While the story of Sharr White's play Sunlight is entirely fictional, the events discussed in it are loosely based on current events. At the heart of the true story stands University of Berkeley Professor of Law John Yoo.
According to his official UCB bio, "Professor Yoo received his B.A., summa cum laude, in American history from Harvard University. Between college and law school, he worked as a newspaper reporter in Washington, D.C. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Mr. Yoo served as the Deputy Assistant U. S. Attorney General under John Ashcroft in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice during the George W. Bush administration. He authored the so-called Torture Memos that addressed the use of the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques" including waterboarding, was strongly in favor of enhanced executive power, and wrote legal opinions concerning the Geneva Conventions that legitimized the War on Terror by the United States after the attacks of 9/11. Essentially, Woo provided legal arguments to support the Bush administration and CIA's position that the Geneva Conventions ban on torture did not apply to detained members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
In 2009, just two days after taking office, President Barack Obama wrote Executive Order 13491 which revoked all of Yoo's legal guidance on interrogation.
Last week the story of Sunlight took on new meaning in light of the attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad. Extremists continue to terrorize and governments continue to look for ways to protect civilians.
If you'd like to make donations to help the people in Paris, Beirut, or Baghdad, consider donating to Doctors Without Borders or the International Red Cross.