Tag Archives: International Humanitarian Law

The Sacrificial Yoo: Accounting for Torture in the OPR Report

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) excoriated the legal work done by John Yoo and Jay Bybee of the Office of Legal Counsel on the torture memos, but DOJ’s ultimate decision stopped short of referring Yoo and Bybee for professional discipline.  Serious questions remain, particularly since the OPR was unable to obtain the testimony of many high-level officials who played critical roles in authorizing torture.  A full-scale investigation, preferably by an independent commission not part of the very department implicated in the wrongdoing, is still necessary. Great Britain conducted such an independent inquiry into the abusive practices used against IRA prisoners in the 1970s, and the United States must do the same.  The essential lesson must be that torture and cruel treatment are not policy options, even when lawyers are willing to write opinions blessing illegality.

Cyber Threats and the Law of War

When I was invited to participate in a forum dealing with “National Security Threats in Cyberspace,” sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security and the National Strategy Forum, my assigned role was to provide a “succinct and brief” explanation of how the existing Law of War (LOW) might be applied to cyber threats. The Journal of National Security Law & Policy later requested that I reduce my comments to writing. No doubt this generous request was made due to the brevity of my analysis, rather than to my intellectual prowess. Others have dealt with this subject in a far more detailed and sophisticated fashion …

 

‘This Is Not Your Father’s War’ Confronting the Moral Challenges of ‘Unconventional’ War

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, Paula Loyd, assigned to U.S. Army team AF-4 Blue, was conducting interviews among the local population in the small village of Chehel Gazi in southern Afghanistan. According to witnesses, she approached a man carrying a fuel jug, and they began discussing the price of gasoline. Suddenly the man, Abdul Salam, doused her with the fuel in his jug and set her on fire. She suffered second- and third-degree burns over sixty percent of her body. Tragically, Paula Loyd died of her injuries a few weeks later, in early January 2009.