We salute Yoo, Mr. Torture

Let’s welcome the former deputy assistant attorney general of the United States.

Today we salute you, Mr. “The CIA is Too Good for the Geneva Convention Man.” Welcome to the University. While the president of the United States claims the U.S. military does not engage in torture practices, nor would he ever authorize their use, you managed to write legal briefs trying to claim that the CIA is, in fact, legally exempt from those restrictions. And even though our country condemns all other nations that use such interrogation methods, you apparently think they’re OK as long as we’re the one using them.

The real man of genius here, the “Yoo” being saluted, is none other than John Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general and author of documents sometimes referred to as the “torture memos,” which are being used to argue that the CIA should be exempt from measures prohibiting the United States from torturing overseas detainees. Yoo, who now teaches at the University of California-Berkeley, will be visiting the Law School this evening for a debate hosted by the school’s Federalist Society of Law and Public Policy Studies, and several groups are not happy he is coming to town.

At 7 p.m. at the Law School, the Babylon Collective, a nonprofit organization aiming to use visual and performing arts to effect social change, will hold a street theater performance to protest Yoo’s visit and the memos he wrote promoting torture practices. Such performances are a unique way of expressing a popular opinion: Torture is not acceptable in any way, shape or form, and President George W. Bush should be ashamed he is standing by while his underlings fight for what is truly wrong.

So crack open a nice cold bottle of Evian bottled water, Mr. “It’s Not My Fault, I Just Wrote the Legal Briefs,” and remember what makes this country great: the freedom and prosperity that let you buy that overpriced water, and the knowledge that that freedom was won not through torturing our enemies, but through setting an example of independence and freedom for the whole world.