party to.

He is a despicable human being and should be in prison on war crimes charges, not sitting fat and happy in a tenured position at Boalt Hall.

Freder Frederson said...

His response was that there was no treaty that prevented it, and further, depending on the circumstances, no law either. Given that the President can legally Kill several hundred million people if he issues the codes, I suspect that in the most adverse circumstances, torturing a child may be within his legal if not moral powers. History and the Senate are the judge of that.

Which shows that he is either an idiot or liar.

18 USC 2340:

"(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; "

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment:

Article 1

"1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. "






Robert Cook said...

"'Conor Friedersdorf is almost as despicable a human being as Kerry. Just one lie:'

"On Iraq, when he didn't like the intelligence he was getting on Saddam Hussein's weapons program, he actively sought his own intelligence stream -- and then misrepresented the truth to the American people...."


But this is the truth.

southcentralpa said...

If anyone on the right had said this there would be an attempt to push them out of public discourse on the basis that they were pro-child prOn...

Michael said...

Crack:

There are Civil Rights museums and monuments to the heroes of the movement all over the south.

You should check them out.

I would expect, by the way, that with the low unemployment rate and huge building boom in San Francisco that you are finally on your feet financially. You should lighten up on the bitterness as a result.

paul a'barge said...

Just when you thought you could not despise Conor "with one N", he writes this pathetic drivel.

I've got an idea whose testicles I want to see in a vise, and it spells its name "with one N".

paul a'barge said...

@The Crack Emcee:
"It reflects badly on America we don't have more"

Is there a ditch left where you have not yet rubbed your ribs?

John Lynch said...

Yeah, let's blame John Yoo for what Obama does today. Where do you think the justification for all these drone strikes came from?

Clearly, the President is unable to come up with his own legal justifications.

Civilis said...

I think the only reason these ideas have any traction is that people have such filtered view of history.

We could just as easily have statues of Rachel Carson surrounded by the bodies of malaria victims or a triumphant Jane Fonda standing over trampled Vietnamese peasants and tortured American airmen.

Anonymous said...

There is Friedersdorf's torture, there is Bush's "torture", they are not the same.

The over wrought, over imaginative, tortured Friedersdorf needs a chill pill. Did his Nazi forebears leave him those vivid images? Poor kid.

Richard Dolan said...

"But it's been ignored so long there's a lot to cover. We've done a much better job publicly celebrating what's good about our history."

You have to wonder what schools this fellow attended. "Ignored so long" -- as in, for example, the history of slavery, racial discrimination, 'how the West was won', Japanese internment camps, and on and on? He must not have been exposed to the Howard Zinn-inspired textbooks in high school, or perhaps he skipped all the race/class/gender-focused classes in college (only possible if one majors in engineering or something similar these days). Perhaps he's been living in a cave, and has missed all of Eric Holder's screeds, or doesn't even read his own magazine's coverage of the surge of young immigrants into Texas (any suggestion that the surge should be stopped and the illegal immigrants deported is just blatant racist blather from the usual suspects).

But I have no doubt Friedersdorf believes every word of it. Even where he intentionally exaggerates, as in views he attributes to Yoo, I suspect he's offering in it in the spirit of 'fake but accurate.'

For some people, a shame narrative is the only history worth telling about America.

Michael K said...

"But this is the truth."

To the left, what they believe is the truth and what they do not believe is a lie.

Simple definition.There is no option to learn.

The description of the Bourbons was similar.

"They never learned anything and never forgot anything."

harrogate said...

Crack,

That's very true as well.

boxty woot said...

Freder Frederson said...
18 USC 2340


I assumed Yoo isn't an idiot so I looked up 18 USC 2340 and it would appear to this non-lawyer that 18 USC 2340 only applies to U.S. citizens or others within the United States territory.

Please clarify because either Yoo is technically correct and you made a gross error (I will ignore the possibility that you intentionally selectively quoted the law).

Freder Frederson said...

Please clarify because either Yoo is technically correct and you made a gross error (I will ignore the possibility that you intentionally selectively quoted the law).

The Convention Against Torture applies to any detainee (and note that the definition of torture under the Convention is arguably broader than U.S. law).

Yoo claimed that severe mental pain and suffering (in both statute and treaty) included only long term mental suffering lasting months or years. His unsupportable claim was that only infliction of extreme physical pain, that is pain similar to "death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions" constituted torture. That definition is bullshit.

n.n said...

Assassination by video, or scalpel, is less dubious.

Drago said...

harrogate: "Crack, That's very true as well"

Well gee, thanks for that patronizing validation...whitey.

Saint Croix said...

Conor Friedersdorf is almost as despicable a human being as Kerry.

I like Friedersdorf. He's one of my favorite liberal journalists.

I was listening to Rush today, and he was on one of his patriotic monologues, about how conservatives love the USA and liberals hate it. You can see some of that in Friedersdorf's article, how he's focusing on our negatives. Maybe that's why he's willing to write about abortion, it makes our country look bad.

And maybe that's why Rush and Hannity and Glenn Beck and Fox News have very, very little to say about infanticide. It makes us look bad. It's negative. It's an ugly story. So they bury it, and it's rah-rah for America.

I think Rush is at his best when he's snarky and skeptical. When he's patriotic--and Rush is often patriotic, I think he's motivated by a genuine love for our country--and he's talking about how wonderful we are, and we're just doing good in the world, my eyeballs roll up into my head.

If the USA is special, and different from other countries, it is because we have enshrined fear of government into our Constitution. It is this skepticism that makes us great. In essence I think conservatism is skepticism. People don't like to hear negativity. But honesty is critical, and cheerleading can be dangerous.

tim in vermont said...

How about one of Obama making sure Muslims are good and dead with drones before he ever has to deal with them at Guantanamo?

tim in vermont said...

For Frederson, it is all about manipulating the boundaries of definitions. Kind of like pretending that a "clump of cells" is not human until it attains a certain age.

Saint Croix said...

We can put that one right next to one of Obama piloting a drone into a child's birthday party.

How about one of Obama making sure Muslims are good and dead with drones before he ever has to deal with them at Guantanamo?

I think Friedersdorf would agree with this. That's when I first became aware of the guy, when he started going after the Obama administration for killing innocent people.

Here he is, a twofer: mocking Obama for killing people and simultaneously yanking Bill Clinton's chain about the mass number of abortions in our society.

Hammers Obama again here.

I applaud his journalism. I wish we had more journalists this honest.