Also, about last night....I did indeed watch the interview that torture-enabler, Inquirer op-ed columnist and Episcopal Academy alum John Yoo did with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show." And...it was what it was, which was an interview of a highly intelligent, unflappable and affable man who did some very, very bad things.
But by a comedian.
Jon Stewart -- who used to act occasionally -- decided to play the role of Everyman, wide-eyed and dumbfound by Yoo's torture explanations as well as his broader argument that the powers of the president are almost limitless during wartime, which -- since advocates insist that the "war on terror" is essentially endless and limitless itself -- all but turns an American commander-in-chief into a dictator. At one point, a baffled Stewart blurted out: "This doesn't make any sense to me."
Stewart allowed Yoo to claim the U.S. had never really considered what is and isn't torture, despite the fact that the U.S. statute against torture was very clearly violated by Yoo's recommendations and that waterboarding had been prosecuted as a crime as recently as 1983.
Stewart never confronted Yoo on the question of how the torture regime, reverse engineered from training meant to help soldiers resist torture, could possibly not be torture. Stewart never even contested the idea that torture was effective, despite the high-profile declaration of FBI Interrogator Ali Soufan that he personally extracted all of the useful information from [Abu] Zubayda prior to his being tortured.
The selling of John Yoo is made even more frustrating by the fact that in his case, there actually is the potential for some measure of accountability. More than a year ago, in the waning days of the Bush administration, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility wrapped up a report that is said to be quite damning toward Yoo and a colleague -- reportedly accusing the lawyers of "sloppy legal analysis, misjudgments and possible political interference" and recommending them for possible disbarment. Amazingly, the report has been kept under wraps by an Obama administration that seems no more motivated to hold torture criminals accountable than the administration that committed the crimes.
In a perfect world, there would be criminal investigations and charges against Yoo and the others behind the Bush torture regime. At the very least, the Justice report on Yoo must be released and disbarment proceedings must begin. Because the idea that America can handle one of the worst stains on our nation's legacy through a late-night comedy show is the biggest joke of all.