Friday, April 04, 2008

Bush war crimes trial: exhibit A

Someday, many years from now, an aged George Bush may yet face a war crimes tribunal. If he does, the Yoo torture memo will be exhibit A:
There Were Orders to Follow - New York Times

...The March 14, 2003, memo was written by John C. Yoo, then a lawyer for the Justice Department. He earlier helped draft a memo that redefined torture to justify repugnant, clearly illegal acts against Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners.

The purpose of the March 14 memo was equally insidious: to make sure that the policy makers who authorized those acts, or the subordinates who carried out the orders, were not convicted of any crime. The list of laws that Mr. Yoo’s memo sought to circumvent is long: federal laws against assault, maiming, interstate stalking, war crimes and torture; international laws against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; and the Geneva Conventions.

Mr. Yoo, who, inexplicably, teaches law at the University of California, Berkeley, never directly argues that it is legal to chain prisoners to the ceiling for days, sexually abuse them or subject them to waterboarding — all things done by American jailers.

His primary argument, in which he reaches back to 19th-century legal opinions justifying the execution of Indians who rejected the reservation, is that the laws didn’t apply to Mr. Bush because he is commander in chief...

...When the abuses at Abu Ghraib became public, we were told these were the depraved actions of a few soldiers. The Yoo memo makes it chillingly apparent that senior officials authorized unspeakable acts and went to great lengths to shield themselves from prosecution.
The state of California needs to revoke John Yoo's right to practice law.

Those convicted of the Abu Grhaib war crimes should ask for a retrial, and submit the Yoo memo as evidence that they were following their leaders.

2 comments:

alanbooker said...

If a larger proportion of the population where of the same opinion as you, and voiced it as clearly, the situation would be much more hopeful!

One can only hope that the future brings some meaningful action against all those who are at the top of the command chain regarding the crimes committed.

regards, Alan

alanbooker said...

If a larger proportion of the population were of the same opinion as you and voiced it so clearly there would be some hope.

The future should bring some legal action against those at the top of the command chain, but past events indicate one cannot expect much more than talking heads!

Regards, Alan