It's true. John Yoo got a job writing for the Philly Inquirer. One of the men responsible of the rotting of our American morals once again is given a prime time job. It's sickening. The conservative movement is so devoid of thinkers that the traditional media is left to hire moral-less scoundrels that found legal jargon to try and justify torture for Cheney's henchmen.
Will Bunch explains: Inquirer defends the indefensible: A monthly column by torture architect John Yoo
By late last year, the world already knew a great deal about John Yoo, the Philadelphia native and conservative legal scholar whose tenure in the Bush administration as a top Justice Department lawyer lies at the root of the period of greatest peril to the U.S. Constitution in modern memory. It was widely known in 2008, for example, that Yoo had argued for presidential powers far beyond anything either real or implied in the Constitution -- that the commander-in-chief could trample the powers of Congress or a free press in an endless undeclared war, or that the 4th Amendment barring unreasonable search and seizure didn't apply in fighting what Yoo called domestic terrorism.
Most famously, Yoo was known as the author of the infamous "torture memos" that in 2002 and 2003 gave the Bush and Cheney the legal cover to violate the human rights of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, based on the now mostly ridiculed claim that international and U.S. laws against such torture practices did not apply. Working closely with Dick Cheney, Cheney's staff and others, Yoo set into motion the brutal actions that left a deep, indelible stain on the American soul.
Yet none of that was enough to prevent my colleagues upstairs at the Philadelphia Inquirer -- with none of the fanfare that might normally accompany such a move -- to sign a contract with Yoo in late 2008 to give him a regular monthly column. The Inquirer thus handed Yoo a loud megaphone on what was once a hallowed piece of real estate in American journalism -- to write on the very subjects that have now led Justice Department investigators to reportedly recommend disbarment proceedings against Yoo and has led international prosecutors as well as millions of politically engaged Americans to consider the Episcopal Academy graduate worthy of charging with war crimes.
It was Yoo's immoral guidance that aided the United States in sanctioning the torture practice known as waterboarding -- used in the Spanish Inquisition, by despots such as Pol Pot and by Chinese Communists in the Korean War to obtain false confessions from Americans -- as well as slamming detainees into walls, part of a harsh interrogation regime that has been linked to the deaths of at least a dozen U.S, detainees and possibly more.
But apparently the Inquirer didn't get the memo on Yoo.
We can do something. If you're up to it, you can write into Philly.com and voice your complaints about the hiring of this man.
People should write the Inquirer -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- or call the newspaper and tell them that torture advocates are not the kind of human beings who belong regularly on a newspaper editorial page, officially sanctioned. Journalists here in Philadelphia or elsewhere who wish to strategize on where to take this next should email me at email@example.com
And his first column is devoid of any sound opinions other than that President Obama should have not used the word "empathy" when speaking about Supreme Court judges.
Right out of the gate, in the first column in which Yoo is identified as a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, Yoo displays naked partisan hypocrisy, blasting President Obama for citing empathy as a quality a Supreme Court justice should possess after Yoo himself had praised Clarence Thomas for displaying that very quality.
Yoo then claims Obama is shifting his stance on empathy: "Obama's call for emotive judges contradicts his moderate campaign positions."
Shifting your position with the political winds, as Yoo has done, is one thing. Following such a shift with an attack on someone else for doing exactly what you have just done is taking partisan hackery to another level.
But that's not all! This is John Yoo we're talking about -- one of the villains behind the Bush administration's use of torture and its shameless power-grabs. You think he's going to stop at some hypocritical nonsense about "empathy"? No way.
Yoo went on to argue that Obama should not appoint an "activist" judge, thus mindlessly repeating the stupid talking point every Republican has used to attack every Democratic judicial nominee (actual or potential) since the dawn of time.
But in Yoo's case, the attack is particularly silly. See, right there at the end of Yoo's column, his bio line notes "He has served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas." And Yoo has lavished praise upon his former boss. And Clarence Thomas is, by one measure, the single most activist member of the Supreme Court.