Monday, April 7, 2008


Stephen Bainbridge defends Yoo's right to be at Berkeley Law and says that allowing criticism of him to result in his removal would chill academic freedom.

Yoo is not the worse actor on this whole torture. Alone he could have done little. Clearly the biggest blame rests with Bush and Cheney and other decision makers up the chain from Yoo.

But Yoo's memo provided cover for atrocious acts that tarnished the honor of America and damaged us in the war on terror. His memo was not merely an academic exercise. It had real effects. For a long time it was the guiding "legal" document on the issue, which meant it directly led to abuse and deaths. It made it impossible for military and civilians in the government who thought torture was wrong to effectively resist. After all, it had been deemed "legal."

Although eventually repudiated, the memo did its damage and may still have echoes among the still-classified memos.

And why was this Yoo memo classified? Was there a single bona fide secret protected? Or was it just politically convenient to keep it a secret? To ask the question is to get the answer.

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