By N.S. Palmer, Ph.D.
Surprise, surprise: Today’s New York Times reports that the U.S. Justice Department has given only a slap on the wrist to John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Bush-Cheney regime lawyers whose “torture memos” provided specious legal cover for violation of U.S. and international law.
Yoo and Bybee’s work not only tried to justify torture of prisoners. It also committed torture: against logic, human decency and — most relevant — against both statutory law and legal precedent.
Ethics lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) concluded that Yoo and Bybee had
… ignored legal precedents and provided slipshod legal advice to the White House in possible violation of international and federal laws on torture.
The OPR recommended that Yoo and Bybee be cited for “professional misconduct,” which could have led to the revocation of their licenses to practice law.
However, David Margolis, associate deputy attorney general, overruled the OPR’s recommendations, which were already far too mild. As a result, the official Justice Department report (PDF) cited the two war criminals only for “poor judgment.”
Thus, the Obama administration once again let the psychopathic monsters of the Bush-Cheney regime (starting with Bush and Cheney themselves) escape justice.
In 1947, German jurists who had provided similar legal apologetics for the Nazi regime were tried at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity, were convicted, and served long prison terms. As a result of the Justice Department’s whitewash, Yoo and Bybee won’t even suffer the loss of their law licenses.
Republicans try to frighten the uninformed by painting Obama as a wild-eyed leftist (as well as a Kenyan Socialist Muslim), but there’s no indication he’s anything but a slightly less vicious, considerably more intelligent version of his predecessor.
From his continued support for Bush-Cheney policies that benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, to his continuation of the Bush-Cheney regime’s Afghanistan occupation, to his complete lack of leadership on issues such as jobs and health care reform that would benefit working Americans, Obama is starting to look very much like “Bush-lite.”
And that is not “change we can believe in.”
Copyright 2010 by N.S. Palmer. May be reproduced as long as byline, copyright notice, and URL (http://www.ashesblog.com) are included.