The Presidents Right to Poke Out Eyes
More shocking details are emerging from the 2003 81-page memo by former Justice Department senior lawyer John Yoo, who determined that the commander in chief can order poking out of eyes, slitting of body parts and throwing acid at prisoners, and none of that would constitute torture because it would not result in “death, organ failure or serious impairment of bodily functions.”
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Thirty pages into a memorandum discussing the legal boundaries of military interrogations in 2003, senior Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo tackled a question not often asked by American policymakers: Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner’s eyes poked out?
Or, for that matter, could he have “scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance” thrown on a prisoner? How about slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb? What about biting?
These assaults are all mentioned in a U.S. law prohibiting maiming, which Yoo parsed as he clarified the legal outer limits of what could be done to terrorism suspects as detained by U.S. authorities. The specific prohibitions, he said, depended on the circumstances or which “body part the statute specifies.”
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