UC Berkeley tenured law professor John Yoo epitomizes the
failure of the conservative movement in America. Known as "the
torture professor," Yoo penned the Department of Justice [sic] memos
that gave a blank check to sadistic Americans to torture detainees at
Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
The human rights violations that John Yoo sanctioned
destroyed America�s reputation and exposed the Bush Regime as more inhumane
than the alleged Muslim terrorists. The acts that Yoo justified are felonies
under US law and war crimes under the Nuremberg standard.
Yoo�s torture memos are so devoid of legal basis that his
close friend and fellow conservative member of the Federalist Society, Jack
the memos when he was appointed head of the Justice Department�s Office of
Yoo�s extremely shoddy legal work and the fervor with which
he served the evil intentions of the Bush Regime have led to calls from
distinguished legal scholars for Yoo�s dismissal from Berkeley�s Boalt Hall.
I sympathize with the calls for Yoo�s dismissal. In the new
edition of The Tyranny of Good Intentions, my coauthor and I write: "Liberty has no future in America
if law schools provide legitimacy to those who would subvert the US
However, John Yoo is but the tip of the iceberg.
Scapegoating Yoo diverts attention from a neoconservative
movement that has become the greatest enemy of the US Constitution.
In theory conservatives adore the Constitution and seek to
protect it with appeals to "original intent." In practice
conservatives hate the Constitution as the protector of homosexuals and
abortionists. Conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals
and terrorists. They see the First Amendment as a foolish protection for
sedition. The neoconservative magazine, Commentary, has called for the New York
Times to be prosecuted for informing Americans that President Bush was
illegally spying on them without warrants.
The conservative assault on the US Constitution is deeply
entrenched. The Federalist Society, an
organization of Republican attorneys from which the Republican Party chooses
its Justice Department appointees and nominees to the federal bench, was
organized as an assault on the checks and balances in the Constitution.
The battle cry of the Federalist Society is "energy in the executive."
The society has its origin in Republican frustrations from the days when
Republicans had a "lock on the presidency," but had their agenda
blocked by a Democratic Congress. The Federalist Society set about producing
rationales for elevating the powers of the executive in order to evade the
checks and balances the Founding Fathers wrote into the political system.
With the Bush Regime we have seen President Nixon�s claim
that "it�s not illegal if the President does it" carried to new
heights. With the complicity of Democrats, Bush and Cheney have appointed
attorneys general who have elevated the presidency above the law.
Just as liberals used judicial activism in the federal courts
to achieve their agenda, the conservatives are using the Department of Justice
to concentrate power in the executive branch in order to achieve their agenda.
In America, the Constitution has no friends. It is always in the way of one
agenda or the other and, thus, always under threat.
For now, however, the threat is from the right.
Conservatives have confused loyalty to country, which is loyalty to the
Constitution, with loyalty to the Bush Regime. It is purely a partisan loyalty
based in emotion -- "you are with us or against us."
When I was a young man, conservatives were frustrated that
facts, reason and analysis could not penetrate liberal emotion. Today facts,
reason and analysis cannot penetrate conservative emotions. When I write a
factual column describing how we have been deceived into wars that are clearly
not in our interest, self-described conservatives indignantly write to me:
"If you hate America so much, why don�t you move to Cuba!"
Conservatives have become so intellectually pathetic that they regard my
defense of civil liberties as an anti-American act.
Today�s conservatives are so poorly informed that they
cannot understand that to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.
John Yoo was a willing accomplice of inhumane and illegal
acts. But his greatest crime is that he was a willing participant in the Bush
Regime�s assault on the Constitution, which protects us all. If Yoo is to be
held accountable, what about George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and his aides,
attorneys general Gonzales and Mukasey, Yoo�s Justice Department boss, now
federal Judge Bybee; Rumsfeld, Rice, Hadley, and the legion of neocon
brownshirts that comprise the regime�s subcabinet? Is Yoo any more culpable
than anyone else who served the corrupt, evil, and anti-American Bush Regime?
The ease with which the Bush Regime has run roughshod over
the law and Constitution indicates that the brownshirt mentality to which many
Americans have succumbed has sufficient attractive power to cause a professor
from one of the country�s great liberal institutions to serve the cause of
tyranny. The conservative movement has produced a cadre of brownshirts that
might yet succeed in destroying the American Constitution.
Craig Roberts [email him] was
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan�s first term. He
was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic
and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by
French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side
Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation
and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown:
Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton
Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the
Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter
Brimelow�s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of