Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yoo Hoo

I've always thought of John Yoo as the Executive Branch equivalent of Chris Crocker, the "Leave Britney alone!" guy.  Chris, as you'll recall, got under a sheet with a video camera and weepily defended a celebrated nitwit whom he had never met, in the process becoming both a YouTube sensation, and a cautionary tale about the benefits of waterproof mascara.

John Yoo, on the other hand, became famous for writing the Bush Administration a "Please excuse George and Dick from the Hague today" note, and for defending the right of a (Republican) President to crush a child's testicles in the interest of national security, in the process proving he was even more cold-blooded and sociopathic than the people who actually committed the torture he enabled.  (Some right wingers claim that waterboarding is not torture, because U.S. service personnel are or were given a brief exposure to it, and I will concede the validity of this argument as soon as Mr. Yoo agrees to splay pantless on the couch and permit a 4-year old with a meat tenderizer to play Whack-A-Mole with his scrotum for five minutes.)
Yoo, as you may recall, did very well in the 2011 Miss Wingnut Pageant, advancing to the final round, before being disqualified amid accusations that he had violated his Evil Amateur status by going pro, accepting payment (in the form of a Justice Department salary) for declaring that a "president's war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be 'massacred'" (hey they took away Jim Thorpe's gold medals for less).

But Yoo hasn't let this minor setback rattle him, and in the NY Post he weighs in on the controversial government assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, criticizing the Obama Administration for not killing him enough.

Still confusing terror & crime by John Yoo

It's such a simple rule, you'd think even Obama could have figured it out by now:  Terror is not a crime, it's a war, but war is not a crime, therefore there's no such thing as a war crime.  Got it, overly inquisitive Spanish judges who make distinguished University of California professors uncomfortable when they contemplate visiting Europe or Canada or other self-righteous jurisdictions that criminalize trivial policy differences over testicle crushing?

In all fairness, previous administrations have confused crime and terror, the most famous example dating to 1934, when the J. Edgar Hoover labeled gangster John Dillinger "Enemy Combatant Number 1" and bombed the Biograph Theater in Chicago with radio-controlled aero-torpedos launched from an FBI Zeppelin.
We should be thankful that Obama officials have quietly put aside the arguments they made during the Bush years that any terrorist outside the Afghani battlefield was a criminal suspect who deserved his day in federal court.
Oh, I am grateful, John; and relieved that current interpretation of Article II of the Constitution also allows the President to suspend the presumption of innocence for anyone caught making an illegal left turn by one of those traffic cams, many of which have now been equipped with Hellfire missiles for prompt rush hour adjudication. 
 I’d rather the Obama folks be hypocrites in favor of protecting national security than principled fools (which they are free to be in faculty lounges both before and after their time in government).
Sounds like somebody's a bit miffed that the nerds gave him a low-key welcome back to UC Berkeley, even though he was swanning about in the cool letterman's jacket he'd earned serving as waterboardboy for the Varsity Torture Team.
But that former world-view of terrorism still infects its decisions, to the country’s detriment. According to the reports, the Obama administration believed that force could only be used against Awlaki because arrest was impractical and he posed an imminent threat to the United States. This is plainly wrong.
 Is there a fundamental difference between "American exceptionalism" and the "delusions of grandeur" experienced by most serial killers?  Yes.  The former is hamstrung by all kinds of pettifogging rules, regulations, and laws that prevent its host organism from achieving its ultimate potential as a Randian utopia, whereas the latter leads to a fully actualized √úbermensch who realizes that every man is an island -- especially when everybody else in the room is dead and he's standing in a lake of blood.
It may make for good policy, especially toward US citizens who make the mistake of joining the enemy, but there is no legal reason why a nation at war must try to apprehend an enemy instead of shooting at him first.
I feel the same way about about Christmas carolers, and those girls at the mall who try to spritz you with a sample of Axe Body Spray.
Think of the operation to kill Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto in World War II. He was well behind the lines, flying from one military base to another. He didn’t pose an “imminent” threat of attack on America at that moment. The United States didn’t need to ask whether it could have forced Yamamoto’s plane down first and captured him. It was allowed to kill him, just as it could kill any other member of the Japanese military, regardless of his threat.
Wow, I thought I knew my World War II history, but I had no idea that Admiral Yamamoto was an American citizen.  And that's the kind of shameful ignorance that almost guarantees that no President will ever ask me whose balls he can take after with a pair of pliers.  But at least I'm savvy enough to steer clear of the hackneyed, unserious counter-argument that the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service bomber transporting Yamamoto was a military target which was shot down during a war we'd actually bothered to declare, because that's the kind of thing a namby-pamby untermensch would say.
Ever since the Civil War our national leaders and the Supreme Court have agreed that a citizen who joins the enemy must suffer the consequences of his belligerency, with the same status as that of an alien enemy.
I guess that means we can look forward to statues of Osama Bin Laden, Taliban flags flying over statehouses, and a yearly observance of Al-Qaeda History Month.  At least in the South.
Think of the incentives that the strange Obama hybrid rule creates. Our al Qaeda enemy will want to recruit American agents, who will benefit from criminal-justice rules that give them advantages in carrying out operations against us (like the right to remain silent, to Miranda and lawyers, to a speedy jury trial, etc.).
Um...we killed the guy, Mr. Yoo.  Without regard to nationality or creed, he and everyone in his immediate vicinity were pulped like a box of bulk-bought copies of Ben Shapiro books.  How dead does he have to be?  How much collateral damage will it take before you can finally achieve satisfaction, close the Abu Ghraib portfolio, and pull your pants back up?
Our troops and agents could well hesitate in the field, because they wouldn’t be able to tell in the heat of the moment whether an enemy is American or not.
This is what happens when tough-talking nerds get a taste of power and think they're Conan the Barbarian.

