Saturday, April 17, 2010

John Yoo on Justice Stevens

Interesting op ed piece in the Wall St Journal today. John Yoo, the author, is the Justice department lawyer from the Bush administration who dared to give written guidance to CIA about the difference between legitimate interrogation and torture. Yoo provided useful and clear cut guide lines as to what was legal and what was not. For this service Yoo has been vilified by democrats and his guide lines denounced as torture memos.
Yoo tells the story of way back during WWII, John Paul Stevens was a Navy intelligence officer who was in on the Yamamoto operation. American code breakers intercepted and decyphered Japanese Admiral Yamamoto's travel schedule. A squadron of P-38 fighters was dispatched to intercept Yamamoto's plane. The mission was successful, the Betty bomber carrying Yamamoto was shot down into the jungle. Yamamoto was killed in action by P-38 machine gun fire.
Sixty years later, the now Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens opined that "The targeting of a particular individual with the intent to kill him was a lot different than killing a soldier in battle and dealing with a statistic".
Wow. Stevens believes knowing the enemy's name makes some kind of difference in the morality of killing him. There is some difference between the hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers killed by Marines who didn't know their names, and a high ranking navy officer killed by Air Force pilots who did know who they were gunning for?
Far as I am concerned, killing uniformed enemy in war time, although distasteful, is necessary, legal, and moral. Certainly more moral than nuking enemy cities. That a US Supreme Court justice fails to understand this is appalling.
Could Obama nominate a replacement with better sense?

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