This story first appeared on October 30, 2011.

Report back: Yoo v. Pitts debate in Dallas

Leslie Harris, War Is A, Oct. 30, 2011

The topic was the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques" and detainee treatment, when John Yoo, former Department of Justice official and author of the "Torture Memos" debated Chip Pitts, Stanford University law professor and former Chairman of Amnesty International, at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

It was not widely publicized ~ at least, we didn't get the complete info until less than 24 hours beforehand. It was free, but required registration. When we called to register, we were told it was full. So, we planned to just go protest outside...but then at the last minute decided to see if we could get in anyway, without registration. There were some no-shows, so, to our surprise, they let us in after all...and we sat at the table right next to Yoo in a very fancy room lined with gilt-framed oil paintings and had a very lovely lunch. We decided not to disrupt because we didn't want to distract from Chip, and we knew Chip would blow Yoo away. (He did.) It was filmed, so I'm hoping it will be made public soon, because it was terrific ~ Chip is always terrific.

To judge who won the debate, different exit doors were assigned to each debater. The audience was asked to leave through the door assigned to the person they thought won the debate. After it was over and we'd been counted exiting Chip's door, we felt like we couldn't leave without confronting the war Carol & I went back in and got in the line of people "meeting and greeting" Yoo. The woman in line in front of me offered Yoo her rubber bracelet that said, "there is no such thing as a lesser person." He said he didn't wear jewelry, but put it in his briefcase.

Shaking his hand, I thanked him for coming, and said I agreed with his assessment that Obama had carried on many of Bush's policies so if Bush was culpable then so was Obama. I said that I'd forgotten my handcuffs (true ~ I really didn't think we'd even get in)...but would he please turn himself in? (A big negatory on that one.) I told him he really should listen to what Chip had said and give up trying to legitimize all he'd done ~ that Chip had beaten him, hands down, on every point. He went into "I know where this is going, so I'm done" body-language-mode and was ready to pass me off, so I added that I just had one question:

You said, essentially, that it would be okay to crush the testicles of a person's child, if the president thought it would be of some benefit; how do you reconcile that with the Geneva Conventions and international law which clearly prohibit humiliating and degrading treatment, not to mention inflicting pain & suffering...i.e., torture!? He went into his usual song & dance routine and we went back & forth (Carol took a picture; make your own caption) until his entourage came to save him, saying that he had to catch his plane, and escorting him away.

We scurried to our cars and got our signs & props so we could give the proper parting message to Mr. Yoo and others leaving the SMU campus. Our signs said, "TORTURE IS ILLEGAL," "ARREST YOO," and, "THE AUDACITY OF WAR CRIMES," and Trish wore a prison suit and Yoo mask and carried a WANTED poster. We got several honks & thumbs up from people leaving the campus, and several one-fingered salutes from young people just driving by who seemed to think torture was a good thing. Seriously?

Word is, the final "score" of the debate was: Pitts 55, Yoo 18.

News Room

News Archive 2014

News Archive 2013

News Archive 2012

2 Professors Are Brains Behind CNN

Seven Things Happening Today

80 Years Later

9/11 Reshaped Lives of Muslims

Allan Sloan on Marketplace

American Cynicism on Rise

American Dream Shattered

Annual Conference of the Professions

Art Blog of Sandie

BART Controversy Centers on Social Media

BART Social Media Crackdown Uncharted Legal Territory

Bauer incentive Scholarship

Campaign Hits Ground

Campaign 2012: SMU Experts Weigh In

Commemorating Nine Eleven

Council Fields Trip to SMU

Dallas Council to Attend Ethics Class

Dallas Council to Attend Ethics Conference

Dallas Fort Worth 9/11 Events

Dallas Mayor Discusses Education

Dallas Philanthropist Dies

Dallas City Officials Say Party Funds Sought Inappropriately

Dennis Simon speaks on civil rights movements 50th anniversary

DFW International Community Alliance

Distinguished Professor Dennis Simon Pressents "Politics of Memory and Legacy of Civil Rights" on Oct. 1

