Clowns in Charge
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OMG, what a coincidence.  The Obama administration wanted to see America look “forward” and not “backward” regarding Bush era torture policies, and lo and behold The Department of Justice finds Judge Jay Bybee and lawyer John Yoo are stupid, but not guilty.

And it’s offensive.

It’s offensive because there was nothing stupid about it.  Bybee and Yoo were tapped exactly because they are ass-kissing toadies.  They were told to make it okay to torture.  The torture memos explained how anybody might skirt accountability:

  • Torture off U.S. soil.
  • International law is not U.S. law; therefore, a president may override.
  • Leave no marks if possible.
  • An assault that would get a U.S. citizen 6 months in jail or less could be implemented because legally that crime committed outside the United States is not legally prosecutable.
  • Torture is defined as that which does not cause organ failure.
  • Implement euphemisms like “enhanced interrogation” and “enemy combatant.”

Bybee and Yoo embraced 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 (Torture Memo 30-31).

Bybee and Yoo gave their bosses President George W. Bush, VP Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld what they wanted.  And that’s not stupid.  It’s calculated job security.  Bybee was rewarded with a federal judgeship.  Yoo takes most of the hits for the torture memos, but he wasn’t a top dog.  No, the top dogs live free and clear in America, and Cheney is still flapping his gums on the virtue of torture.  Not an ounce of remorse.

“Margolis, the top nonpolitical Justice Department lawyer and a veteran of several administrations, called the legal memos ”flawed” and said that, at every opportunity, they gave interrogators as much leeway as possible under U.S. torture laws. But he said Yoo and Bybee were not reckless and did not knowingly give incorrect advice, the standard for misconduct.  –The New York Times

Assistant Deputy Attorney General David Margolis wants every one to know that dismissing Bybee and Yoo does not constitute an endorsement of the memos.

Way to cover your sorry ass, Margolis.  Examine your own capacity for conjuring bullshit judgement.

I wonder what’s to stop a future president and administration from using toadie lawyers in the same way?


14 thoughts on “Bybee and Yoo Not Guilty, Just Stupid

  1. [I wonder what’s to stop a future president and administration from using toadie lawyers in the same way?]

    Nothing. Apparently, if your lawyer says it’s legal, it’s legal! I’ll have to find a lawyer who can tell me that robbing a bank is legal. I’m sure there’s one out there somewhere.

    • Hi, Ben. Plus, your bank-robbing approving lawyer won’t be in trouble either. He was after all just interpreting the law based on his client’s desires. Nothing wrong with that now.

      The Times article also said states still have the option to go after Bybee and Yoo at the state bar level. Is there one with the stones or that actually cares?

      How is this not critical?

  2. so if someone wants to beat the living shit out of david margolis, jay bybee, or john yoo, all he has to do is find a lawyer to tell him that it’s legal to do so? awesome!

    • 0whole1 linked this article by a former head of CPAC. It’s a good one. Mickey Edwards reminds me that there were decent Republicans once. The party’s been commandeered by the nuts. The Democrats laid down for them and still can’t get up.

  3. To answer your final question, nothing. More important, the decision demonstrates that Obama’s word on this matter is worthless. When he says the United States does not torture, his statement has no support in fact. Agents of the United States under Bush tortured people to death. There is no credible prohibition against torture to this day, as this decision makes painfully clear. Obama’s refusal to investigate and prosecute the crime, combined with this decision from Justice, destroys the credibility of any government statement that torture is no longer practiced. If we are to consider ourselves rational and reasonable citizens, we have to assume that the United States likely continues to use torture, that it will continue to torture people, and that no statement, on any matter, from the U.S. government or any of its agents or agencies, is credible. We also have to consider that the United States will continue to flout international law, will not respect treaties (those which it bothers to sign), and is and will remain a rogue nation.

