Thursday, February 17, 2005

It Should Happen to Yoo 

We have not had much to say about Ward Churchill, whose name we had never heard until we learned that it was incumbent upon us, and all lefty bloggers, to denounce him in the strongest possible terms because he had some years ago published an obscure but reportedly quite intemperate essay on 9/11. The indispensible David Neiwert of Orcinus finds the "repulsive views" of Churchill (who turns out to be a Native American, and something of a hard sell on the notion of American exceptionalism) quite worthy of denunciation, but saves a few unflattering words for his legions of right-wing detractors, who have kept busy the last few weeks trying to drive him out of academe. Of special interest: Neiwert's (long) list of neoconfederates, racists, and holocaust deniers who continue to hold comfy tenured positions without a peep of protest from the right. Which proves, we guess, that academic freedom -- like a woman -- is a sometime thing.

Meanwhile, our learned colleague Roger Gathman of Limited, Inc. wonders why, given the nationwide chorus of howls for Churchill's head, there are no organized protests at Cal Berkeley demanding the immediate dismissal of law professor John C. Yoo. From the recent New Yorker article "Outsourcing Torture":
Yoo also argued that the Constitution granted the President plenary powers to override the U.N. Convention Against Torture when he is acting in the nation’s defense—a position that has drawn dissent from many scholars. As Yoo saw it, Congress doesn’t have the power to “tie the President’s hands in regard to torture as an interrogation technique.” He continued, “It’s the core of the Commander-in-Chief function. They can’t prevent the President from ordering torture.” If the President were to abuse his powers as Commander-in-Chief, Yoo said, the constitutional remedy was impeachment. He went on to suggest that President Bush’s victory in the 2004 election, along with the relatively mild challenge to Gonzales mounted by the Democrats in Congress, was “proof that the debate is over.” He said, “The issue is dying out. The public has had its referendum.”
Gathman: "What was that phrase about little Eichmanns that is being bandied about?"

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