Like Mark, I was struck by the extreme editorializing and spinning in the Wash Post story on John Yoo this morning. Is it possible the reporter and his editors are unaware of the recent Chicago Times op-ed by John Schmidt, an associate attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department, stating clearly that the Bush administration’s understanding of the law relating to warrantless searches is identical with that of the Clinton administration – and previous presidents going back to Jimmy Carter?
One other gross error in the piece: The reporter asserts that Yoo “redefined torture.” Not at all. The redefining is what is taking place now. Suddenly, “stress and duress” techniques that were never considered torture in the past – psychological and physical methods that CIA interrogators formerly studied, experienced themselves and mastered – are now “degrading” and/or “tantamount to torture” and to be prohibited for the first time under the McCain Amendment. (Prohibited for us, that is; our enemies will still be able to do whatever they want.)
Surely, no one with a byline is so ignorant of history as to believe that enemy combatants captured out of uniform in the past (e.g. WW2, Vietnam and Korea) were not coercively interrogated when they were in possession of information that, if revealed, could save lives?
Isn’t this the kind of biased reporting for which the Post hired an ombudsman? I guess we’ll see.