Welcome the second of the Dog’s weekly letter writing series about torture. The idea behind this series is to get as many people as possible sending a weekly notice that we as a people have not forgotten nor will forget about the Bush Administration’s torture program, nor our responsibility as nation of laws to investigate, indict and prosecute these most heinous of crimes.
The basic deal is that the Dog, being a truly loquacious hound will every Monday write a letter on this topic that you can then cut and paste into e-mails or in the case of the Supreme Court print off and mail it to them (they are kind of behind the times when it comes to communications). On the reader side, this should take about a total of fifteen minutes, plus one piece of paper, one envelop and one stamp.
For this action we are contacting President Obama, all the Supreme Court Justices, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and AG Holder. There are, of course and enormous number of other people that can be contacted, but since the Dog is asking for your time he has limited it to these five addresses. If you feel like adding your Senators and your Rep, that is great, but the Dog is only asking for a commitment to contact these five every week.
A couple of weeks ago the Dog was hot to try to sue the Federal Government in order to force them to comply with the legal obligations that we have under our own laws and the our treaty obligations under the International Conventions Against Torture. The basic argument was that the Dog (and you) as citizens were being harmed by the degradation of our rule of law by the failure to this point to investigate, indict and try those that from what we know in the public records is at least three clear cases of United States sponsored waterboarding program. Sadly this will not work, as the harm that we as citizens are experiencing is to conceptual for our legal framework. This prevents any of us from having “standing” to bring such a suite.
This being the case, the only available avenue to put pressure on the Executive Branch to fulfill its obligations is to take this case directly to them. This is the subject of letter for this week:
Dear (insert name here);
I am writing today to ask for your help in a matter that I a private citizen can not access the Courts to address. The issue is the apparent State Sponsored Torture program that was run by the Bush Administration.
We know from Congressional testimony that three men including Khalid Sheik Mohammed were, while in US custody, where subjected to the technique known as water-boarding. This technique has been considered torture for hundreds of years. This consideration includes the United States. In the 1950’s a Sheriff in Texas was convicted of torture for using this technique on a suspect.
While there have been legal memos that purport to justify the use of some kind of very specific definition of this technique is actually legal, the fact is until it is tested in the Courts, there is a very open question as to its legality.
This is why we must have a full, formal investigation of these and other as yet undisclosed acts. It is the very question of this that is damaging the very foundation of our society, the Rule of Law. Our nation is based on the principal that the Law must be applied uniformly if there is to be justice. It was this apparent lack of uniformity by the King of England that lead to our breaking away from that nation and founding our own.
Given the know public facts, it is very easy to a citizen to assume that what has been done in the name of National Security is in fact torture an therefore illegal. Since the people that are known to, form their public statements, have approved techniques on a person by person and technique by technique basis are among the highest ranking officials of the Bush Administration, you can see how this would seem to indicate two different applications of the law.
If a private citizen were to take these actions, no matter what the reason they did so, there is very little doubt that they would be investigated, indicted and tried for it. While there are some things that we exempt our elected officials from, ordering torture can not be one of them. Not only is it against our domestic laws, but it is a clear violation of our Treaty obligations under the International Conventions Against Torture.
There are many challenges that face us as a nation, but there can be none more damaging to our democracy than the reinforced idea that there is law for some but not for all. If it comes to the point where our citizens can not trust that laws against the most heinous of War Crimes will be enforced, regardless of the political considerations, how can they trust that other law will be applied fairly to them?
If we confirm that there are two sets of laws, one for the common people and one for the powerful, than the entire edifice of this nation has been built on pillars of sand. The tragedy of this all it that it is so simple to prevent, all we need to do is let the process of the Law go forward as it should. Our Treaty obligations require that we investigate all credible allegations of torture. This is a necessary first step to assure our that we are following the Rule of Law.
It is within your power to press for this action. It is always the right thing to push of the process of the law to go forward, in this case it is doubly so. Please I ask as a citizen that does not, yet, believe that the premise of this nation has failed, make yourself publicly heard that any allegation of torture must be treated with the gravity it deserves. To fail to do so endangers our nation as much as any terrorist attack.
That is this weeks letter, feel free to edit it in anyway you like to make it your own, or write one yourself. The important factor is that you take the small amount of time to contact these folks this week and every week until we get the action we need on torture.
The addresses and links are as follows:
Department of Justice, attention AG Holder – AskDOJ@usdoj.gov
US Supreme Court, Attention All Justices –
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court Bldg.
Washington, DC 20543
So, there is it all the Dog wants from you is 15 minutes, one sheet of paper, one stamp and one envelope. Will you help the Dog make sure that those who ordered torture in our names do not get away Scot free?
The floor is yours