 "What is best in life?"

" To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to make them stop Super Gluing your stapler to the credenza."


Anntichrist S. Coulter said...


Very cogent, Scott. Yoo is one of those lowlife scumsucking pencil-pushing geeks who are so far below even Darth Cheney on the morals scale that it's almost incomprehensible that they can exist anywhere but the negative gravity of a black fucking hole. (To all physics experts: Shut. The. Fuck. Up.)

(And yes, Mentis, this includes YOU. Hush.)

Gimme a little while to wrap the tattered shreds of my noggin around this truly evil motherfucking demon-spawn baby-raping goat-fucker. If he weren't so SINCERELY evil, I might be able to have some fun with it, but THIS motherfucker makes NIXON look like an ACTUAL Quaker.

D. Sidhe said...

The last line made me laugh.

One point, though, five year olds have poor hand-eye coordination. I say we give him twenty minutes. (How long does your standard SERE waterboarding session last? I'm betting it's longer than five minutes, anyway.)

Doghouse Riley said...

there is no legal reason why a nation at war must try to apprehend an enemy instead of shooting at him first.

Sure there is, as everyone knows, including Yoo; shooting an incapacitated enemy combatant, or an unarmed and unresisting one, or one who has already surrendered, is murder. The man's as blithely unconcerned with black letter law as he is with human life. (The former may sound trivial compared to the latter, but consider that he earns his living at the law, whereas his status as human is subject to considerable doubt.) I wonder if he speeds up to run over jaywalkers. Just kiddin'. I'm convinced he does.

The killing of Yamamoto--which Yoo turns into one of those Bill Bennett Moral Tales for Children as Told By the Personally Depraved--is, in fact, proof that the matter used to be taken seriously; the intention was considered so borderline, so questionable, that the operation was undertaken only after it was submitted to the President for approval. And that's the killing of the commander of the Japanese naval forces during what was essentially a naval war (and, as you point out, a declared one at that), not the designated Second in Command of the Week whose threat to the United States consisted of mouthing off.

And as long as we're on the subject we'll just note that the operation--a remarkable, split-second action in the face of severe risks--was carried out by uniformed members of the United States military at the direction of one of our greatest Presidents. Compare the near-random act of some CIA spook playing a video game and defended by a psychopath publicly masturbating to torture porn.

