Second-Best Punchbowlism
links for 2009-09-25

Hoisted from Comments: More on A Jury of Prosecutors Would Hang John Yoo High

From Pete:

Hoisted from Comments: A Jury of Prosecutors Would Hang John Yoo High: Seems like a trial would likely turn up much more evidence than we have now. The bigger story is how the memos came to be written, rather than what's in them. Failing to cite and distinguish Youngstown is an obvious tell, for lawyers, but perhaps not for 12 members of the public, as Joe S observes. But there is probably a lot of good information that would be found, which could be convincing for 12 citizens, if there were a real investigation into how Yoo came to be the source of these memos. Did the AG or other of Yoo's superiors know and approve of the request for the memos? Did the VP's office go straight to Yoo knowing that he would give them the cover they wanted? (Circumstances seem to suggest so.) Did someone in VP's office go to Yoo knowing that the torture and extraordinary abuse had already started (so, at least as to whoever was in the know there - VP, Addington, folks at CIA, etc.), they can't rely in "good faith" on an opinion they also know to be tainted? Did Yoo somehow know it had already started, which may have influenced his opinion?

A trial or Congressional hearings may be too much to hope for. Berkeley, though, could do us all and itself a favor. Examining and having a public discussion about what Yoo did, and the ethics of it, would serve the purpose of an educational institution like Berkeley, far more than stretching the rationale of "academic freedom" to the point of harming it. Brad offered a good way to do this months ago, have an inquiry through the academic senate, but maybe deans are too conflict averse? I bet if it were Michael Vick whose tenure was at stake, he would have been booted long ago - who could stand to have someone like that walking their halls, sharing the faculty lounge?. But support torture of humans at the behest of powerful people...?

Berkeley Law School Dean Chris Edley appears to have ruled out an inquiry and public discussion on the part of the Law School on the theory that it would have an unwarranted "chilling effect" on academic freedom...