Bush Administration: We Can Order Massacres of Civilians. Obama Administration: There’s Nothing to See Here, Move Along
It’s been known for some time that the presidential administration of George W. Bush brought on lawyer John Yoo in order to write legal justifications for the U.S. Government to torture people it had detained. It’s less widely-observed but also known that John Yoo articulated the power of the President to nullify freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
And now comes something altogether new: page 64 of the Justice Department OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) Report reveals that John Yoo asserted the power of the President to order the massacre of a village full of civilians [ellipses and bracketed comments are part of the original report, not added by Irregular Times]:
Yoo was asked to explain how the torture statute would interfere with the President’s war making abilities, and gave the following answers:
Q: I guess the question I’m raising is, does this particular law really affect the President’s war-making abilities…
A: Yes, certainly.
Q: What is your authority for that?
A: Because this is an option that the President might use in war.
Q: What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred?… Is that a power that the President could legally —
A: Yeah. Although, let me say this. So, certainly that would fall within the Commander-in-Chief’s power over tactical decisions.
Q: To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?
The Bush administration vigorously defended John Yoo as he asserted the president’s right to order torture, nullify free speech, obliterate the free press and, yes, massacre a village full of civilians.
The Obama administration has recommended that for his conduct, John Yoo should receive no punishment in criminal court, in civil court, or even by the Bar Association. This despite clear constitutional provisions and federal laws against such things. The constitution and the law just aren’t what they used to be.
And how has John Yoo reacted to his get-out-of-jail card from the Obama administration? With outrage, rolling out his lawyer to demand that the people who revealed John Yoo’s conduct should be disbarred and jailed.
Because torture, cancelling free speech, destroying a free press and massacring a village is all right… but revealing the truth about John Yoo and the Bush administration is simply unforgivable.