The text of the outrageous and infamous March 2003 torture memo drafted by John Yoo, then Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, are now available here (part 1) and here (part 2). This, you may recall, is the later rescinded memorandum that defined “torture” extremely narrowly, that Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees, and that the statute criminalizing torture does not apply to the military.
Yoo is thankfully out of government. But a graceful retirement from public life at Boalt Hall is, in my view, unacceptable, Yoo ought to be impeached (there is precedent for impeaching former government officials). His c.v. does not indicate whether is actually admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction, but if he is, he ought to be disbarred for serving as the President’s enabler, providing a veneer of legality for practices that any decent person, let alone any decent lawyer, had a duty to inform his client were illegal. Frankly, he ought to be prosecuted as a war criminal, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld holding that Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions did indeed apply to detainees.
I’m not usually given to strong language, but in my opinion John Yoo will go down in history as one of the great villains of the post-9/11 world, someone who did more to discredit the United States in the eyes of the world than almost anyone else. When given an opportunity few lawyers get in their professional lives–the opportunity to take a courageous stand against an overweening client intent on an obviously illegal course of action–Yoo snapped to attention and said, “Yes, Sir!”