Michael Broek

The Logic of Yoo 7

Of course, there were the “torture memos,” OED
which could signal, if they were metaphoric, the little notes definition of “severe”:
his wife had left him taped above the kitchen sink grievous
reminding him what he hadn’t done, how his shaking in bed -Bybee2
had become intolerable, his dreams
in which he woke himself with muted howls
more than the treaty of their marriage had demanded.
But Yoo was a literalist. Bound, gagged, shoved
& pinned in a dark box where lay the soft-green tarantula
the torturers had named A. Gonzalez, Yoo could “knowledge alone
argue his way out & the spider would think itself wrong. that a particular result
What was evil to him? He wrote of Remarque’s is certain to occur does
untrammeled sovereignty of chance.3 Said the peace-nik does not
was wrong. Said intent meant no one would be blamed. constitute
specific intent.”4


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2Jay S. Bybee, memorandum for Alberto Gonzalez, Counsel to the President, “Re: Standards of Conduct for
Interrogation…” Aug. 1, 2002: 5. As Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee’s deputy in the Deportment of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, Yoo references this memo is his letter to Gonzalez issued the same day insofar as “it more fully explain[s] our reasoning.”
3John C. Yoo and Robert Delahunty. “Peace Through Law? The Failure of a Nobel Experiment,” Michigan Law Review, 106 (2008): 924.
4Memorandum, 4.
Michael Broek
“The Logic of Yoo 7” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Fall 2011.