Eagle Scholars First in Families

Earning Trust Demand for Ethics Leadership

'E-Democracy' the new 'grassroots'

Engaged Learning

Ethical Leadership in Government

Ethics of Financial Transparency

Ethics Trust & Transparency Conference

Frito Lay Plano Library Possibility

Frito Lay Plano Library Possibility

Future of Education KERA

Giveing perspective to the GOP Convention in Tampa Bay

GOP debates get physical

Gov Perry Hits Pres Campiagn Trail

Humann Recieves Reward

Humann Recognized

Is it Okay for Women to Curse at Work

Letters to the President

KERA Future of Education

Kimberly Clark Wins Ethics Award

Komen Reverses Cut to Planned Parenthood

KRLD Interviews Two SMU Professors About Their Dial Testing Technology

Leadership in Government Ethics

Legacies of September 11th

Legacies of September 11th D-Mag

Dial Testing in South Carolina

Looking back and ahead

Maguire Center Helps Students

Marin of Error: Two Candidates, Two Journeys, One lost race of dreams

Medallion Awards: Rita Kirk

Muslims Fight for Acceptance

Mustangs Jump into DNC Politics

September 11 Memorial Events at SMU

Oil Comapny and Houston settle 20 years of wrangling

In online journal, SMU students share memories of 9/11

9/11 Blog- Dallas Morning News

Panel Discusses Civil Liberites

Pegasus News: 9/11 Week

PolicyPulse Tests

Practical Advice from Commuication Experts

Prosecution of Top Government Offiicals for Torture

In Public and Private Forth Worth Residents Remember 9/11

Rais Bhuiyan of Dallas speaks message of forgiveness

Report on SMU Ethics Program

Report back: Yoo v. Pitts debate in Dallas

Responsible Business Leadership

Ryan's speech gives undecided voters mild nudge towards Romney

Share your 9/11 Story

SMU conference examines natinoal security and civil liberites

SMU Experts, organizations teach an electoral college 2012

SMU experts discuss Rick Perry's 2012 presidential run

SMU Experts: Rick Perry's quest for the presidency

SMU Eyes Bright Future

SMU's Home Opener on 9/11 to Feature Patriotic Theme, Special Military Tribute

SMU to honor tenth anniversary of 9/11

SMU honors 9/11 with thought provoking events

SMU honors distinguished alumni and emerging leader

SMU honors 9/11 with thought provoking events- SMU Website

SMU Hosts Luncheon Honoring Millitary Veterans

To Mark September 11 Anniversary, SMU Launches Website

SMU 9/11 Journal Helps Students Cope a Decade Later

SMU, Park Cities, Remember, Honor 9/11

SMU Student Honors 9/11 Victim Father

SMU Student Remembers Dad Who Died in 9/11

Brave New World: SMU to examine social media ethics in law, medicine, and religion

Christina Rancke

Strong Ethics Must Start at the Top

Student honors, volunteers in memory of her father

Tables of Content Tables Host- Rita Kirk

The Big Short Discussion Continues

Theology of Terorism Discussed

The Trust Barometer

To commemorate the 10th annivarsary of 9/11, SMU hosted a range of public events

Sepember 11th Anniversary Website- Dallas Observer

Across the Nation, Tragedy Spawned Inspiration

Turner reflects on September 11, 2001

University Ceremony Remembers Victims

Using Social Media to Tell Sandy's Story

SMU Voter Rally to be Part of SMU's Constitution Day 2012

On 9/11 Vows of Rememberance

Walt Humann to Recieve SMU Award

Website Raises Awarness

Wat connects with political convention viewers

Robin Lovin: what went wrong? 9/11

What Went Wong? PBS

News Archive 2011

Ethics Blog
© Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas | Legal Disclosures | A-Z Site Index | Contact SMU