The President’s Executioner
The title of this article –The President’s Executioner –is a play on words. It refers to professor John Yoo, who teaches law at Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley. But this man –mild-mannered by all appearances –is not what he seems.
He is the man who was, more often than nearly any other, behind the White House decisions to violate the international laws of war. He was the one who told the White House how to get away with committing war crimes. While he may have been a henchman for others who instructed him to make the arguments he did, he repeatedly refused to reverse himself, both while he worked in the Department of Justice and after he left that office and returned to academia.
But it was also during this time period, as we now know, that the Department of Justice became “politicized.” Instead of executing the laws as it should have been doing, the Justice Department became an instrument of President Bush, executing his wishes. And John Yoo executed White House wishes to twist the law into something it was not and was not meant to be.
Yoo, however, did more than execute orders. The so-called “Torture Memos,” in the writing of which Yoo was an active and primary participant, opened the door to such abuse of the laws that some detainees were actually murdered. For all practical purposes, they were executed, without a trial or guilty verdict.
Thus, the President’s Executioner.