A View From The Handbasket

Monday, September 18, 2006
John Yoo speaks ignorance to the serfs
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:50 PM
One of the primary architect's of the Bush administration's hatred of the Constitution, John Yoo, published an op-ed in the New York Times explaining to us all why we need to redefine the powers of th executive branch in order to protect us from the Islamofascinazicommuextremoevilist hordes. Here's a list of things he finds to praise about the Bush regime:

It has re-classified national security information made public in earlier administrations and declined, citing executive privilege, to disclose information to Congress or the courts about its energy policy task force. The White House has declared that the Constitution allows the president to sidestep laws that invade his executive authority. That is why Mr. Bush has issued hundreds of signing statements -- more than any previous president -- reserving his right not to enforce unconstitutional laws.

Once again -- this is Yoo lauding the administration. He thinks this behavior is good and proper and ideal. Bush breaking laws ("sidestep" sounds so dainty) is just a valid exercise of executive power.

But even more breathtaking than that (and I've got to give Yoo credit for that feat) is this:

The changes of the 1970’s occurred largely because we had no serious national security threats to United States soil, but plenty of paranoia in the wake of Richard Nixon’s use of national security agencies to spy on political opponents.

Wow. Just... wow. Now, I'm not trying to minimize the general nefariousness of the Islamofascinazicommuextremoevilist threat, but I think I'm on pretty safe ground when I say that the absolute worst that al Qaeda could do to "United States soil" would hardly be a mosquito bite compared to the capabilities of the Soviet Union. Yoo is seriously suggesting that the national security situation during the Cold War was casual and carefree, and that's why we picked on poor Richard Nixon. Because we had nothing better to do.

And the result?

The Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act required the government to get a warrant from a special court to conduct wiretapping for national security reasons... [leading to] the wall between intelligence and law enforcement that contributed to our failure to stop the 9/11 attacks.

That's right -- FISA caused 9/11! (Bad FISA!) If only we'd just let Nixon spy on whoever he wanted for political purposes, the World Trade Center would still be standing.

The subtext here is crystal clear. Either we allow Bush to operate independently of the law (since in Yoo's fomulation the correct person to decide what laws the President should follow is the President), or we all die at the hands of the evildoers.

Any similarity of that message to the fundamental tenets of fascism are, I'm sure, purely coincidental.

Glenn Greenwald has a much more thorough examination of Yoo's completely wrongheaded op-ed available here.

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