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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Now Yoo Knows How It Feels (But Not Really)

It’s pretty safe to assume that empathy has never been one of John Yoo’s strong points. The former member of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has become a figure of ire for penning the “torture memos,” which authorized the now-famous harsh interrogation techniques for Guantanamo Bay detainees. Now, however, he at least has some idea of what it’s like to be a detainee.

No, he probably hasn’t had a heart-to-heart with a tortured prisoner or taken a crash course in sensitivity. As Talking Points Memo reports, Yoo spent a solid chunk of his Monday afternoon as a detainee himself. Well, sort of. Before he was scheduled to speak at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, Bush II appointee Judge Consuelo Callahan announced, perhaps without choosing her words carefully (or maybe she did), that Yoo would not be attending because he was “unexpectedly detained … for six hours.” The statement was met with hoots of laughter from half the audience that were decidedly unappreciated by the other half.

Unfortunately for those hungry for scandal (or karmic justice), Yoo was not placed on the U.S. terrorist watch list and wrongfully brought to Gitmo. What I glossed over with ellipses was that Yoo was just delayed due to fog, stuck at the Oakland International Airport. Something tells us the accommodations there are a bit more comfortable than the 6-by-8-foot cells at Camp Delta.

Whatever the case, we at Justice Watch hope that the whole ordeal served as something of a learning experience. Perhaps his six hours of eating Cinnabons and hanging out at Hudson News was as torturous to Yoo as waterboarding and sexual humiliation are to the detainees he affected. Somehow we doubt it.

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