Pick Wayne's Brain

January 30, 2010

An Unjust Finding

According to a report by Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, the two principle Bush Administration Justice Department lawyers responsible for creating the so-called “torture memos” will not be given as severe a reprimand as they deserve.

Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

If this stands up and is not overruled by Attorney General Eric Holder, then they will have gotten away with it. They will have gotten away with legalizing what the International Community has deemed illegal. They will have gotten away with committing torture. Their entire rationale for why what they did was not torture was bedcause their lawyers (Bybee and Yoo) determined what constituted torture and what didn’t, and the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, according to them, did not constitute torture. Because they said it didn’t. The fact that the techniques were developed by two professors with no expertise in the field of interrogation, and were based on SERE school techniques, and that these techniques chosen by the SERE school were chosen precisely because they were illegal, seemed to make no difference to Bybee and Yoo.

These two men belong in prison for what they have done. They certainly don’t deserve jobs as college law professors. And they sure as shit don’t deserve jobs as federal judges. Well, I say we should impeach Judge Bybee anyway. They could at kleast make sure he never holds a job in the Executive Branch again. Just charge him with General Douchebaggery.

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