Basically there are two different types of lawyers:One type, when
asked by a client whether a certain course of conduct would be legal, delivers
his best answer even if it's not the answer the client wants to hear.The other type of lawyer says to his client: "What do you want the answer to
be?" and then issues a legal opinion to justify what the client wants to do. The
idea is that if the client is busted, he can say, "I was just relying on my
attorney's advice. Here is his legal opinion that he issued to me in good
The notion has been: We shouldn't be held responsible for any criminal
violations on torture that occurred at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere because
we were in good faith relying on the independent legal opinion of the lawyers in
the Office of Legal Counsel.By the same token, defenders of Office
of Legal Counsel attorneys John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and others who participated in
the issuance of the torture memos have said that such lawyers shouldn't be held
responsible because they were simply issuing legal opinions in good faith based
on their particular understanding of the law.
Some of the responses I have seen have been rather startling, especially one in
particular. I won't even bother bringing it to attention but this issue ought to
be much more than "ado" about nothing." This ought to be about bringing to light
who benefits and who has control of the puppet strings.recent ABC
news interview.Here is what Cheney stated:"The reason I've
been outspoken is because there were some things being said, especially after we
left office ... disbarring lawyers in the Justice Department who had - had
helped us put those policies together...."Why is that statement
important? Because from the very beginning of the torture scandal that enveloped
the Bush administration, Bush, Cheney, and other high U.S. officials have
maintained that they were relying on the torture memos issued by the attorneys
in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
This topic has been exhausted. For the person who lamented that the leaders of
the LDS church had been silent, I add this statement given by President James E.
Faust to the BYU law school. "There is a great risk in justifying what we do
individually and professionally on the basis of what is 'legal' rather than what
is 'right.' In so doing, we put our very souls at risk. The philosophy that
what is legal is also right will rob us of what is highest and best in our
nature. What conduct is actually legal is, in many instances, way below the
standards of a civilized society and light years below the teachings of the
Christ. If you accept what is legal as your standard of personal or
professional conduct, you will deny yourself of that which is truly noble in
your personal dignity and worth." ("Be Healers," Clark Memorandum, spring 2003,
3)Any outrage I may feel at the reported actions of another, whether
real or imaginined, does little good unless it moves me to action. Unless my
determination to improve my own actions or to encourage the right choices of
others is strengthened,it is worthless.
To "Thank you ByBee, et al. at 12:29"I find nothing but truth in
what you write. As an active member of the church may I go on
record as being profoundly and utterly appalled by the work of Flanigan,
Mitchell, Jessen and Sampson re torture. There is nothing within Mormon
doctrine to justify their behavior. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Nothing.Secondly, your indictment of my fellow church members as
being supportive of torture is true. Our members are passionate about their
politics and beliefs but profoundly ignorant of the application of Gospel
principles in their everyday life.Finally, I am speechless as to why
the work of these men has not been condemned by LDS leaders. I have no idea.
To all those above who suggest this is all about persecuting a good Mormon you
are only illustrating how ignorant you are regarding this entire episode.In her book The Dark Side, author Jayne Mayer writes about the religious
tradition of each of the participants of the White House "Gang of 5", of which
Bybee was a member. By the way there were more members of the
church involved in this effort than just Bybee. Other church members worked
closely with Bybee in the White House while other members actually led the
effort that saw SUSPECTED enemy combatants tortured nigh unto death. This is a shameful chapter in an otherwise stellar history of public service
by church members.
Like Outraged above I too am horrified and embarrassed a member of the church I
attend wrote the memos that sanctioned torture. I regret we're
moving on. But I take solace in knowing that the third paragraph of Jay Baybee's
obituary will detail his unpardonable efforts to facilitate and condone
I am very grateful to Mr. Bybee, as well as numerous other LDS members
(Flanigan, Mitchell, Jessen, Sampson, etc.) involved in advancing the Bush
administration's agenda. I try to be a Christian, and investigated
the LDS faith. There are many wonderful things about the LDS faith. However,
anyone who pretends that Christ condones the actions promoted by these gentlemen
really needs to reread the New Testament. Disturbingly, I found
almost unanimous support for their actions by the majority of LDS. In addition,
though I have looked and asked, I have found no condemnation of their actions by
LDS leadership. (And yes, the Church does speak--which is its right and
duty--when it feels something is immoral, e.g., the Proposition 8 fight.)Christ told us that we can know the truth of something by looking at its
fruits. The actions of these gentlemen, and the explicit and tacit support from
most of the LDS community and hierarchy, was very informative in my decision
making.I do not condemn these men any more than I wish to be
condemned for my errors, and I hope that someday they may find the path to
To all those defending Bybee as a good person, as a god fearing person, as a BYU
loving person, as a family man etc...ad nauseam, I have one specific
quesiton....how do you feel about torture? Does institutionalized torture take
away any of its immorality and inhumanity. Does a bomb droppped from 30,000
feet that kills 10,000 people do any less damage to human life and is it any
less violant than soldiers going in with swords and machine guns. Just because
an individual is 30,000 feet above the ground organizing how to legally torture,
the action is no less reprehensible and inhumane. The fact that it is
institutionalized gives it no more justification than had Goerbels and Eichmann
in their defenses.
