Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Who Knew That Berkeley's City Council Would Like To Take Over The Role Of Thought Police

I mean really. Isn't Berkeley supposed to be a place where different view points are allowed to coexist? A place where Voltaire's line about "disagreeing with everything you say but willing to die to defend your right to say it" is supposed to be honored in deed as well as spirit?

Apparently not.

According to the SFGate, the Berkeley City Council passed a measure asking that the Department of Justice prosecute Professor John Yoo of U.C. Berkeley. If you are not aware, Professor Yoo is a law professor at U.C. Berekely's Boalt Hall Law School. Prior to that, he served in the Department of Justice during the early half the current administration. The best piece of work product that you might have heard about is the memo he turned out.

In 2003, he authored the now infamous memo. The memo was generated after being being requested by the Department of Defense to answer the question about what could occur in military interrogations of unlawful combatants held outside the the United States. His memo lead to certain practices being implemented. Specifically, he was considering the requirements of Federal constitutional and statutory law, as well as international treaties, upon military operations and needs when it came to interrogating prisoners.

Now, he was asked a question. He generated a reasoned response, based on research and examination of the relevant Constitutional articles, case law, statutes, and treaties. Were all his conclusions correct? No. Were some? I believe so.

However, the ultra-liberal (how I hate even typing that word because I get the feeling I'm going to get tarred as being a Bush supporter or a neo-con) Berkeley City Council wants him prosecuted. For putting forth his interpretation of the law.

Let's be clear. He did not have the final say in what happened in any prison. All he did, was give his interpretation of the law.

It seems that Berkeley only likes freedom of thought when it comes to progressive/socialist/liberal/alternative ideas. Unfortunately, the loud mouths on the city council should be figuring out better ways to help the citizens of their city. However, it seems they would rather go on quixotic crusades to force people to think the way that they want them to think.

Sorry bout the rant. What it comes down to in my opinion, is that I would rather see people doing, than complaining. If I were a Berkeley resident, I would rather see my city council work on finding ways to help make housing more affordable. Not pontificating on things that have already come to pass and which have changed or already in the process of being changed.

1 comment:

Leonardo said...

Although I agree with your premise regarding the role of a local city council, I also believe prosecution, or at least a vetting of the currant interrogation techniques is paramount to opening a dialogue on the culpability of administration personnel who fostered these illegal policies. According to Glen Greenwald, policy will remain the same until all parties, including House Speaker Pelosi and other member of the House and Senate involved in the authorization of the currant policy are willing to appoint an independent prosecutor, such as Patrick Fitzgerald, to investigate the source of these abuses of the Geneva Convention and the moral standards which define our country. We must set new standards based primarily on the laws of this country. We have adequate prisons and a court system ready to try and incarcerate, if proven guilty, all the detainees at Getmo, we need not torture. The prosecution is obligated to offer evidence to prove the allegations by the government and a jury, not a government spokesperson, to issue a verdict and assign punishment.

John Yoo and the Berkeley City Council may be the first step in this vetting process.