After everything from the war in Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, I’m not sure why I even allow myself to be surprised by any hypocritical information about Bush administration cronies.
I studied John Yoo’s unitary executive theory at college for my constitutional law classes…I’ve known for a while now that, despite all his Ivy League schooling, he does not seem to have a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. Constitution (or, even worse, he does and he just chooses to ignore it). I haven’t been surprised to see his name come out as one of the primary authors of the torture memos.
Mr. Yoo blatantly flouted the Constitution to get more powers for President Bush, for a war based on lies, and buried what essentially boiled down to a ‘torture can be legal, sometimes, as long as it’s not done on Americans’ argument underneath mountains of legalese, justifying the types of torture for which we executed Japanese soldiers after WWII. So I’m pretty damn surprised to find out that the same Mr. Yoo once argued that President Clinton was subverting the Constitution in order to stop an investigation into the Lewinsky scandal. Whether Clinton was or not is irrelevant: it’s the fact that in March 1998, Yoo was outraged about “a privileged executive” in this Wall Street Journal article, and just a few years later, he was arguing for an unprecedented expansion of presidential powers and disregard of national and international laws.
Or, as the authors of this glorious post write, “Notably, while Yoo has argued that he and President Bush has the right to violate as many 200 year old liberties as they please without answering to the American people, he has vocally and publicly argued the exact opposite in regards to Bill Clinton getting a beej.”
Nonetheless, Clinton opponents and supporters alike must question the president’s decision to risk the authority and prestige of the presidency on such weak claims, which will only undermine the ability of future chief executives to act secretly when the national interest demands it.
Reading this, maybe he honestly believes that everything he did during the Bush administration was for the sake of national security. It’s a bit of a stretch, seeing as how most people knew Colin Powell’s now-infamous dramatic speech to the U.N. building the case for the war in Iraq was full of falsified/exaggerated evidence at the time…and considering how apparent the lack of WMDs became soon after the March 2003 invasion…and given that certain detainees were waterboarded 266 times without yielding useful information…okay, actually, nevermind, I have no idea how he could honestly believe he was acting in the name of national security.
And then there’s this:
A decision to invoke executive privilege in this case would be yet another example of the Clinton administration’s failure to understand the distinction between the office of the president and the person who happens to be the president. In democracies, we distinguish between a public office and the person who holds that office; people for whom the office and the person are one and the same are called kings.
Clinton had an imperial presidency? That’s Bush’s legacy. Cheney himself (albeit in 1987) called the invocation of executive privilege a “monarchical notion.” But somehow, Yoo criticized Clinton and deemed it fit to justify Bush/Cheney’s many unconstitutional actions. (Not just torture, but warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention without trial.)
Words fail me. But the Dickipedia entry on Yoo does make me feel a little better.