Sorry, old buddy, but this good man Bybee will oversee whatever it is that
burdens the minds of people like you. Bybee loves the LDS church, and he loves
God. BYU will never be marked or effected by any such nonsense. BYU loves Bybee,
and Bybee loves BYU. My advice to you is to simply leave it alone.Vicky M
I could care less what religions Bybee and Yoo practice. It just sickens me
that anyone, let alone well-educated lawyers, would try to justify torture,
especially when military intelligence officers tell us that torture is not only
ineffective in obtaining reliable information, but it also leads to torture of
our own soldiers. Very creepy and dead wrong. Oh for the days when
I could trust the US to take the moral high road.
Torture is deplorable, anyway you look at it. Sure, "torture" is subjective, but
torture is not. IOW it's a tall order to try and concretely define torture, it
won't even have the same definition in all cases. I think a good metric is the
intent, if the intent is to cause discomfort for the purposes of coerced
compliance (to spill the beans or whatever) than that is unquestionably torture
IMO. I am truly sad for Bybee and the mark he leaves on BYU. It's a good thing
we have repentance and I hope he makes full use of it.
U.S. government officials have at various times said they do not believe
waterboarding to be a form of torture. To justify its use of
waterboarding, the administration of George W. Bush issued classified legal
opinions that argued for a narrow definition of torture under U.S. law,
including the Bybee memo, which it later withdrew. In January 2009
President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding. In April 2009, the U.S.
Department of Defense refused to say whether waterboarding is still used for
training (e.g., SERE) purposes.
Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged. I also pray for Bybee and his family.Someone needs to have Water Boarding explained to them.
@ This is sadYou are absolutely correct, this is all about Bybee
being a devout Mormon. It demonstrates that conservatives will turn an
otherwise honest, upstanding person of faith into a facilitator of human
torture. All under the auspice of 'keeping our nation safe.' However, in
truth, Bybee served to undermine the very fabric of American society by
vigorously seeking out loopholes to torture a fellow human being. Indeed, the
Justice Department noted that he intentionally ignored precedent that
contradicted his findings. The problem is that proving 'willful blindness' is a
high bar. The shame here resides in the fact that a presumably active member of
our Church would ever associate themselves w/ this deplorable act.And, despite what "Can't Take Anymore" falsely believes, torture does not
work. Aside from the shortsightedness that resides in assuming a captor is not
trained to withstand torture, it also fails to acknowledge that death at the
hands of the enemy is far more attractive to a fundamentalist than saving one's
own skin and divulging information. In other words, people like "Can't Take
Anymore" seriously underestimate these captors' resolve.
This is what I call Mormon persecution. It is totally outrages. I cannot believe
that Bybee has to go through this ordeal. I will pray for him and his good
C'mon, the whole thing has been propaganda and political positioning. The party
that was in power was removed from power in large part because the other party
and its constituents were "outraged" by the policies in place. Then, after
power was exchanged, the new party in power had to appease its constituents by
going after "the bad guys" from the other party. If the didn't do this, they
would appear to have falsely trumped up the aforementioned outrage. At the same
time, they couldn't truly go after the "bad guys" because they intend similar or
the same abuses later and wouldn't want their own heads on the future chopping
block. They save face by having a "non-partisan" make a determination, probably
the only one anyone could make, that lets the "bad guys" off. Constituents get
a pound of flesh but the general order of things is maintained. Much ado about
@Publius | 2:12 p.mUh... did you read the wrong comment box?
Wow, this should NEVER happen to such a great man. Mr. Bybee is a genuinely good
and decent man. I stand behind him. He has our support.
Legal advice based on politics. The whole think is revolting. And from someone
who supposedly reveres the Constitution. "Hah! I spit in your general
What's the old Dylan song that goes "You've got to serve somebody"? Bybee and
Yoo forgot that their real employers were the citizens of the US, not Bush,
Cheney, & Co. Publius is correct. If Bybee comes to a BYU graduation, I hope
it's as a spectator, not as a speaker.
They are making a Moe hill into a mountain here. This whole thing is being blown
out of proportion just because this man (BYBEE) is a "devout Mormon" and loves
his religion. What a shame. If he were not Mormon this would never happen.
@SentinelRegardless of your legalease, torture is wrong. You can try and
justify it or justify Bybee's actions through whatever legal maneuver you like,
but at the very heart of the matter is Bybee and Yoo looked for and found legal
justifications to torture. There is a huge difference between something being
immoral and illegal. Bybee may be justified legally, but morally, there is no
But all I get from it is Waaaaaaaa.
