Earning Your Bona Fides in the Bush Bada Bing Club: Administration Officials Pushed for Yoo to Head OLC Based on His Support for Torture

Congressional hearings have revealed that John Yoo was the favored candidate to lead the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department based on a single resume item: his tolerance and support of torture. Alberto Gonzales and Cheney aide David S. Addington fought former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who submitted five names for the position that conspicuously omitted Yoo’s name.

The confrontation in 2003 resulted in a different candidate — Jack Goldsmith — being put into the position as a compromise. The vacancy was produced by the departure of Office of Legal Counsel chief Jay S. Bybee for the courts as a new federal judge. While Ashcroft submitted a list of qualified candidates including Paul Clement (who became solicitor general), the White House wanted someone who was torture-certified. It is an insight into how important the torture program was to the White House.

Once the torture program was revealed, the White House and military repeatedly defended itself by insisting that lawyers had reviewed the program and found its clearly lawful. Many scoffed at the notion — given the ability of the Bush Administration to hand pick such lawyers (who proved to be wrong repeatedly on these questions). Now, we have an insight into the lengths to which the Administration would go to guarantee the “right” lawyers reviewed such questions. It is also another ignoble moment for Yoo, whose supporters have insisted that he has more to his background than simply torture. Not according to the White House, it appears. It was Yoo’s willingness to sign off on torture that made him a viable candidate for Bush and Cheney zealots.

This seems to fall into a pattern of earning your bones (or your bona fides) in the Baba Bing! Bush Club.

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38 thoughts on “Earning Your Bona Fides in the Bush Bada Bing Club: Administration Officials Pushed for Yoo to Head OLC Based on His Support for Torture”

  1. Jill
    1, July 18, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Did C. Hitchens have himself waterboarded?

    He sure did. In fact he wrote an entire article that came out in I believe the May edition of Vanity Fair.

    In the article, Hitchens, a former proponent of waterboarding, now declares, having experienced it firsthand, “YES, IT’S TORTURE”.

    He also admits that in his experience, he always knew it was a faux experience, that is, it was no where near as severe as when its done to prisoners, who don’t have a “safe word” or a “dead-mans lever” (his hand holds an object, and if he drops it, it means he’s essentially dying and can’t speak) that will save them when it gets too intense.

    Hitchen did have these safety’s and he still paniced, and immediately asked for it to stop.

    He declared it was unequivocally torture, and thus, one of the strongest, most (and possibly only)articulate and educated proponent of the Bush administrations program of torture, now is one of its opponents.

    He was lost, but having been baptized himself, is now found.

  2. Jill,
    The war in Iraq is fraud. It is intentional and that is one of the reasons why we are in Iraq is for the money for Bush and his corporate sponosrs.


    Did C. Hitchens have himself waterboarded? I wish every advocate would do that before they speak about how it’s no bid deal.

    I do have a criticism. There’s too much classism in this nation. Ignorant opinions don’t have a class or education level. They aren’t located by address. As much as I do not like PANCers they are some of the most well educated people in America. Yoo is teaching at a prestigious university. Classism hides the reality that educated people believe/spout and act on some very destructive lies.

    White Trash and Proud!


  4. And of course, your percentage figures are clearly fabricated.

    85 percent of perhaps, “Inbreedia USA” might have responded that way, but I doubt a wide sampling poll returned those figures.

    Unless you are polling only America’s Trailer Parks with this question, I think you’ll find the majority of Ameircans are not ok with being “kept safe” by the Gestapo.

  5. The “official lie” about waterboarding, Hitchens says, is that it “simulates the feeling of drowning”. In fact, “you are drowning – or rather, being drowned”.

    Christopher Hitchens

  6. dundar
    1, July 18, 2008 at 8:22 am
    The problem is your definition of “torture” doesn’t fit with what the vast majority of Americans, maybe 85%, would call torture

    Waterboard 85 percent of them, and watch that number do a 180.


    Worked for Chris Hitchens.

  7. 10/4 on that one rafflaw.

