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"John Yoo works at one of the most prestigious think-tanks in the United States: the American Enterprise Institute. He is absolutely sincere in believing that the executive branch can over-ride any domestic law, Tcs2 any international treaty and any moral boundary if necessary to protect national security. In a war on terror that stretches decades into the future, the new conservatism allows for a president with no checks at all on his own power as commander-in-chief. What might have once been a theoretical debate became a pressing reality. And within weeks of this new legal doctrine being expressed, military detainees under the control of American forces were being tortured - consciously, with pre-meditation, with legal cover provided. America went from being a constitutional republic, under the law, to an imperium of one man, answerable only to an election every four years, empowered to break any law and violate any moral law if he believes it is necessary for national security. If conservatism had begun as a political philosophy designed to check power, to ensure individual liberty, to protect individuals from lawless government authority, it ended in a dark room, with a defenseless detainee strapped to a board, terrified beyond most of our imagining. " - The Conservative Soul, Chapter Four, now out in paperback.

(Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty.)

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