On Michael Goldfarb

Julian Sanchez:

You know that Simpsons episode where the doctor explains that Mr. Burns is simultaneously suffering from almost every disease known to man, but remains healthy because they’re in a precarious equilibrium, like a horde of obese men simultaneously trying to squeeze through the “door” of his immune system? And in honor of that image, they dub the condition “Three Stooges Syndrome”? This is often how I feel reading Michael Goldfarb, because when someone is confused in so many different ways over the span of two short paragraphs, it’s easy to get paralyzed.


One thing that the specifics of Goldfarb’s argument inspires is the question of whether or not there are any limits that the pro-torture right would apply to putatively useful conduct undertaken by putative “good guys” in order to combat putative “bad guys.” In the case of John Yoo, we know that the answer is “no.” According to Yoo, it’s not possible for it to be a war crime for an American president to order that we threaten to crush someone’s kid’s testicles because, by definition, international law cannot bind a US president’s decision-making with regard to national security.