    To the lawyers:

    Really haven’t we been defrauded financially by this govt.? I don’t mean to be crass but money gets people’s attention. A lot of people are angry about the trillion or so being dumped into a deliberately/knowingingly false investment (war). Isn’t that a kind of investment fraud? The govt. is cracking down on those people of late. May we sue?

  8. Mespo,
    I like that term,”Dundar’s Law”. It sounds so scientific.
    Jill and Josh,
    The reason we haven’t been told of the information that allegedly saved lives is that there isn’t any. The Bush felons would have leaked that years ago to try to get some political traction if it really existed.

  9. Josh,

    I was thinking the same thing. What we know for certain is that engaging in torture has radicalized people to kill our soldiers.

  10. Dundar,

    Exactly which false confession elicited from “harsh interrogation” (torture) saved an Americans life?

  11. As citizens whose laws have been broken and who have definitely been effected by the results of those laws having been broken, may we not join in a class action civil suit against cheney/bush and their high paid minions? We were lied into a war and so many of our people have died and become disabled (not to mention the hell in other countries). May we not seek personal damages for having to pay in lives and money for a deliberate lie?


    I like the name for your show. I just saw a VA driver with the license place: X TY C. He was driving a BMW. I sure hope that guys a cop! If he’s not, he will be aquainted with many cops in his driving career.


    I too wonder why a prestigious university keeps on a 5th rate legal mind who happens to be a war criminal.


  12. rafflaw:

    dundar’s “law” comes from the jungle where might makes right. He’s just another panty waist Machiavellian trying to promote and justify his ideological buddies’ grab for power.

  13. RCampbell and Mespo,
    How right you both are. Dundar as usual, doesn’t understand that until you change the law, you can’t violate the law without being subject to the punishment. I know he is used to George doing whatever he pleases under the imaginary Unitary Executive theory that Cheney and people like Yoo tried to advance. So it will take Dundar a little time to adjust to the reality of the rule of law.

  14. This isn’t a “majority rules” issue, dundar. It’s a matter of the law and of integrity. If we could randomly apply that concept whenever it suited the need, we could have been rid of the baffoon in the White House a long time ago given that about 85% deem his performance a dismal failure.

    For members of a political party that professes to believe in strict interpretation of the Constitution and used to be known as the “law and order” party, folks on the right are willing to play pretty fast and loose with the laws of the land. The US is a signatory to multiple international agreements and treaties that specifically prohibit much of the torture activities employed. There are also US laws banning such tactics.

    I am reminded that a definition of integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. Following this issue and watching the mental gymnastics the administration has used to stonewall and parse words exposes their complete lack of integrity and a deep seated contempt for America’s rule of law from the top down. It’s an embarrassing display of anti-American facsist behavior and any one who loves America should be ashamed to try to defend or justify it.

    Why do Republicans hate America so?

  15. dundar:

    “The problem is your definition of “torture” doesn’t fit with what the vast majority of Americans, maybe 85%, would call torture. Nor does 85% of America view harsh interrogation that may result in saving American lives wrong.”

    Maybe 85%, maybe 19%, what’s the difference? Thank you for the totally unsupported polling “facts.” I suppose you polled persons who “think” as you do. Regardless of misguided opinions, the law is clear, and that’s why Bush wanted a “yes man” to fill the top job. When you can pick the referee, getting the result you want is no problem, and it allows you some cover for your crimes. This is the most unethical group of thugs I have ever seen, and I reserve much of my contempt for shills like John Yoo and David Addington, who knew better, and played along for profit. Throw “Judge” Bybee in there too.

  16. The problem is your definition of “torture” doesn’t fit with what the vast majority of Americans, maybe 85%, would call torture. Nor does 85% of America view harsh interrogation that may result in saving American lives wrong.

  17. I always knew that Mr. Yoo was specially qualified for this position. The only thing I don’t get is how a prestigious university Law School could retain this guy as a law professor. I am talking about his political views. I am talking about his insane logic in trying to claim torture is legal and somewhere the Constitution allows the President to overturn laws just because he is the President during “wartime”.

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