    And all that has been accomplished by a government of a supposedly somewhat enlightened politicians led by a professor of Constitutional law. Imagine what we’ll get if the other side gets back in power again. Then not only will we torture innocents, bomb wedding parties and slaughter women and children, we, the United States, will do so gleefully, happily, cheerfully, confident that it is our destiny to lead the world to the light of god, Jeebus, and salvation, even if we have to kill every goddam slope, nigger, and raghead out there to make the world safe for American ideals.

    Are you fired up? Ready to go? Hungry for change?

    Kiss a clown for Christ. Yowsah!

    If I get any more disgusted I’ll have to kill myself, or move to a civilized country. So far, Finland is looking good. I hope to fuck I’ve offended someone this morning, goddammit.

    • You’re so American with your “move to a civilized country.” Americans LOVE saying that. You stay here, and you fix this place. Dammit. That’s your charge.

      • I’m not at all sure it can be fixed, absent a serious, stupid, and bloody civil disagreement not unlike the last one. Sometimes when evil has its foot in the door and the system that brought it there shows no capacity to remove it, no will to overcome systemic faults that brought down the evil, then it’s time to at least think about moving on. On the other hand, as I’ve said before, somewhere, if this beast goes bad and goes down, it takes everything else with it, so there likely won’t be anywhere else to go.

        You and I and others can blogtest all we want, sign all the petitions we want, march all we want, vote all we want, and nothing changes. The mass of citizens, with all its diverse interests and beliefs, tends to cancel out any chance of a massive demand for genuine change. And the push from the media, with its degraded intellectual abilities and its willingness to service the lowest common denominator that makes it money, makes sure that money speaks to power and that we do not.

        So, no, this place is not gonna get fixed. We’re going to bumble along, avoiding major bloody upheaval if we’re lucky, fighting stupid and useless wars against relatively minor slights like we’re doing now, and letting our Constitutional liberties degrade into meaningless drivel that seemed like a good idea at the time.

        You can’t fix the system if the system does not listen, refuses to listen, gets wrong what it hears, and has no heart for change.

        Is that defeatist? You’ll say yes. I’ll say no, it’s simply a recognition of what is happening to our system of government for a variety of reasons. Continuing to post posts like yours today on torture is what we can do, it’s what helps keep our consciences from driving us crazy or to Finland (I can’t leave my cats anyway, so Finland’s a pipe dream – by the time the cats are gone I’ll be way too old, seriously).

        We do what we can. That’s what we can do. Do what we can, hope for the best, and make sure the other side gets called out whenever they do the bad things, and the ‘other side’ includes the elements on our side that enable the evils, like Obama has enabled torture.

        My, I’m long winded today. Must be the vitamins. Or the DHEA. Or the blonde chic. 🙂

    • I suspect it’s harder to organize progressives and Democrats. The Tea Baggers (yeah, I know, I know) and the Republicans have a simpler philosophy, if you can call it that given that they demonstrate no love of learning or wisdom. Simple ideas are prone to sound-biteyness, and people whose ideology can be reduced to sound bites are more easily herded, more easily led, and more easily conformable. Organizing progressives and Democrats is easier than organizing atheists or herding cats, but not to the point of lockstep marching in hobnail boots. People who accept that the real world is not reducible to slogans and sound bites are stronger in some ways, but in the political arena they are disadvantaged – one has to think to be a progressive. One has only to follow to be a Tea Bagger or a Conservative or a Republican. This is one of the primary reasons why a strong, independent press and a strong educational system that teaches critical thinking from an early age are so necessary if democracy is to survive. At the moment the United States has neither.

    • What I find interesting and perverse, or at least ironic, is that the Tea Baggers and the Conservatives constantly babble and blare about individual liberty and freedom, but are the most easily led like sheep and herded into ideological pens for shearing. They’re not unlike teenagers, at least the ones from my day (hush!), who consider themselves individual and rebellious while dressing and thinking the same as their peers for fear of being left out or considered different.

      A truly charismatic and intelligent leader on the right could take this country over in one election cycle. Americans like to think they’re immune to Hitlerian or Stalinesque maneuvering, but that, like the fantasies of the right wing, is, on its face, false.

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