Camp No

It’s nauseating that John Yoo (a Berkeley law professor) is getting off with a slap on the wrist. The superficial and childish response to 9/11 was they killed us, let’s kill them. The supposedly adult response was we need to make sure this never happens again — by getting rid of terrorists. The real lesson I’ve never heard or read: here’s something inside all of us that is stronger than we realized. We must try even harder to suppress it. 9/11 meant that laws against torture should be strengthened.

The opposite happened — thanks in part to John Yoo. Now it’s clear there was a lot of torture at Guantanamo. It happened at a place called Camp No (as in “I have no idea what you’re talking about”). As I read this excellent article about the torture, I wondered how such journalism will survive as newspapers disappear. I was glad to see that the author, Scott Horton, is a lawyer, not a professional journalist. Just as my self-experimentation was essentially a hobby that I did in addition to my regular job (a Berkeley professor).

7 Replies to “Camp No”

  1. I completely agree with you on this Seth. What a disgrace that John Yoo is not in jail for crimes against humanity. And yes– an excellent article.

  2. To torture or not to torture is a false dichotomy. I would argue that confinement (i.e., jail) and being separated from one’s loved one’s is torture, certainly solitary confinement can be viewed as torture. I don’t favor pulling out finger nails, but count me in support of coercive interrogation for high level terrorists with “hot” intelligence. As for John Yoo, I find it a sad sign of the weakness of our civilization that we need legal cover at all to engage in coercive interrogation against terrorists captured in afghanistan. It should be done covertly with a wink and a nudge.

  3. Solitary confinement has always been considered torture.

    Vic, I hope you’ll look forward to your turn as torture becomes routine. Too many parking tickets? Electric shocks for you, my good man.

  4. Seth, your post seems ignorant and visceral. Why didn’t you analyze these issues more critically before (or instead of) posting?

    1. Harper’s article: Jack Shafer of Slate has shown huge problems with Horton’s claims about ‘Camp No’. And Horton’s claims require a conspiracy so large that it strains common sense. I’m guessing you don’t believe Obama was born outside the US or that the US government blew up one of the WTC buildings or that LBJ killed JFK. Why would you believe Harpers on this?

    Original Shafer article:

    Harpers answer and Shafer reply:

    2. Yoo: I’m a lawyer and I still don’t know much, if anything, about the subject of Yoo’s memos. I’m guessing that you have no US Constitutional law expertise and that you don’t know much about legal interpretation. Do you know that Yoo’s advice to his client was incorrect about the law? And even if you do somehow know that, do you know that it was sufficiently incorrect that he should be sanctioned under normal standards for lawyers? I think you have no idea.

    So are you consciously suspending your normal critical process on Yoo and Horton’s article because you want to send a very clear signal that you are a good torture-hater? Or are you always leaping without looking?

    I was just about to put my aquatic ape on an all-fat diet, but maybe I should rethink my faith in your posts.

  5. Tom, perhaps you should be more critical of Shafer. In his response — thanks for the links — he says: I dispute that it was called Camp No. !!! As if that mattered. As if he could possibly know that no one called it that.

    As for your points, I’ll just say that I don’t consider these two assertions:

    1. US government tortured Guantanamo prisoners
    2. US government bombed World Trade Center

    to have the same level of plausibility.

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