Comments about ‘Book closed on BYU grad for torture memos, but Demos protest’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 26 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

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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 criminals.


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.

To Outraged and Publius

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.

Stalwart Sentinel

@To Outraged and Publius

Your 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.

William of Utah

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 wrong.


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 precedent.


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.

Happy LDS guy

I think it's a great day, knowing another LDS guy won't accept PC garbage and supports proper treatment of murderers.


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.

Can't Take Anymore

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.


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.

I read the words

But all I get from it is Waaaaaaaa.


Regardless 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 justification.

This is sad

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.

Mark B

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.


Legal advice based on politics. The whole think is revolting. And from someone who supposedly reveres the Constitution. "Hah! I spit in your general direction!"


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.

Stalwart Sentinel

@Publius | 2:12 p.m

Uh... did you read the wrong comment box?


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 nothing.


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 family.

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