John Yoo On The Groundless Padilla Lawsuit


John Yoo writes in yesterdays Philadelphia Enquirier about the pending lawsuit brought against him by one Jose Padilla:

Walk down Broad Street and you pass by a brown mansion, squeezed in between a music store and a Banana Republic. With its statues of proud soldiers in front, the Union League stands as a symbol of the sacrifices necessary to win the Civil War.

After being sued by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla, I wonder whether our nation today has the same unity and tenacity to defeat the great security challenge of our day, the rise of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. Even as our brave young soldiers fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our intelligence agents succeed in disrupting follow-ups to the 9/11 attacks, terrorists are using our own legal system as a weapon against us.

They use cases such as Padilla’s to harass the men and women in our government, force the revelation of valuable intelligence and press novel theories that have failed at the ballot box and before the president and Congress.

“Lawfare” has become another dimension of warfare.

Padilla is no innocent. Last summer a Miami jury convicted him of participating in an al-Qaeda support cell in the United States. Prosecutors now are asking the court to sentence Padilla to life in prison. The conviction did not even address his detention in 2002 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on allegations that he had returned from Afghanistan to carry out a “dirty” bomb attack on a major U.S. city. According to the Bush administration at the time, Padilla had received the green light from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks.


I worked on the legality of the decision to place Padilla in the hands of military authorities in June 2002. The 9/11 attacks on our nation’s capital and financial center, and the loss of 3,000 American lives, placed the United States at war with al-Qaeda, a fact that Padilla’s lawyers do not accept. They have always asserted that Padilla could be considered only a criminal defendant and must enjoy the benefits of the civilian criminal-justice system.

They are wrong. Both the president and Congress have agreed that the United States is at war, and Congress passed an authorization for using force against any groups, nations or people responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Capturing prisoners has been a permanent feature of war throughout human history; hundreds of thousands were detained during World War II alone. Sometimes, unfortunately, the enemy has included U.S. citizens – in the Civil War, every Confederate soldier was a citizen, and in World War II some Americans fought in the Axis armed forces. They never had a right to sue the soldiers who caught them.


Think about what it would mean if Padilla were to win. Government officials and military personnel have to devise better ways to protect the country from more deadly surprise attacks. Padilla and his lawyers want them, from the president down to lowest private, to worry about being sued when they make their decisions. Officials will worry about all of the attorneys’ fees they will rack up to defend themselves from groundless lawsuits.

If only John Yoo had been like Lynne Stewart, that darling of a terrorist lover the left loves so much, maybe this suit could of been avoided. But alas, he is not. War is a rough and tumble business, especially when thousands (maybe millions) of American lives are at stake. What would have happened if Lincoln had actually upheld the Constitution but lost the war? Would this country be a better place 150 years later? I doubt it.

Does this mean I believe the Yoo violated the Constitution, not one bit. His opinion may very well have been wrong, but it was not criminally wrong. He didn’t rub his hands together in glee with an evil laugh as he contemplated all the “torture” that would arise. That type of partisan rhetoric is nothing but BDS.

In the end this all comes down to the judicial branch of our government doing its best to regulate the prosecution of the war by criminalizing policy disagreements and to condone the precedent this suit sets will do nothing but have a chilling effect on advisors giving ANY advice to the leaders of our country. Including those who would otherwise give outstanding advice to our politicians.Not a good outcome to have.

Meanwhile we have a organization of US citizens trying its best to get a former Secretary of Defense and other military officers prosecuted by a foreign country.

Nope, no treason there.


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At war with who?

A country cannot be at war with a concept or tactic. A country can be at war with a person, country or group.

During the cold war, the US was at war with the Soviet Union and (at times) China. The tactic included the Communist ideology. However, when the Soviet Union collapsed after its adventure in Afghanistan, the “threat” of worldwide Communism went away (despite what the John Birch Society’s remnants still say).

We cannot be at war with “Islamofacism”. That is a catch phrase. We are at war with al Qaeda, which has safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan from which it sends out envoys to countries as diverse as Iraq to Indonesia. Fighting, and even winning, a skirmish against “al Qaeda in Iraq” will not make the slightest dent inal Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan, particularly if the Pakistani government becomes as hollow as that of Afghanistan.

Discussions of an endless war against a tactic or concept makes for the kind of world George Orwell described in 1984, where the Government (personified in Big Brother) could invoke endless “wartime” power, knowing that a tactic cannot be defeated.

Terrorism has existed since Cantrell’s Raiders of the Civil war, and before that. It existed when the Irish Republican Army used in the UK (and they were Catholics, not Muslims).

Terrorism will exist a hundred years from now, used by whomever the group is who feels powerless enough to not confront an established military in open combat.

Do conservatives expect the United States to be in a full-fledges “state of war” for a hundred years? If so, then you better institute a draft, and stop borrowing the money to pay for this war from the Chinese Central Banks as our country will run out of money, friends and troops long before then.

You cannot fight a full scale war “on the cheap”, nor can you call a “skirmish” a full scale war in order to hid failures (such as the failure to go after the al Qaeda central command).

Anything else is faking it.

“During the cold war…”
A country cannot be at war with a temperature

I am a United States Army veteran, E-5.

John Yoo does not deserve to breathe American air or ever to see sunlight again.