When is it torture

As many of you all might remember, the previous administration (apparently) wanted to smack international prisoners around in order to get answers only these little documents (called the US Constitution and the Geneva Convention), not to mention public opinion, tended to frown on it, so then President George W. Bush asked his lawyers to essentially figure out a way around it, so they got to the task of how much we could actually slap someone around before we got into trouble for doing it.

Well, the other day, Daily Show host Jon Stewart interviewed former Justice Department official John Yoo on his program about this very topic, and stated that the interview itself was “pretty unsatisfying.”

Yoo, a tenured law professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, wrote legal memos for the Justice Department approving harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects. Yoo told Stewart it was his duty to answer the administration’s questions about executive power, and confessed he had never met President George W. Bush, Main Justice reports.

Yoo said the White House’s questions weren’t “something that anybody wants to go out and answer” but the country had been attacked and there were fears of another strike. “There’s a huge demand to get this kind of intelligence from the top leaders of al-Qaida,” he told Stewart.

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A short article in the ABA Journal talks about Yoo’s appearance on The Daily Show. What is really interesting, is the reader comments that follow the article.

The Perfessor

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The Perfessor

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One thought on “When is it torture”

  1. I watched this the other night and wondered if you’d end up posting this, Perfessor. There’s a reason it’s a wacked interview — Yoo has argued a logical position well. You can joke all you want about what is torture and what is really torture, but when you’re fighting people to the death, treating people like combatants is part of that war, and this argument is what part of war torture belongs to.

    It’s a slippery slope, but when you’re dealing with people who have demonstrated the desire to kill you and every innocent person next to you, it’s more than self defense. That’s where the government comes in. It’s not pretty, but once you start dealing with it logically, choosing between two or more equally bad choices becomes clearer.

    Props to Jon for even attempting the interview. It’s a no win discussion.

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