The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they are grinding on. When president Bush decided to use torture as his central tool in the war on Jihadist terrorism, he faced an obvious problem. Torture was plainly illegal - under domestic and international law, under the relevant treaties, under 200 years of American history. Bush and Cheney therefore needed legal cover to break the law. The memos ordered up to accomplish this - concocted by John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury - read as emptily as you would imagine. They are not good faith memos explaining the law to the president (and forbidding him to torture); they are self-evidently casuistic documents designed to provide phony legal cover (and permitting him to torture anyone to the point of death - a limitation that he nonetheless repeatedly exceeded) As the former president recently said:
"I got legal opinions that said whatever we're going to do is legal."