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Yoo: We Should Have Captured, Tortured bin Laden

Yoo: We Should Have Captured, Tortured bin Laden

Well that didn’t take long.

Former Bush administration attorney and torture apologist John Yoo came out against the Obama administration’s actions in Pakistan, arguing that what the Obama administration should have done is capture bin Laden and send him to Guantanamo Bay.  In an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal, Yoo called the President “afraid” of the politics of Guantanamo Bay and suggested that President Obama’s failure to send bin Laden to the notorious site will go down in history as one of the administration’s biggest national security fails.

Yoo, notorious for authorizing the torture memos and pushing the view that a sitting American president can do virtually anything in the name of national security, did not shy away from the fact that bin Laden would most certainly be tortured (excuse me, subjected to harsh interrogation techniques) as a top-level prisoner at Guantanamo.  In fact, promoting the failed torture policies of the Bush years is exactly what Yoo was sent out to do once the news of bin Laden’s death broke.

Dahlia Lithwick unpacks the right’s torture fetish wonderfully here and rightly calls out the mainstream media for enabling it by continuing to give Yoo a platform to spin these failed policies.  Yoo, Cheney and others engaging in the “did torture work to get bin Laden” debate are not debating the merits of the use of torture (there are none).  They are pushing their own self-serving propaganda.

That Yoo, Cheney and the rest of the gang would do so really should not come as a surprise anymore.  But the fact that institutions like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal continue to provide a platform should.  With the exception of those like Yoo who are personally invested in having the merits of torture debated, there really is no debate.  Civilized nations and civilized people do not torture.  Period.


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photo courtesy The National Guard via Flickr

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3:21PM PDT on May 25, 2011

(and not meant rudely or specifically you....our countries in general is the point)

3:18PM PDT on May 25, 2011

@Kathleen D,

I do not consider justice a headache or country and yours preach it from the rooftop to every nation on this globe...if you can't live it yourself and show by example you are no better and should keep your mouth shut outside your own borders

9:58AM PDT on May 17, 2011

Torture, that happend mostly in defeat. Eisenhower was the champion, killing a million unarmed German prisioners of war after surrender, surely he called them not POW 's but DEF's to not having to comply with the Geneva convention. I, as a German will never forgive the US and never will be a friend of the US. We did bad things, but the allies were no better. We are all a sick bunch of people, just think: the whole world against a couple of small countries instigated by the frail British. Look at them now.

7:47PM PDT on May 16, 2011

Darren; it is assumption of course that when you refer to committing murder you're speaking of the 3,000 plus murders that took place on 9/11. As an American who suffered the grief shared my millions globally, I'm just sure you're not inferring that murder took place a couple of weeks ago when Bin Laden was killed. How would you have felt had he been taken into custody and there had been more vengeful retribution carried out by Al Qaeda as a result. Or, how about if Bin Laden had been brought back to this country tried, sentenced and executed. Same difference; we just were spared the expense and headache of many years of attempting to bring a monster to justice. I prefer it happen the way it did and I believe millions of Americans feel the same way. I'm sorry that you feel there is something so despicable about the actions taken. How did you feel when the thousands of innocent Americans were murdered on that horrid September day?

11:13PM PDT on May 15, 2011 ensure we don't fall somewhere into that description or start to blur the lines of interpretation within our own societal beliefs/expectations and laws.....murder is against the law - you break the law you go to jail - when the law breaks the law, the whole concept of prison becomes pointless and our claims of "fair trials" and "respect for rights" become laughable on the tongues of our youth and discrediting on the world stage....

10:59PM PDT on May 15, 2011

We preach justice, truth and peace. We preach equality and tolerance. If we can not immediately show the results from our actions that means only one of two things; we are hiding something - because honesty in and of itself is forthright - or we didn't have a plan or somehow "lucked out". In either case, I do not put my vote to a government who "rolls the dice" in decisions that have or will affect me nor in one who feels I am unworthy of the facts and truth...Terrorism is an abomination created out of fear, intimidation and control and is carried out by zealots.....I want to know the government I vote in will perform their duties and actions according to the laws and morals of the country and at the end of each day be able to show account for each and every action of the day ON THAT DAY....

10:35PM PDT on May 15, 2011

regardless of what was "done" to Bin Laden...I find it absolutely "in your face" obvious there's something fishy....I am watching Discovery Channel RIGHT NOW and there is a "documentary" on about the whole action on killing him......a documentary was filmed and edited professionally IN A WEEK?! .....additionally, I watch documentaries all the time and RARELY do I hear unconfirmed, speculative statements such as "What might have happened...."...the whole point of a documentary is showing people the facts not SPECULATING what MIGHT have happened....OBL dead is a good thing....but as one of the countries telling OTHER countries how good and fair and just our democratic system is, there is DEFINITIVE NEED for facts to show we followed these very principles we're professing before, during and after his demise...we tell our children to follow the path we've set for them just as we expect from those we elect to run our country. It is time for our elected to practice what they preach and stop hiding what should be easily and happily shared information....transparency is not opaque

3:06PM PDT on May 13, 2011


3:04PM PDT on May 13, 2011

Bin Laden is alive and being interrogated. Yoo's article is a convenient plant. Why would the US kill the richest source of knowledge there is about a still existing terrorist network? That makes no sense at all....none. The jihadis want proof he's dead. Of course they do. They hope he's dead since that is better than if he is alive, now they don't know for sure.

Bin Laden is a walking encyclopedia, and a potential source for corroborating information for the next decade. Do you really think they would kill him? No way,

He's alive but no one will ever see him again.

7:14AM PDT on May 13, 2011

I agree with you Joy; torture solves nothing but would make Obama look just as evil as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. We don't need more idiots pulling down this country but rather do what they need to in order to move this country forward. We've got some really big issues to deal with like the economy for instance, which isn't going to be dealt with as long as we're wishing torture were still a reality. Torture does nothing to define America as a moral society. If we are to ever regain honor and credibility, we are going to need to identify our weaknesses (and, torture is weakness), make sure we don't repeat those horrid acts, and build on our strengths.

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