John Yoo becomes a caricature of himself

JOHN YOO BECOMES A CARICATURE OF HIMSELF…. John Yoo, the former deputy A.G. in the Bush administration responsible for writing torture memos, complained to CNN last night about President Obama’s successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

No, really, Yoo actually complained about this on national television. There’s video proof.

Pressed by Eliot Spitzer, Yoo argued that the al Qaeda leader should have been taken alive, and that President Obama’s record of killing lots of terrorists is a problem because Yoo would rather see them tortured and interrogated.

“I do think that [the president and his team] don’t want to capture high-level al Qaeda leaders,” Yoo argued, making the case that Sunday’s mission in Abbottabad was a mistake.

Wait, it gets worse.

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Yoo wrote that shooting the unarmed bin Laden meant “one of the most valuable intelligence opportunities since the beginning of the war has slipped through our hands.”

Yoo told Spitzer “that a deliberately small force was sent in” to Abbottabad, Pakistan by the White House because “they don’t want to capture high-level al Qaeda leaders.”

Why? As Yoo said in his op-ed, the administration is terrified of backing the Bush administration’s moves in the war on terror.

“Capturing [bin Laden] alive would have required the administration to hold and interrogate bin Laden at Guantanamo Bay,” Yoo wrote, “something that has given this president allergic reactions bordering on a seizure.”

As a friend of mine summarized, “Shorter John Yoo: It’s too bad you killed Osama, because if you’d captured him, I could have criticized you for not torturing him.”

Remember, Yoo isn’t just some clown on right-wing radio; he helped shape an administration’s rationale for ignoring the law while combating terrorism.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.