John Yoo is clearly a smart, hard-working man: Harvard College, Yale Law School, a clerk for the Supreme Court. You don't just cruise through that career. He's got talents.
And he's decided to use them for evil. His 2003 memo, released yesterday and echoing through the blogosphere today, reveals the legal sorcery he wrought to justify torture by Americans.
We're not surprised that powerful lawyers sometimes make short-sighted, Faustian deals. What shocks us is how easy it seems to have been for Yoo. He just dreamed up an argument that interpreted the president's powers broadly and deliberately eschewed moral clarity, and wrote a memo. Simple as that. It shakes your confidence in the law.
Posts on the matter on Balkanization, Slate, and BoingBoing.