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Tilting at Windmills

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May 6, 2011

JOHN YOO BECOMES A CARICATURE OF HIMSELF.... John Yoo, the former deputy A.G. in the Bush administration responsible for writing torture memos, complained to CNN last night about President Obama's successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

No, really, Yoo actually complained about this on national television. There's video proof.

Pressed by Eliot Spitzer, Yoo argued that the al Qaeda leader should have been taken alive, and that President Obama's record of killing lots of terrorists is a problem because Yoo would rather see them tortured and interrogated.

"I do think that [the president and his team] don't want to capture high-level al Qaeda leaders," Yoo argued, making the case that Sunday's mission in Abbottabad was a mistake.

Wait, it gets worse.

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Yoo wrote that shooting the unarmed bin Laden meant "one of the most valuable intelligence opportunities since the beginning of the war has slipped through our hands."

Yoo told Spitzer "that a deliberately small force was sent in" to Abbottabad, Pakistan by the White House because "they don't want to capture high-level al Qaeda leaders."

Why? As Yoo said in his op-ed, the administration is terrified of backing the Bush administration's moves in the war on terror.

"Capturing [bin Laden] alive would have required the administration to hold and interrogate bin Laden at Guantanamo Bay," Yoo wrote, "something that has given this president allergic reactions bordering on a seizure."

As a friend of mine summarized, "Shorter John Yoo: It's too bad you killed Osama, because if you'd captured him, I could have criticized you for not torturing him."

Remember, Yoo isn't just some clown on right-wing radio; he helped shape an administration's rationale for ignoring the law while combating terrorism.

Steve Benen 3:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

This is the problem with Obama's refusal to prosecute these people for torture.

If they were to face prosecution, their ability to spread their disease would be prefixed by "criminal" and therefore their beliefs would be repudiated by us as a country.

Instead, the Yoos and Cheneys merely have "their perspective" that is treated with equivalence.

Posted by: Jackifus on May 6, 2011 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I could give up some of my progressive values at the temptation of seeing Yoo captured and tortured. I wouldn't necessarily believe anything he said under the influence of EIT, but it would be remind me that I am not a pure ideological creature. That's a good enough reason for now.

Posted by: Danp on May 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I had read about Yoo for years, saw him on the Jon Stewart show last year, but I never appreciated what a crazy, cold-blooded lying scumbag this guy is until I saw him interviewed on Elliot Spitzer's program. If anyone belongs in federal prison from the last administration it's this bastard.

Posted by: max on May 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, Yoo isn't just some clown on right-wing radio; he helped shape an administration's rationale for ignoring the law while combating terrorism.

These things are not mutually exclusive.

I would be delighted to see my local serious newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer , go out of business just because it gave this war criminal an OpEd column.

Posted by: hell's littlest angel on May 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yoo is a sick individual. It's chilling how morally bankrupt the man is.

Posted by: g on May 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yoo is a clown, no doubt. The scary part is that he played a very important role in the Bush Administration. History will judge Mr. Yoo and the rest of those criminals in a most harsh light, ergo the constant historical revisionism practiced by most of them (Rove, Rice, Yoo, etc.)

Posted by: T2 on May 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yoo is a f**king lawyer. He doesn't know jack about operations.

I would be terrified about backing a lot of Bush's policies. Some of them are what you would expect from a war criminal.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 6, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Correction: Yoo isn't even a clown on right-wing radio. He's just a stooge the failed former administration found to justify its crimes, and there is even less cause to listen to him than some nutcase radio guy.

Torture only assures that information will be produced, not that valid information will be produced. I bet Osama could have wasted thousands of US man-hours with giving up false leads under coercion. Yoo is an idiot.

Posted by: biggerbox on May 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, Yoo isn't just some clown on right-wing radio; he helped shape an administration's rationale for ignoring the law while combating terrorism.

You mean "while pretending to combat terrorism."

Posted by: Spike on May 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Coupling this with Theissen's recent demand that torturers be given Medals of Freedom-- now I finally get the picture: the actual goal of the War on Terror is to inflict pain.

Posted by: MattF on May 6, 2011 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh.

I don't have anything more. So just sigh.

Posted by: ET on May 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yoo's horsecrappery seems to ignore the fact that the SEALs left Osama's compound with drives FILLED with data about Osama's operations, information we wouldn't have necessarily been able to torture out of him, all the while his handling at the hands of the "merciless American infidels" inciting more potential AQ recruits to rage.

