John Yoo’s name has become synonymous with what some on the left consider egregious unethical and illegal behavior on the part of the recently departed Bush administration. Today Yoo fired back, saying that the administration did what it had to do to protect the nation and what happened in Mumbai in November might have happened here if not for vigilant executive action.
Addressing the claim that the Bush administration’s actions violated the 4th Amendment, Yoo wrote:
The military does not have the time to obtain warrants before soldiers fire upon enemy targets and personnel; the battlefield does not provide the luxury to collect evidence needed to meet probable cause standards in civilian courts. Even if the Fourth Amendment applied, we believed that courts would judge military action under a standard of “reasonableness” — as they might review a police officer who fires in self-defense — rather than demand a warrant to use military force to stop a terror attack.
In all probability the Bush administration’s actions violated the intent of the 4th Amendment. But what of it? Bush, Yoo, and others did what had to – literally, had to – be done. Mumbai proves that to all but the densest of souls.
The key takeaway from the Bush years is simply this: No further terrorist actions were taken on American soil during the last 7+ years of his administration. It’s typical of the opposition, of whatever party, to second-guess any controversial action. It’s particularly easy to do so in the safety afforded by that action. It’s also foolish and detrimental to the future security of this and other western countries.
if the administration chooses to seriously pursue those officials who were charged with preparing for the unthinkable, today’s intelligence and military officials will no doubt hesitate to fully prepare for those contingencies in the future. President Obama has said he wants to “look forward” rather than “backwards.” If so, he should not restore risk aversion as the guiding principle of our counterterrorism strategy.
Again Yoo is dead-on accurate. If Bush officials are ever charged with any sort of crime, the future aggressiveness of the nation’s security forces will be compromised and public safety will be diminished as a result.
John Yoo and company should get medals for what they did, not be subjected to politically motivated investigations aimed at feeding the Truthers’ cannibalistic appetite for the blood of the Bush administration.
Then, after they’ve been rewarded for keeping the country safe, their work should be undone.