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Building The Wave Of Support For Torture Investigations

Change is a tricky thing. Getting it is a balancing act, but in terms of any movement or political goal there is always the need to gain and show enough support so it is clear there is, at the very least, a strong plurality who feel the same way and want the same goal. When this becomes clear, it not only spurs politicians to act, it gives them the confidence to do so. This is now the job of those who have taken on the issue of torture.

Cross Posted at Square State

We know from the poll by USAToday released on the 11th of February this year, that 64% of the population want an investigation of torture. This breaks down to 38% wanting a criminal investigation and 24% wanting a independent panel on this issue. These are, of course, statistical projections of what the people think and want. In order for us to get to our goal we have to bring these people together, vocally, from all the disparate places where they live.

When you are in any kind of minority that is not visually obvious, like being left handed or gay or atheist, it is often easy to feel isolated. When one does find those in that share this status, there is an immediate feeling of recognition. This is, to the Dog, is where we need to put the next part of our efforts on torture. Getting those who share our views to see how many others do, so they feel supported to speak out for investigation and accountability.

Let’s face it, if you are reading they dairy, then you already are engaged on the issue of torture. Whether you have been engaged on this for a while or have just come to it due to the recent revelations about torture does not matter, you are engaged and hopefully acting. We need to reach out to those who want to be engaged and acting on this issue and we can do it relatively easily.

What the Dog is proposing is to spend a little time in your own community speaking out about torture, the best place for this is the Letters To the Editors of your local papers, and the comment boards there. Many people who would never come to a blog, left or right, will and do read these letters and comments. What we need to do is start getting a single idea out there, torture is a crime, and crimes must be investigated. That is the start of all action, the recognition of torture as a crime and in this country we investigate crimes, so we must investigate this one.

So, to give those who have never been involved with writing a Letter To the Editors a little help here are some tips;

First off, keep it short! There is a reason the Dog blogs more than he writes LTE’s, he is a damned wordy hound and it really tough for him to get what needs to be said, the way it needs to be said in the format that gets printed. The best rule of thumb is keep it below 400 words. The papers have limited space and it all costs, so if you want yours printed, be succinct.

Two, stay on point! Don’t give the history of torture, the ICAT (International Conventions Against Torture) wording, or any of that kind of thing. Remember the goal here, getting the word out that in your community there are those who know torture is a crime, and crimes must be investigated. You can write other points at other times, but stick to what is going to help us build a wave of support.

Three, try to tie it into a story which has been written recently. Reference that story in your letter. This gives the paper more incentive to print your letter, as it is follow on to there own reporting. There are lots of these stories right now and there will be more in the future, so use this to leverage your efforts.

Four; as hard as this will be, keep the most calm and reasoned tone possible. There may be those at your local newspapers who don’t think torture is a big deal or for other reasons want to support the Bush administrations positions on this. Don’t give them a chance to print a “Look at the Nuts on the Left” letter. Be straight forward, stick to your points and get your letter published, we have plenty of space for venting of outrage on the blogs, we are trying to achieve a goal with these letters, so do what it takes to reach the goal.

Below is an example of what one of these letters might look like:

Dear Sirs:

In your article titled “Europeans may investigate Bush officials” on 4/22 you discussed how several European nations are considering opening torture investigations of the Bush administration. This is a problem for the Untied States, as it our officials who are accused of crimes and it should be our Department of Justice which investigates and if appropriate prosecutes the offenders.

It is a simple enough thing to understand. Waterboarding is torture. It has been illegal for decades in the United States. After WWII we tried and executed Japanese officers who waterboarded. When it appears there is a crime, we must investigate. We can not have a system of law, if we do not do this. If there appeared to be a burglary, we investigate. If we find enough evidence there was a crime, we prosecute.

For the sake of our national honor, and our system of law, we must investigate if the actions of the Bush Administration were criminal in nature. No one is above the law, not even the president, so we must follow our system. If we find there was no crime we can show that, but at the very least it must be looked into and the correct action taken, this is not an option, it is a requirement.

Sincerely

(Ha! 214 words!)

If we take this action, we can bring all the little pockets of support for investigation together. Just as a massive wave is made up of billions of drops of water, a political wave is made up of millions of supporters all moving together towards the shore.

Please take the time today to write a LTE and watch the local papers for times when you can make tie in. It is a small thing, but massive change is all about small actions which make the change inevitable.

The floor is yours.

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Bill Egnor

Bill Egnor

I am a life long Democrat from a political family. Work wise I am a Six Sigma Black Belt (process improvement project manager) and Freelance reporter for Govtrak.org

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