Yoo Regrets Not Being More ‘Polished’

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 at 11:28 am

In an interview yesterday with the Orange County Register, picked up by Jason Leopold at The Public Record, John Yoo says he doesn’t regret the substance of any of his memos written at the Office of Legal Counsel –  you know, the ones that allowed the administration to conclude that waterboarding wasn’t torture, that the Bill of Rights did not apply to military actions inside the United States, and that it’s okay to suspend free speech in wartime.

No, he just regrets that he wasn’t a little more “polished”.

“These memos I wrote were not for public consumption,” said Yoo, who’s now a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange County — I guess things got a little hot at Berkeley, where students are calling for his dismissal and prosecution. “They lack a certain polish, I think – would have been better to explain government policy rather than try to give unvarnished, straight-talk legal advice. I certainly would have done that differently.”

It’s  heartening to hear that even government officials learn from their mistakes.  Sort of.

“I think the job of a lawyer is to give a straight answer to a client,” Yoo went on to say. “One thing I sometimes worry about is that lawyers in the future in the government are going to start worrying about, ‘What are people going to think of me?’ Your client the president, or your client the justice on the Supreme Court, or your client this senator, needs to know what’s legal and not legal. And sometimes, what’s legal and not legal is not the same thing as what you can do or what you should do.”

Oddly, Yoo’s idea of a “straight answer” was a legal argument that reached back centuries to justify conduct that no reputable legal scholar, including Republicans who ended up in the Bush administration, would consider legal today.  Even Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) just slammed Yoo’s opinions, without mentioning his name, at this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing for a lawyer to worry about what people in the future will think of him.



Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 9:21 am

John Yoo is the most obtuse apologist for dictatorship I've ever seen. He has no business giving anyone legal advise.

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 9:31 am

Weren't for public consumption? Who did he think was affected? At what accredited law school does this man “teach?” The fact that he thinks that all he needs is lessons in obfuscation would be laughable were it not so scary.

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 10:26 am

Yoo deserves all the public shame heaped upon him, and he should be disbarred.

Ron Smith
Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 10:39 am

Mr. Yoo should be tried as a war criminal for his memos regarding rendition and torture. At the very least he should be disbarred and fired from his teaching position at Berkley. Any lawyer who is willing to subvert the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to give his master dictatorial powers doesn’t deserve the privilege of teaching our young men and women.

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 11:54 am

Yoo's argument that he was only giving legal advice to a client; this somehow exonerating him from fault, is simply not the law. It has been long held that a lawyer does not have free license to counsel a client to commit illegal acts. According to virtually every constitutional scholar, Yoo's sui generis interpretation of the Constitution was so bizarre, so incompatible with established law and historical tradition as to constitute a willful perversion and corruption of our most important legal document. Yoo is really left with only two explanations: either he was consciously giving illegal advice or his Constitutional competency is so bereft of skill and comprehension as to render him incompetent to practice law. If we are to learn anything from Nuhrenburg, it is the culpability of lawyers who enable war crimes. That Loo is a war criminal of the first order seems rationally undeniable. Whether he is prosecuted for his crimes is another thing again. History in general and Nuhrenburg specifically, has taught us that only the war criminals on the losing side are typically prosecuted. The question is, what is the losing side?

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

J. Yoo = War Criminal

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

Good Lord, man — your client in America is the Constitution — you know the amendments, free speech, freedom of the press, etc., and those that paid your salary — the AMERICAN PEOPLE! Get a grip. What the hell went on these last 8 years?

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

Good – he can think about his transgressions in jail.

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

“Not for public consumption”??? So, it's okay to create a piece of crap and hand it to the President?? Since when?

Yoo expresses mild regret on not being more "polished" in his memos « Later On
Pingback posted March 4, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

[...] in Bush Administration, GOP, Government, Law at 11:43 am by LeisureGuy Not nearly enough, Yoo. Daphne Eviatar has the story in the Washington Independent: In an interview yesterday with the Orange County Register, picked up [...]

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

Everything they did was based on 9/11. The shredding of our Constitution and our basic rights. The fake wars. The deaths of over a million Iraq citizens. The death and disabling of thousands and thousands of our brave soldiers. The torture. The hundreds of billions of our tax dollars transfered to their own corporate war machine or “lost” through fraud. Their endless lies. And let's not forget that steel frame buildings can not and do not just collapse at free fall speed into their own footprints (THE PATH OF MOST RESISTANCE), because that's impossible without a whole lot of preparation!

Comment posted March 4, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

What a fat porker he is! He'll be very popular in prison.

Comment posted March 5, 2009 @ 10:43 am

When the War on Terror was declared, I had an awesome idea for a Tshirt line that would have challenged some of the basic tenets of that policy, but even in the early days, I was worried that such a public display against the seated government would end up with me being spied upon, harassed, publicly humiliated, or even jailed… and that was in 2001. The fact that no one saw any of this coming shocked me, as it seemed fairly clear that the Bush Administration was willing to utilize SHOCK DOCTRINE to get whatever IT wanted, regardless of the harm to America or it's people.

The current and ongoing debate that makes me chuckle the most is the 2nd Amendment / NRA crowd that are worried that Obama is going to come knocking on their doors and take their guns from their less than cold / dead hands, when in actuality, it was more likely a threat from the very administration they supported for 8 years.

Oh, the irony.

Reality Liberation Front - WordPress » An American Dictatorship
Pingback posted March 5, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

[...] his part, he regrets only one thing. In an interview he stated that he did not regret any of the contents of his memos…only that they [...]

Comment posted March 5, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

“I guess things got a little hot at Berkeley, where students are calling for his dismissal and prosecution.”

Really, Daphne? I'm a student at Berkeley Law, and I don't get that sense at all. Sure, there are a few students that think he should be fired, and perhaps even more that won't take a class with Professor Yoo due to his work in the OLC. But dismissal and prosecution? I don't think so. In fact, many students will tell you that notwithstanding what he did while at the OLC, Yoo is a terrific, approachable professor who truly cares about his students. Did you even talk to any students at Berkeley? Or did you just assume that that would be the case based on what you see coming from Code Pink and the folks running around in the orange jumpsuits?

dr wu
Comment posted March 12, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

Yoo is a horse's ass. UC Berkeley has enough zanies. Arnold S., fire the man!

dr wu
Comment posted March 12, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

Yoo is a horse's ass. UC Berkeley has enough zanies. Arnold S., fire the man!

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