I sent the following diatribe to by Senators & Representative in response to an ACLU campaign.
“We do not torture.”
I am not sure who George Bush was referring to in that quote he gave in Panama in November 2005, but according to his public declarations on ABC News last Friday, he apparently wasn’t referring to the government of the United States. As far back as 2002, top national security advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet, and Attorney General John Ashcroft, explicitly sanctioned specific details of the CIA’s use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’. “And I approved,” George Bush now says.
I’m sure there’s an arguable semantic difference between ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ and ‘torture’ or ‘prisoner abuse’ or ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’ in the same way there’s a semantic difference between having ‘sexual relations’ and ‘receiving fellatio’. However, that does not mean that such purported semantic distinctions in the least obviate the need for thorough investigation and, as the evidence warrants, impeachment.
President Bush admits that he and his top advisers played a key role in creating a national policy of what may well amount to torture, a policy enacted by the CIA in covert kidnapping and interrogation, in the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and the mistreatment of Guantánamo detainees, a policy that has not only harmed those against whom it was practiced, but has also violated fundamental American values, diminished our standing in the world, reduced our effectiveness as a leader in the promotion and protection of human rights, probably violated both domestic and international laws, and very likely made us less, not more, safe, since coerced testimony is often fabricated and therefore useless, and in so handling our prisoners, sent the message to our enemies that torture and abuse is acceptable, leaving U.S. citizens open to the same treatment.
I implore you to use your constitutional power to check executive branch abuses. Specifically, I request that you work to:
1. Appoint an independent prosecutor and support other necessary efforts to hold President Bush and other administration officials accountable, in authorizing U.S. involvement in torture, for violations of The War Crimes Act and other relevant laws.
2. Condemn continuing Administration efforts to conduct military commission proceedings allowing the use of evidence gained through torture.
Our republic is founded on the notion than no one, not even the President, is above the law. Congress must take these steps to protect the rule of law, ensuring that violations of law will not be allowed to stand, and that such fundamental betrayals of American values will not happen again. The American people expect you to protect not only our lives, but our Constitution, our laws, and our national ideals.