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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/12/10

Yoo's Lies About Obama

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Yoo goes on to lie that "coercive measures" protect the country from dangers and are the only way to get "timely information from captured al Qaeda terrorists." Never mind that such a thing has never been accomplished, only lied about. Yoo claims that all prisoners will completely refuse to talk, contrary to extensive evidence that prisoners talk more, and more honestly, when not tortured. On top of this frightening fantasy, Yoo suggests, accused criminals given trials will force the government to make public all information related to them even if some of that information endangers the country. Of course, Yoo provides not a single example of this having ever happened.

Then Yoo turns to praising Obama and finds much to be misguidedly pleased with. Yoo is delighted by Obama's willingness to keep warrantless spying programs going, and to continue and expand upon the use of unmanned drones to murder people around the world -- something Yoo accurately describes as

"a far greater deprivation of civil liberties than detention, interrogation, and trial by the military."

Yoo means that as a compliment. Depriving people of civil liberties is high praise from Professor Torture. Yoo is also pleased with Obama keeping Guantanamo open, imprisoning people without charge, and trying people with military commissions. Yoo concludes, and again this is high praise:

"None of these policies would be legal unless the United States were at war."

In reality, of course, there's nothing legal about any of this, and the United States is not "at war", especially not with random victims of our abuses around the world or here at home. But Yoo's point is that Obama is using powers that no one has ever asserted a president had without claiming that they were magical powers that appear when there is a war on, even if it is an eternal global war.

Yoo then seems to admit that such abuses of power and human rights are not actually popular with Americans. He compares Obama to former president Eisenhower,

"another President whose personal popularity outstripped the public support for his policies."

Eisenhower campaigned, Yoo argues, as less of a militarist and warmonger than he served as once elected. He became Truman, and Obama has become Bush. Again, remember, these are meant as compliments:

"Similarly, President Obama has come to have more in common with the ends of the Bush administration's terrorism policies than did Candidate Obama. It should be clear, further, that this would not be possible were it not for a broad view of presidential power."

Yoo stresses that he supports that "broad view." He's being modest. He INVENTED it. He bestowed as many new powers on the current and every future president as anyone in history. Together with Jay Bybee he counseled the White House on how to get away with war crimes, wrote memos authorizing aggressive war at the whim of presidents, claimed the power to decree that the federal statutes against torture, assault, maiming, and stalking do not apply to the military in the conduct of war and to announce a new definition of torture limiting it to acts causing intense pain or suffering equivalent to pain associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in loss of significant body functions will likely result. Yoo claimed in 2005 that a president has the right to enhance an interrogation by crushing the testicles of someone's child. Yoo currently teaches California's children at the University of California - Berkeley.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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