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article imageJohn Yoo calls U.S. strike on Iran an 'unavoidable challenge'

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 9, 2012 in Politics
Washington - John Yoo, the former Justice Department official famous for drafting a memo advising President Bush on the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," is now calling on GOP presidential contenders to prepare "the case for a military strike" on Iran.
Writing in the National Review, Yoo said current Republican presidential candidates “must begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.” He noted President Obama has been reluctant in dealing with the issue, therefore the confrontation must be initiated by others.
Saying Obama has delayed “the inevitable day of reckoning with Iran,” Yoo also stated the president has left the American public uninformed about the extent and possible consequences of a military strike. Yoo wrote such a strike “must be serious and sustained enough to destroy complex, protected, and dispersed facilities.”
Yoo’s Interrogation Opinion of August 2002 is now widely accepted as the Torture Memos and he has become the target of much fierce criticism since it was discovered the U.S. government is involved in torture of prison detainees in its War on Terror.
When asked if waterboarding violated the convention against torture, in testimony before Congress, Yoo stated, “One of the problems is that the convention against torture is interpreted different ways by different countries.”
Yoo continued with his defense of the use of torture, when Rep. Beill Delahunt (D-Mass.) asked “if it was used by an enemy, because we consider that it did not constitute torture, then the enemy that utilized that on American military personnel would not be in violation of the convention against torture?” Yoo’s answer, “It would depend on the circumstances.”
Yoo has taught law at the University of California Berkeley since leaving the Bush administration and has been the target of much criticism there, as well.
The UC Berkeley campus has held “Say No to Torture” protests, in response to evidence revealing the U.S. government does indeed torture prison detainees. At the 2010 protest, Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist whose son was killed in the Iraq war, said of Yoo, “We're gathered here tonight to have a debate with the image of human slime. John Yoo bragged about the 183 times that Khaled Sheik Mohammed was waterboarded, but admitted he would give up his own grandmother - as would we all. John Yoo's defenders are the Obama administration, the media and the apathy and ignorance of the American people,” according to the Fire John Yoo! website.
The protests and speeches also pointed out Yoo’s legal interpretation of presidential authority. In a 2005 debate with Doug Cassel, law professor at the University of Notre Dame, Yoo held there is no treaty stopping the president if he “deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of a person’s child,” according to Daily Kos.
In his call for an attack on Iran, Yoo suggested bypassing the United Nations Charter, which prohibits countries from using force except for self-defense, claiming the UN “lacks political legitimacy.”
In his National Review essay, Yoo added even if Iran did not have nuclear weapon capabilities, it “has fomented conflict in the region, supported groups hostile to Israel through its client state Syria, supported terrorists who target American allies such as Saudi Arabia, and attacked American troops in Iraq.”
In closing, Yoo added the U.S. spreads “liberal values” but noted “a nuclear-weapons infrastructure is a legitimate military target, even if some strikes may kill civilians.” He added it is the fault of Iranians for using civilians as human shields for its military, “a move long forbidden by the laws of war.”
Finally, Yoo notes an attack on Iran would “forestall the spread of conflict and terror.”
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