John Yoo: Justice Approacheth

Scott Horton takes another look at the bizarre op-ed the war criminal just penned for the WSJ:

I’ve followed John Yoo and his writings with some care for a while now, and I think I finally understand what this is about. Namely, a pending probe by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is looking at serious ethical issues surrounding the issuance of Yoo’s legal opinions. But the OPR probe is far from Yoo’s only or even most pressing worry. The likelihood that he will face a criminal probe and then possibly prosecution is growing.

The key issue is whether the cockamamie legal opinions Yoo delivered to his superiors were a sincere and genuine attempt to say what the law was - or obvious attempts to provide pseudo-legal cover for the war crimes the president and vice-president believed were necessary to save America. Horton again:

[L]ook closely at the latest Yoo column.

We see that he tenaciously defends and repeats arguments presented in his memo that even the Bush Justice Department agreed were ludicrous. He alludes to techniques used by our allies the United Kingdom and Israel which he claims now Obama rejects. What on earth is this about? If we recall his memo, one of its more bizarre passages involves a European human rights court decision in which five specific techniques used by the U.K. on suspected Irish terrorists during the “troubles” are classified as “cruel, inhuman and degrading” rather than torture. Thus, Yoo argues, these techniques have passed international muster and are fine. That’s the sort of answer which would get a law student a failing grade.