Monday, March 26, 2007


The NewsHour with Judy Woodruff had a debate tonight between John Yoo and Neal Katyal on the rationale behind the detention center at Guantanamo. Katyal was incisive, insightful, illuminating. Yoo was defensive and meandering. Scorecard: Katyal 10, Yoo 3. Katyal argued that the suspension of the protections of the Constitution was and is the main purpose of Guantanamo. Yoo's defense was that war justifies removal of the Great Writ and other constitutional guarantees. The same John Yoo who supported the Department of Justice in allowing harsh interrogation techniques and gave "legal"cover to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in using methods short of organ failure to extract "useful" information from suspects. Here is the John Yoo/DOJ definition of "torture" :

"Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture (under U.S. law), it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years. . . . We conclude that the statute, taken as a whole, makes plain that it prohibits only extreme acts.''

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