Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ripped From The Headlines

I think this sounds like a pretty good premise for a play:
The moral dilemma lawyers in the situation Yoo (ex hypothesi) found himself in 2002 face is this: Suppose you believe it's legal to do something which is very immoral, and you're asked your professional opinion on whether it would be legal to do this very immoral thing, by people who are asking you precisely because they intend to do it. What do you do?
And I just might use it. I'm always interested in plays that are about moral questions (I've been kicking around one for a while). In a way, that's why I follow politics, to find the stories, and even more importantly, the questions of our time. I think the dilemma described there is one of those questions from the last ten years that more plays could and should be exploring. As I've said before, I think the path to the Great Plays of our times runs through questions like that.


Freeman said...

The only problem with this assessment of Yoo, for me, is that apparently he has not only an extreme view of Executive Authority, but that his own legal reasoning wantonly left out established law and well-trod counterarguments in favor of the conclusion that Torture Is Legal if the President Say So.

In short, Yoo had to bend the law to his fringe opinion, and he was made legal counsel precisely because his opinion was extreme.

That's NOT to say that this isn't the premise for a great fictional story. It's just not Yoo's story, in my view. And it's amazing how our society is so enraptured of legalese that even questions that are cut and dry (we have PHOTOS of our own soldiers torturing people) become mired in questions of legality.

99 said...

I totally agree; I doubt that John Yoo himself lost a second of sleep over any of these decisions and probably never will. And I obviously find his decision abhorrent, not to mention wrong. But it is still a great question and, I think, one of the big questions of our last decade. And one that theatre, since it's so much about choices, is particularly well positioned to tackle.