By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2008, 2:11pm PT  

Is this your America?

The long saught DoJ "Torture Memo" written by John Yoo, offering a defense to George W. Bush and his sadistic friends to order the torture, and even killing, of detainees, has finally been made available. Not by the DoJ to Congress as they'd long sought, but to the ACLU via a FOIA request. (Thank you, ACLU!)

Yoo's document is some 80 pages long, offering what he feels --- or what the Administration wanted him to feel --- is a reasonable legal defense for the use of torture, even where it is explicitly disallowed by international treaties to which the U.S. has signed on.

Paul Kiel at TPMMuckraker, who offers his own summary on all of this, has posted one of the more remarkable sections here.

In short, that 7-page section amounts to:

  • If Congress hasn't very specifically outlawed it, the Commander-in-Chief has the "Constitutional authority" to do it.
  • The arguments of "Self-Defense" and "Necessity" for the use of torture, or homicide, to thwart an attack "reasonably believed" to be imminent, are a good enough defense to go ahead with such actions as the perpetrator deems necessary.
  • 9/11 justifies anything and everything a President wishes to do. Forever.

All of this was in play while the Administration was intentionally lying and misleading the public and Congress by claiming "it is the policy of the United States to comply with all its legal obligations in its treatment of detainees."

I feel dirty having read this document. I did not choose these people to make decisions on my behalf. Neither did the majority of Americans. Congress must immediately assert its authority to change the course that the madmen running this country have set us on. Impeachment and War Crimes trials come to mind. I believe they will do next to nothing instead.

More from Keil at TPMMuck who has been on this all day, in response to release of the Yoo Memo and law professor Phillippe Sands' report at Vanity Fair on the creation of Gitmo, the approval of torture policies, and justifications for ignoring international law and the Geneva Conventions...

January 20, 2009 offers what seems to be the only possible light at the end of the tunnel right now, if we are able to make it that far beyond what will undoubtedly be regarded by the world --- along with slavery and the McCarthy years --- as one of the most shameful and darkest periods in American history.