Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo castigated President Obama’s decision to ban torture and close Guantanamo in a January 29 Wall Street Journal opinion column that somehow avoided the use of the word "torture." As we shall see, his column was a dance of obviously false assumptions and false conclusions designed to justify the Bush policy of torture (in his column Woo calls it "tough interrogation") and endless detention without trial.
The Department of Defense claimed in a dramatic press briefing on January 13 that “61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight” of terrorism. This figure has been repeated incessantly since that time by the mass media, often without the “or suspected of” qualifier in the statement.
President Barack Obama signed three executive orders on the first full day of his presidency, January 21, to (1) ban the use of torture, (2) close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year, and (3) review of detention policies for terrorist suspects, along with a review of cases for existing inmates.
The new and heavily liberal legislative bodies now ensconced in Washington and in many statehouses across the nation now pose a slow equivalent to the march on Lexington and Concord that sparked the American Revolution. Taxation, regulation, and government inroads into personal liberty, including gun control, are now proliferating.
During his last full day in office, President George W. Bush has commuted the sentences of former Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. The president had been under pressure from grass-roots organizations (including the John Birch Society), concerned members of Congress, and outraged citizens regarding the trial of the former agents and their subsequent mistreatment in prison.