Michael Isikoff at Newsweek.com has more on the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report in which David Margolis, senior lawyer in the Obstruction of Justice Department, found John Yoo and Jay Bybee guilty of nothing more than “poor judgement” in authoring the torture memos.
The report also contains an excerpt of an investigator’s interview with Yoo on the subject of the expanded powers of the president:
“At the core of the legal arguments were the views of Yoo, strongly backed by David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel, that the president’s wartime powers were essentially unlimited and included the authority to override laws passed by Congress, such as a statute banning the use of torture. Pressed on his views in an interview with OPR investigators, Yoo was asked:
“Sure,” said Yoo.”
“What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? … Is that a power that the president could legally—”
“Yeah,” Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. “Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.”
“To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?” the OPR investigator asked again.
CarolynC at The Seminal comments on the fallout from Margolis’ decision:
“Because of the actions of men like John Yoo, our country’s moral standing in the world has been eroded. The country of Washington, Lincoln has become a country where legal justifications of torture are now viewed as a matter of “poor judgment,” as the OPR report concluded in its findings.”
One can only conclude that the extermination of an entire village would also fall under the “poor judgment” umbrella as well.
“… But far from being condemned and disgraced, our domestic war criminals live in comfort and ease, their opinions are eagerly sought by our slavish media, and they are treated with the utmost respect in the corridors of power.
…thanks to John Yoo, the President can now commit everything up to and including genocide. Nothing seems to have changed, but everything has changed. Most of us were brought up to consider ourselves citizens of a democratic country; now we are dangerously close to being mere subjects of a monarchical leader, whose powers know no bounds.”
Dick Cheney is so confident that he is in no danger of being held accountable that he triumphantly broadcast his guilt on national television; he admitted last Sunday that he personally ordered the CIA to waterboard detainees. No matter. He will still be treated with deference as an elder statesmen by the Beltway Elite. And John Yoo will continue to practice law, teach, give interviews and write books on the virtues of unlimited executive power, and the books will be greeted with glowing reviews.