We really are in a situation where, if a former Bushie says do one thing, we should on instinct do the exact opposite. It'll make more sense, be more effective AND more "American."

Posted by: slappy magoo on May 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

John Yoo, a highly credentialed delusional intellect whose morals have been hidden from his conscience, never to be found in any governmental report he's authored! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Can we just waterboard this moral cretin? I'd make an exception for it ...

Posted by: EdgewaterJoe on May 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, Yoo isn't just some clown on right-wing radio; he's a clown on right-wing radio whose ravings show up on the front of TPM and Washington Monthly.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on May 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hay Yoo.

See if you can torture information out of OBLS computers.

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

@JACKIFUS: You are so naive.

Posted by: Alli on May 6, 2011 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yoo's horsecrappery seems to ignore the fact that the SEALs left Osama's compound with drives FILLED with data about Osama's operations,[...] - slappy magoo, @4:15 PM

You can't torture a computer's hard drive into softening, so where's the fun of it?

Yoo is a repulsive, bloodthirsty, slob. And he's fat :)

Posted by: exlibra on May 6, 2011 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that it was ever a very high priority to take OBL alive. Given the culture of lawlessness that pervaded the Bush years, it would have been next to impossible to try him without using tainted evidence.

It's a damn shame that our nation has been reduced to this. & Yoo & others like him made that possible.

Disgusting.

Posted by: zhak on May 6, 2011 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's pretty damn hard to take alive someone who's been dead for nine years.

A statement from Emmanuel Goldstein's website doesn't prove squat.

Posted by: Old Uncle Dave on May 6, 2011 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody was certain to say this.

It had to be Yoo.

Posted by: navamske on May 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I am always amazed by John Yoo. He is one of the most anti-American public figures in a decade filled with such. I am worried that he is allowed to TEACH lawyers! What pestiferous lies must he be inculcating into one law school class after another. As a matter of preserving our national identity, he should be prohibited from serving as faculty in any instructional institution. Words are inadequate to describe the disgust that I feel for his presence!

Hang on while I indulge in a little interpretive dance . . .

OK, that's almost right. In any case, he should be deported to North Korea. He'd fit right in.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on May 6, 2011 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

He may not be on right wing radio (yet) but he is ever a right wing clown.

Posted by: digitusmedius on May 6, 2011 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

I don't suppose it occurred to Mr. Yoo that it was not Pres. Obama, but the SEALs, who made the decision on the spot to kill bin Laden. I've never been in a tense combat operation, and neither has Yoo. Who is he to judge the on-the-spot reaction of the SEALs, who were themselves at risk?

Posted by: bilben on May 6, 2011 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

John Yoo: TOOL!

And no, we didn't need to interrogate bin Laden. We got ALL of his personal records. So, WTF would we even need to talk to the scumbag? Another day of life would be too good for him. I, for one, am glad it's over.

Posted by: Marko on May 6, 2011 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

They are still trying to rewrite history to save their hide.

Posted by: Kenneth D. Franks on May 6, 2011 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

"They are still trying to rewrite history to save their hide."

Exactly. Just like Bush couldn't travel to Switzerland for fear of being arrested. American 'exceptionalism' doesn't extend beyond the border.
The rest of the world expects US to play by the same rules we agreed to. Which is why all these torture apologists are pissing their pants.
Because, basically, we've committed greater sins against other sovereign nations than any of them have against US.

Posted by: Captain Obvious on May 6, 2011 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

John Yoo: TOOL! Posted by: Marko on May 6, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Or, maybe, "stool", And not of the 3- or 4-legged variety, either. More like a medical sample.

Posted by: exlibra on May 6, 2011 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I can see a good reason for keeping bin Laden alive. Then we could have put Yoo and bin Laden in the same cell. Since they were both chicken hawks who incited others, I bet they would have become fast friends ASAP.

Posted by: ceilidth on May 6, 2011 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

It will be extremely interesting to see the lineup for the Sunday shows this week.

Will the usual suspects turn up to answer nonsensical, irrelevant questions from grovelling hosts, tacitly and slyly reinforcing the pro-torture stance?

My guess is - probably.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on May 6, 2011 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK
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