R. Porrofatto said...

After reading his ridiculously argued piece (admirably eviscerated here, BTW) in Murdoch's esteemed law journal I was going to say that it's hard to believe Yoo is a law professor, but then I remembered Lessons Learned from the Internet, as taught by Reynolds, Althouse, Patterico, Volokh, the Jacobson asshole, et al. Sadly, the humunculus who always escapes scrutiny in these things is Cheney's fucktotum, David Addington, who's such a caricature of baseness that even zombie Lionel Barrymore couldn't do him justice.

Anonymous said...

Well, after seeing in the news yet ANOTHER case of FBI informants claiming to be AQ-affiliates to nab some schmuck...

If someone approaches you and claims to be an AQ-affiliate, you should immediately shoot them dead. They just self-identified as an enemy combatant, and now civilians outside the military chain of command (hiya, CIA drone pilots!) can kill them on whatever flimsy pretext passes for "evidence".

If you get in trouble for this, just tell 'em that John Yoo, famous lawyer, said it was okay.

I look forward to a golden age of patriotism, punctuated by random bursts of gunfire.

Brian Schlosser said...

Rudy Giuliani is a prominent American supporter of the MEK terrorist group. We can assume, then, that John Yoo would have no problem with the CIA sending a Predator drone to the next CPAC meeting to kill him. And if Yoo happens to be there, and happens to be "collateral damage", I can only imagine that the last thought going through his pointy head will be "Oh well, that's what happens when a citizen who joins the enemy suffers the consequences of his belligerency"

Chris Vosburg said...

Scott writes: Wow, I thought I knew my World War II history, but I had no idea that Admiral Yamamoto was an American citizen.

With respect, Scott, I need to scratch an itch here, and this isn't as much about your offhand comment as it is about the constant refrain heard elsewhere and often of "but he's an American Citizen" that has characterized this debate.

I don't see why the citizenship of either Yamamoto or the instant case (Anwar al-Awlaki) is relevant, and I'd like to think American jurisprudence is on my side here.

Citizen or not, all are subject to the same treatment under the law in this country, and whatever argument you may want to make about the legality, morality, or propriety of the pursuit and capture or killing of terrorism suspects, I can see no reason in light of this that the citizenship of the perp should be a consideration.

See, there's an implied diminution of non-Americans here-- like they don't count-- and it makes my skin crawl a little. It's the insidious basis of swell ideas like the residential neighborhood carpet bombing of "shock and awe", and I'd very much like to put that behind us.

That said, I have no opinion on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. I simply don't know enough about the case against him, but do know that Yemen had tried and convicted him (dead or alive!) in absentia, for what it's worth.

As for Yoo, I do have an opinion. He's wrong. Again. Fuck, Orly Taitz isn't as much in contempt of the law as this clown.

Chris Vosburg said...

Riley writes: And as long as we're on the subject we'll just note that the operation--a remarkable, split-second action in the face of severe risks--was carried out by uniformed members of the United States military at the direction of one of our greatest Presidents. Compare the near-random act of some CIA spook playing a video game and defended by a psychopath publicly masturbating to torture porn.

Leaving aside the embellishment, If UAV technology had been available at the time, would that have rendered the killing of Yamamoto an act of cowardice?

Chris Vosburg said...

Let me flesh that out a bit.

We, when we kill, use the tools we have. Originally, that meant strangulation I guess, but this was soon replaced by the club, and then by the knife and then by the gun, and then by the rifle, and then the bazooka, and then the RPG, and then the shoulder mounted rocket launcher and-- see where I'm going here?

We get farther and farther away from the kill with each of these. With the gun itself, that's the whole idea-- to not be within reach of what you're trying to kill.

It's not fair, I can imagine you saying, the pilot of the drone isn't even on the battlefield.

