Fucking John Yoo. I’d rather chew glass than write about him…weasely, morally vacuous toadie that he is…
My 12-year old wants to know why anybody would ever listen to a person like John Yoo.
I explained to my son the definition of sycophant, then walked him through Yoo’s relationship to the institutionalization of torture under President George W. Bush. Because my son is 12, I could use the example of Grima the Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings. Though Grima was a minor character, his treachery lead to the near destruction of a people.
And such is the import of John Yoo. He helped perpetrate not just a fall from grace and not just a betrayal of American ideals and American law: he jeopardized civilization itself. If civilization is the refinement of people in thought, word, and behavior, then it is hardly hyperbolic to make such an assertion.
Sycophants are fungible. If John Yoo had not been willing to sacrifice notions of law and decency at the administration’s request, another lawyer likely would have.
The Wall Street Journal saw fit to publish a very fungible, sycophantic screed from the pro-torture attorney. Any neocon toadie could have written it:
Mr. Obama has also ordered that al Qaeda leaders are to be protected from “outrages on personal dignity” and “humiliating and degrading treatment” in accord with the Geneva Conventions. His new order amounts to requiring — on penalty of prosecution — that CIA interrogators be polite. Coercive measures are unwisely banned with no exceptions, regardless of the danger confronting the country.”
Yoo is the man who could not give a straight answer to Congress on whether or not the President could order a suspect buried alive. This is the man who defended the crushing of a suspect’s child’s testicles to solicit information. He justified the techniques of slitting noses and ears, cutting out tongues, and dousing a prisoner in acid so long as there is no intent to maim.
What John Yoo must be too stupid to know is that our laws and the Geneva Conventions not only protect suspects in custody. Law protects the custodian from indulging baser human conduct. And really, whose dignity is want between the torturer and the tortured?