John Yoo is an Embarassment to Asian Academics Everywhere

Although there aren’t many prominent/publicly-recognized Asian American academics, the two who are the most prominent–Francis Fukuyama and John Yoo–do not present what I call a “sterling” reputation. Fukuyama, at the end of the Cold War, proposed the ridiculous and oh-so-empirically-wrong “end of history” thesis that claimed that ideological struggles are over and that liberalism has won. And Fukuyama also was one of the earliest supporters of the Iraqi War, lending some resemblance of academic credibility to that ill-fated endeavor. But at least he changed his position once he realized that the “end of history” thesis is wrong, and he also changed his position once he realized just how the Bush Administration managed to bungle up the post-war occupation.

But John Yoo remains unrepentant and unapologetic about his role in enabling torture as an official US policy in the war on terror. It’s bad enough that he authored the legal basis for toture while working for the Office of Legal Counsel, he won’t shut his mouth after he left OLC and went back to academia. Now, if I were an enabler of torture with tenure, I would keep my mouth shut and hope this thing blows over.

But no, even after he left, John Yoo continues to defend this extreme legal position, whether it’s through op-eds or at Congressional hearings. The latest example is his op-ed in the NYT today, co-authored with John Bolton. The op-ed urges Obama to not skirt around the treaty-clause in the Constitution, which says that two-thirds of the Senate must ratify a treaty before it can have force of law. The conclusion is follows:

“By insisting on the proper constitutional process for treaty-making, Republicans can join Mr. Obama in advancing a bipartisan foreign policy. They can also help strike the proper balance between the legislative and executive branches that so many have called for in recent years.”

This is such a disingenous and hypocritical conclusion! So Yoo is arguing that Obama must work with Congress in order to not upset Constitutional check-and-balance? Where the fuck was this line of thinking when Yoo wrote the torture memo, which essentially argued for a completely unitary executive? The double standard practically screams out of this conclusion.

This is just un-fucking-believable: I can’t believe John Yoo has the balls to write something like this after everything he’s argued for while he worked for the Bush Administration. There is no absolutely no credibility here, and Yoo should be embarassed for himself.

When are we going to get some Asian American academics who aren’t either warmongers or torture-enablers? I guess we’ll find out someday.


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