Like you, I'd prefer we don't be killing each other at all, but given the human proclivity for doing just that, what would you consider fair? Should we line up on each side of a meadow with muskets and call time out while we load powder and ball?

Is that bravery?

Anonymous said...

So, does John Yoo then think that certain of the Nazi war criminals executed at Nuremberg deserve a posthumous pardon? After all, THEY thought they had valid "national security"reasons for doing the things they did.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mr Wosburg, let me point out something to you, re our use of drones:

As has been pointed out, our shock and outrage of the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador on our soil is a bit disingenuous.....

After all, this essentially what we are doing with our drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen--Al-Awlaki being a prime example of this......

I don't see that there is a rule that says "American
exceptionalism" means we have the right to do what we condemn in other people. If the Iran plot is true, this it may be a case of chickens coming home to roost...

I mean, will we have a right to complain, if some time in the future, China, for instance, conducts drone strikes on American soil to eliminate perceived "enemies of the state"?

Chris Vosburg said...

Anonymous writes: After all, this [attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador] [is] essentially what we are doing with our drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen--Al-Awlaki being a prime example of this......

No, it isn't.

Diplomats have diplomatic protection. This is agreed to by all countries, one of which is the US. Our country has a law against assassination of heads of state as well.

Al-awlaki isn't a diplomat, or a head of state, and therefore has no such protection. Perhaps the difference is too subtle for you.

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

If there was any justice in this universe, I would not only be constitutionally protected in the pursuit, but would also be legally enabled to hunt Yoo down after I'd eviscerated Cheney and flog Yoo to death with Cheney's cyborg skull.

Y'know, if there WERE any fucking justice in this universe as we know it. Which, of course, we all already know to NOT be true.

StickIt said...

Like you, I'd prefer we don't be killing each other at all, but given the human proclivity for doing just that, what would you consider fair?

I vote a duly elected or appointed representative of each combatant nation report to the Thunderdome for naked mud wrestling to the death. (And not because I want to see any of them naked either.)

Once they've finished, the rest of us can get on about our business of actually getting something done.

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...


Ain't a politician one that I wanna see nekkid, let alone smeared in mud and with arms & crotches akimbo in a grunting, squirming, pathetic excuse to lay one another prone or supine in a pitiful excuse for "domination."

Strap the fuckers, in appropriate skivvies, to a bondage cross, and lemme work-out some of my pent-up rage & frustration from being in completely unnecessary and unfair physical agony, YET AGAIN, because the "medical industry" STILL views me as a giant LAB RAT, even though I've got INSURANCE this go-round. Hey, I paid for it from the age of 12, it's MY fucking Medicare, dammit.

First one up on the straps? Michelle Obachmann and her fruity little freak of a "husband" (THOSE two have had intercourse AND orgasms about as often as I have since July of '06. BUPKIS!!!), just purely for the amusement of the worldwide pay-per-view audience. Then we work our way up the lowlife food-chain of D.C. & Dubai, culminating in the *ultimate* death-match cage-fight-to-the-death OF ALL TIME: ***ANNTI V. DARTH CHENEY.***

I give 8-1 odds that I can outlast the cyborg's titanium "heart"/hydraulic pump. Last I heard, he was still running on "VISTA" software, so it's not like it'll be a CHALLENGE. Though I *will* have to insist upon a locked & bolted BALL-GAG for that nasty fucker, 'cause I know what kind of lunging fanged attacks he's made in the past. Normally such a situation would call for a full-on muzzle, but then we'd miss the fun & novelty of watching his bloodshot demon-spawn eyes bulging-out as I bring the glass-studded cat o'nine down for yet another well-deserved lash.

Hey, if the Hague is going to stay THIS fucking slow about crimes against humanity and artificial wars fomented solely for the profit of the underlings of the Royal House of al-Sa'ud, SOMEBODY HAS ***GOT*** to PICK UP THE SLACK!!!!!!

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

(Is it so much to ask, really? Just fucking ONCE, it'd be nice if the emphasis that I *typed* into this damned thing actually SHOWED UP!!!!!!)