Nov 2005: Bush says U.S. ‘does not torture people’President
responds to report that 2005 memo relaxed interrogation rules - “We stick
to U.S. law and international obligations,” the president said, without
taking questions afterward. Feb 2010: Cheney acknowledged that the White House
had told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render. The War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. 2441,
makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to
violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman
treatment.The statute applies not only to those who carry out the
acts, but also to those who order it, know about it, or fail to take steps to
stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty. Enuf said.
Some people feel "torture" is getting their cell phone taken away for a month,
or listening to their spouse "snore" all night. As previously said, the word is
subjective. The Islamist Jihadists have been instructed by their
commanders that they cannot divulge any information upon capture (pretty normal
order). BUT, if they feel they are going to die if they don't "talk", then they
are released from their oath of silence and they can spill their guts
(figuratively). So, the whole intent of the "Torture" is to get the captive to
feel they are on the brink of death, then let the captive talk. This methodology
was WORKING. Waterboarding although unpleasant was not killing anyone - it just
brought the captive to the brink so he could be RELEASED to talk.Agreed
this is not nice to do. But how else do you obtain info on other plots and
accomplices? You could feed them ice cream all day (if the captive is lactose
intollerant that might be considered torture), or give them a nice quiet place
to read - that would be great for the captive. No pressure to divulge secrets
that could SAVE INNOCENT PEOPLE. Let's just play nice.
I'm an attorney and I have read the memos, and I've also read the reports
stating that the original investigative finding was that Yoo and Bybee DID
engage in misconduct. It's only because a DOJ higher-up reversed this ruling
that these two characters will go scot-free.What have we come to as
a nation when well-educated government lawyers will advise the administration
that torture is just fine as long as the president authorizes it against enemy
combatants? Sickening. It makes me ashamed of my country and my profession.
I think it's a great day, knowing another LDS guy won't accept PC garbage and
supports proper treatment of murderers.
Waterboarding is NOT torture. This is nothing more than an attempt
to criminalize political differences. These Democrats are so vicious and
vindictive it is really scary. I'm glad Leahy has pretty much been shut down.
He is a real creep.
All of these debates seem to founder on the notion of torture, for good reason:
there is no uniform definition of torture. Loud condemnation of Bybee and Yoo
is almost uniformly based upon one definition of torture, and equally loud
defense of them is based on another. Unfortunately, what constitutes torture is
inherently a subjective determination, and basing any form of official sanction
on a subjective difference of opinion would set a very dangerous and arbitrary
I admit that I haven't read the memos, nor have I yet read Yoo's new book.
Nevertheless, use of torture is not justified under our system of law that
protects the rights of individuals and was law based on moral principles.
Torture of humans, even during war, is morally wrong, in my opinion. When the
Chinese-Communists in Mao's horrible nightmare regime tortured humans it was
wrong, when German Nazis tortured human beings it was wrong, and when American
soldiers or other government workers torture human beigns, of any country, it is
@To Outraged and PubliusYour choice of words could not be more
hilariously incriminating that you have no clue what is going on. You said "you cannot really judge whether Bybee and Yoo exercised good
judgment or not." True, but the Justice Department can, and this holding
specifically stated that Bybee and Yoo used "poor judgment." It seems "your
willingness to jump on the [apologist] bandwagon reflects extraordinarily poor
judgment." That aside, this is horrible precedent and opens the
door for others to facilitate torture w/ an after-the-fact justification of "I
thought I was protecting the country." Never mind that Cheney et al were
already torturing, then went to Bybee and Yoo to justify their deplorable acts.
This is case in point an example of what the conservatives do to a good member
of our faith: turn him into an example of moral opprobrium. Bybee truly has
brought a black eye to our faith.
Go ahead and admit (1) that you have never read the memos in question and (2)
either that (a) you are not a lawyer and do not really understand the duties a
lawyer owes to his or her client or (b) you are a lawyer and, because you have
not read the memos, you cannot really judge whether Bybee and Yoo exercised good
judgment or not. The pretended outrage of career politians (i.e., opportunists)
such as Leahy is inescapably politically motivated and, unless you actually have
read the memos and have the training to understand them, your willingness to
jump on the condemnation bandwagon reflects extraordinarily poor judgment.
Judge not. Arm-chair outrage is cheap.
I am heartbroken that a member of my own faith would use the Nuremberg Defense
to allow others to commit horrible acts of torture. This is a sad day for LDS
members and those who love the constitution.
Democrats are not the only ones upset at this. I am appalled that a member of
the LDS Church would be a major player in shaping the law to a horrible policy.
As recent as Vietnam, we prosecuted and punished people for waterboarding
others, and now it's suddenly okay? Whatever happened to the golden rule? John Yoo and Bybee think that the President, as commander-in-chief, has
no restraints. No laws, no rules, no second guessing. He's the decider, and as
such, can do whatever he pleases. This is unacceptable in our system of
government, and these two men should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting war