Torture Architect John Yoo Gets Monthly Column in Philly Inquirer

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Um, wha?

John Yoo has written freelance commentaries for The Inquirer since 2005, however he entered into a contract to write a monthly column in late 2008. I won’t discuss the compensation of anyone who writes for us. Of course, we know more about Mr. Yoo’s actions in the Justice Department now than we did at the time we contracted him. But we did not blindly enter into our agreement. He’s a Philadelphian, and very knowledgeable about the legal subjects he discusses in his commentaries. Our readers have been able to get directly from Mr. Yoo his thoughts on a number of subjects concerning law and the courts, including measures taken by the White House post-9/11. That has promoted further discourse, which is the objective of newspaper commentary.

Will Bunch nails it:

No personal disrespect toward Harold Jackson (a well-regarded colleague with whom I’ve crossed career paths in two far-flung cities, with many mutual friends) but I could not disagree more. None of this is a good enough justification for awarding a column to America’s top defender of such a serious human rights violation as torture — certainly not the fact that he’s now a celebrated Philadelphian (so is disgraced state Sen. Vince Fumo, who could be handed a political column based on this kind of rationale). Sure, his warped viewpoint that the president of our once-proud democracy can assume virtually dictatorial powers is controversial enough to “promote further discourse” (so did George Will’s recent blatantly misleading column on climate change) but that alone hardly makes something worth publishing.

But while promoting public discourse is a goal of newspaper commentary, it should not be the main objective. The higher calling for an American newspaper should be promoting and maintaining our sometimes fragile democracy, the very thing that Yoo and his band of torture advocates very nearly shredded in a few short years. Quite simply, by handing Yoo a regularly scheduled platform for his viewpoint, the Inquirer is telling its readers that Yoo’s ideas — especially that torture is not a crime against the very essence of America — are acceptable.

Hmm, I wonder if Charles Manson is too busy carving swastikas into his forehead to phone in 500 words a month, too? In the interest of “promoting further discourse,” natch. I hear he’s also really knowledgeable about legal subjects.


h/t Sarah via tweet

Update: more from Sarah, who suggests that the Inky hire another celebrated Philadelphian to provide further discourse (and a counterpoint to  that whiny fuckhelmet Michael Smerconish.)

4 Responses to “Torture Architect John Yoo Gets Monthly Column in Philly Inquirer”

  1. Kathy says:

    How did Sarah get her tweet to look like that? I mean, just one tweet on the page? I’ve seen others with their tweets set up like that, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it. There doesn’t seem to be any option for it in Preferences.

  2. matttbastard says:

    At the bottom of every tweet is a time stamp (eg, ‘1 minute ago from Tweetie’). Click on the ‘1 minute’ part and it will link to the single message only. 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    Thank you, Mattt!!

  4. Jack Jodell says:

    John Yoo, like most of the administration he served, should be tried, convicted, and hung in Baghdad Square for war crimes. Outside of being a shoddy lawyer, this man is immoral and repulsive and must be brought to justice.

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