John Yoo
John Yoo

John Yoo, the controversial Berkeley law school professor who wrote the infamous torture memos for President George W. Bush, is coming out with a book on January 5. The impending publication of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush prompted the normally reclusive Yoo to talk to the New York Times.

And he had a number of surprising things to say about Berkeley and his time in the Bush administration:

* He has never met President Bush.

* He was never invited to the White House Christmas party.

* He became a conservative at 9.

* He does not regret writing the so-called “torture memos”.

* He took a job at Berkeley Law School because it was the best offer he received.

* Protests against his faculty position don’t phase him. “At Berkeley, protesting is an everyday activity,” Yoo  told the New York Times. “I am used to it. I remind myself of West Berlin — West Berlin surrounded by East Germany during the Cold War.”

* Berkeley is populated by radicals, but Yoo doesn’t seem to take them seriously: “There are probably more Communists in Berkeley than any other town in America, but I think of them more as lovers of Birkenstocks than Marx.”

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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  1. I would like to know if any reader of this blog will step forward to defend Yoo from the charge that he is an immoral ass deserving of dismissal from his position and deserving of profound social disgrace if not criminal prosecution.

  2. It’s good (and not surprising) that Yoo’s primary loyalty to Berkeley is the money. Hopefully some deep-pocketed right wing law school will make him a better offer. Soon.

    If you ever wondered what the banality of evil looked like, you just have to look at the photo attached to this story.