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War crimes?

I have followed the issue of the John Yoo torture memos with a certain amount of horror, but without really probing the implications. So this came as something of a shock

That is, it doesn’t concern Yoo’s ideas about the laws or communication of same; it concerns credible allegations that Yoo acted directly and deliberately, in his capacity as an employee of the US government to facilitate war crimes.

(Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber)

I have called things war crimes from time to time. I have enjoyed reading reports of war crimes indictments laid against various of the neocons in European courts. But on a certain level I saw it as hyperbole – it may be true, but on some level I didn’t really feel that people like Rumsfeld set out to commit war crimes. Yoo’s writings are different. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t instruct people to commit war crimes. But unlike some of the others, it seems pretty clear that he did his best to allow them to happen.


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