The Declassified Torture Memo Says Laws Are Worthless:
It's truly hard to choose the most appalling, gut-wrenching, nutsack-twisting passage of the declassified 2003 memo on how to get away with torture, written, mostly, by pudgy wad of fuck John Yoo, a man who shouldn't be allowed to teach law to stuffed spider monkeys, let alone students at Berkeley. At least shove his ass over to Pepperdine, where "evil" is a specialty, alongside "corporate law."

For Deborah Pearlstein at Slate, it's this section early on: "Because of the secret nature of al Qaeda's operations, obtaining advance information about the identity of al Qaeda operatives and their plans may prove to be the only way to prevent direct attacks on the United States. Interrogation of captured al Qaeda operatives could provide that information; indeed, in many cases interrogation may be the only method to obtain it." You got that? It is an a priori fact that ya gotta slap the fuck out of some cave-shitting towelheads to find out what's gettin' bombed next.

Or maybe it's one of the many "Congress can go fuck itself" sections, like this doozy from page 13: "Any construction of criminal laws that regulated the President's authority as Commander in Chief to determine the interrogation and treatment of enemy combatants would raise serious constitutional questions whether Congress had intruded on the President's constitutional authority. Moreover, we do not believe that Congress enacted general criminal provisions such as the prohibitions against assault, maiming, interstate stalking, and torture pursuant to any express authority that would allow it to infringe on the President's constitutional control over the operation of the Armed Forces in wartime. In our view, Congress may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield. In fact, the general applicability of these statutes belies any argument that these statutes apply to persons under the direction of the President in the conduct of war."

You got that? Laws that Congress has passed are not applicable to the President during wartime. In other words, fuck you, Constitution; fuck you, criminal statutes. The President can run the armed forces like the desperate Don of a dying mob family trying to cling to some turf, and neither he nor anyone under his direction is culpable in any way, shape, or form.

Or maybe this one from page 40, where Yoo is justifying forms of detainee treatment; in this case, what "prolonged mental pain" might need to be in order to be prosecutable: "A defendant must specifically intend to cause prolonged mental harm for the defendant to have committed torture. It could be argued that a defendant needs to have specific intent only to commit the predicate acts that give rise to prolonged mental harm. Under that view, so long as the defendant specifically intended to, for example, threaten a victim with imminent death, he would have had sufficient mens rea for a conviction. According to this view, it would be necessary for a conviction to show only that the victim suffered prolonged mental harm, rather than that the defendant intended to cause it. We believe that this approach is contrary to the text of the statute. The statute requires that the defendant specifically intend to inflict severe mental pain or suffering." Somewhere in heaven, Jesus read that and, as is his way, puked.

There's the awesome 24 scenario on page 62: "[I]f officials had credible threat information that a U.S. city was to be the target of a large-scale terrorist attack a month from now and the detainee was in a position to have information that could lead to the thwarting of that attack, physical contact such as shoving or slapping the detainee clearly would not be disproportionate to the threat posed." Although a nail gun to the nuts? That's a gray area.

On page 80, Yoo says, "If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network. In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions." And there you have who to blame, although it's not like anyone will ever be held to account.

Reading the entire memo is suicidally depressing, with its analysis of what types of assaults are cool, of how war crimes are not being committed, of how to weasel out of treaty obligations, of how the dictionary defines certain words (really), and on and on (81 pages of it). There's also the section on how we should judge ourselves by how other countries define torture, like, oh, Israel.

The whole thing's like looking at the private blog of a particularly awful child molester detailing how this nine-year old boy he fucked was coming on to him or how the five-year old he killed was asking for a strangling with all that whimpering. You read it long enough and you put yourself into the mindset and you might think, "Well, sure, I suppose someone could think that, but then again, I'm a civilized human being and think this is nauseating bullshit that only a depraved, bugfuck insane baby fucker could understand."