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“Is John Yoo a Monster?”

torture-memo.jpgAlthough I honored Labor Day weekend quite literally this year (stupid upcoming arbitration!), I did have a little down time, which I used to catch up on some of the old magazines piling up in my kitchen. One of those was the June issue of Esquire which included a very interesting article, the title of which I stole for this entry’s title. John Yoo, for those not recognizing the name, is the former Department of Justice attorney responsible for writing the notorious torture memo — the memo that said torture is when on causes pain equal to “death or organ failure” and which has been interpreted as letting the Administration do whatever it wants to “enemy combatants” as long as they don’t kill ‘em.

The article looks into the dichotomy of Yoo:

He’s been accused of war crimes and compared to the Nazi lawyers who justified Hitler. Many good Americans would like to see him fired, shamed, even imprisoned. But in his classroom at Berkeley School of Law, John Yoo is a charming and patient teacher, popular with students and cordial to all.

Of course, it also delves into the legal policy he employed for the torture memo, as well as talking to several critics. It’s a quite interesting read — although I walked away with my thoughts about the memo being unchanged (i.e., that it’s an embarrassment to our country), I do at least see some of where Yoo was coming from in writing it.