John Yoo
John Yoo

John Yoo, attorney with the Bush Administration will speak at UVA on March 19 at the Miller Center for Public Affairs.  Yoo was an author of the ‘torture memos’ which advised the Bush Administration that water boarding and other harsh techniques of interrogation were legal.

John Yoo was deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.  He currently has returned to teaching at the University of California at Berkeley’s law school and is promoting his book, “Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush.”

Last week after a long series of DOJ investitgations, it was determined that Yoo and other attorneys “exercised poor judgment” in formulating their legal advice to the Bush Administration.  The ruling was very controversial and polarized political factions.

Expect to see heated debate at UVA.  Various liberal groups have called Yoo a war criminal.  Thomas Jefferson’s academic village will be rocking on March 19 with this latest visitor.  I don’t expect the students to go quietly with this guest speaker.

Yoo called a war criminal in rotests in Philadelphia
Yoo called a war criminal in rotests in Philadelphia

10 Thoughts to “Water-board Attorney to Visit UVA”

  1. Visitor

    John Yoo is a very smart guy and can hold his own in any debate. The clip where he clobbers Jon Stewart on the Daily Show is classic. Even Stewart admitted later than Yoo got him in the interview. People should actually listen to Yoo before throwing around words like war criminal.–exclusive—john-yoo-extended-interview-pt–1

  2. I wouldn’t say he ‘clobbered’ Stewart but he was informative. Stewart, after all, is a comedian, not a serious commentator. Certainly Yoo presented a side of this debate that people don’t immediately grasp.

    Hopefully he will give UVA a good work out. I assume there will be demonstrations on both sides of this issue.

    You don’t have to go that far though….Elena and I can usually put on a fair to middling show right here on

    Thanks for the links.

  3. PWC Taxpayer

    The Los Angeles Times (3/3, reports, “Nine top political appointees at the Obama Department of Justice previously worked as attorneys or advocates for enemy combatants confined at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prompting new questions about the integrity of the administration’s handling of the detainees.” The Justice Department “insists that the officials have not involved themselves in matters dealing with enemy combatants,” but the department “has revealed the names of only two of the nine appointees, making it difficult to independently assess the department’s claim.” The Times notes, “These kinds of backgrounds and connections ‘raise serious questions about who is providing advice on detainee matters. I suspect it might influence the Administration’s report about Yoo’s “poor” legal judgement too. I am feeling much safer now thank-you.

  4. PWC Taxpayer

    Jimmy Kimmel:

    “‘People’ magazine has confirmed that former President Clinton called Tiger Woods to offer his support during the ordeal. For real. They have things in common, I guess.” “It’s a nice thing to do, a nice gesture between two, you know, kindred spirits. It actually reminds me of the time President Bush called Homer Simpson after Homer stapled his face to a doughnut.” I don’t know which conversation I would rather hear, Bill and Tiger or Elin and Hillary on the phone together.”

    Now, that would be waterboarding that I want to be there for.

  5. I have such mixed feelings on this topic. I don’t think there is one answer.

  6. Moon, now THAT is a very good comment. It is, if no other topic is, a subject of nuance. My only hope, slight though that is, that the students actually allow Yoo to speak without disruption.

  7. I think they very much need to listen to him, Cargosquid. People always expect simple answers to such complex questions.

    Unfortunately, college students being what they are by definition, will probably not listen and will have to exercise their 1st amendment rights…and not hear a word.

    I always want to have harsher interrogation means as a safety net…not for routine purposes but when it really counts….I don’t want laws saying we can’t do all we can do to get vital information that saves lives.

  8. Gainesville Resident

    I’m a little tired of people using the term “war criminal” to describe someone who in some way was involved in policy making involving waterboarding. It’s a far more complex topic than the press makes it out to be, and it’s really sad when people (or the press mainly) toss about the term “war criminal” in describing people who really were looking out for this country’s security.

    There’s some members of the press that probably are criminals in their own right, or they wouldn’t like themselves described as some type of criminal. Of course, it sells newspapers or makes for good TV ratings, so that term is bandied about far more than it should be.

  9. @Moon-howler
    I am surprised at your position. I did not expect that. That is my take on the idea of “harsher interrogation.” I also reserve that citizens of the US have different rights than an illegal combatant captured in the course of operations.

    I am a believer of the old standard of “outlaw.” Some people are outside the law and should be treated as scum should be. This is a different kind of war. If the Allies could firebomb Dresden to win WWII, I think that waterboarding KSM to help win this one is not so bad……

  10. Cargosquid, that’s the problem with moderates. They are all over the political spectrum.

    Here is how I feel if there was a chance we could have prevented 9-11 from happening, I would have tortured the devil to get the information that would have prevented it. Is torture a good thing? No. Does it always yield reliable information? No. Should it be used routinely? No. Is there ever a time when it is needed? Probably. And if we save Americans, I want that safety net in place.

    Are you gearing up for The Pacific? Ambrose is going to be at Barnes and Noble at Tysons that week also. I can’t wait to see the miniseries! I have a thread ready but it is too early.

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