This is just hard to comprehend. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff found this little exchange in the DoJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report’s discussion of John Yoo’s August 2002 memo (.pdf) that is widely seen as one of the key legal opinions authorizing the use of torture by the Bush White House. On page page 64 of the report you get this exchange:
Q: I guess the question I’m raising is, does this particular law really affect the President’s war-making abilities ….
Yoo: Yes, certainly.
Q: What is your authority for that?
Yoo: Because this is an option that the President might use in war.
Q: What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? [….] Is that a power that the president could legally […..]
Yoo: Yeah. Although, let me say this. So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.
Q: To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?
Just hard to comprehend on so many different levels. And John Yoo is actually a law professor and has not been disbarred. I mean what exactly do you have to do these days to lose credibility?
Update: In an interview today with San Francisco radio station KQED did not back away from his previous statements and added that congress cannot stop the President from using nuclear weapons.
Look at the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [….] Could Congress tell President Truman that he couldn’t use a nuclear bomb in Japan, even though Truman thought in good faith he was saving millions of Americans and Japanese lives? [….] My only point is that the government places those decisions in the President, and if the Congress doesn’t like it they can cut off funds for it or they can impeach him.