There is growing speculation that the Office of Professional Responsibility will recommend the disbarment of Professor John Yoo who currently teaches at Berkeley law school. The release of new memoranda from the Justice Department has increased calls for disciplinary action. The memoranda concludes that the President can (1) use military forces domestically to deal with any individuals President Bush considers a terrorist threat, (2) suspend free press and free speech rights, (3) arrest citizens without legal process or access to the courts, and (4) a variety of other tyrannical measures. I discussed the memoranda on this segment of Countdown.
A call for disbarment by OPR would be an extraordinary act. Yoo is facing growing opposition at his law school and there is even a website committed to his removal.
What is most disturbing is the contemporary effort to avoid a criminal investigation of war crimes in favor of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There is, of course, nothing to “reconcile.” We are not some new nation emerging from civil war or dictatorship. We are a nation of laws. Bush officials have already confirmed the acts of torture and we are obligated by treaty to prosecute such war crimes. Whether Yoo is disbar pales in comparison to the need to comply with our moral and legal obligation to prosecute any acts of torture. Otherwise, President Obama’s repeated statements of “no one being about the law” will appear a pretty cynical spin designed to give the appearance of actions while evading our collective international obligations.
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