Weekly Torture Action Letter 10 – Time For The Media To Call It Torture

Good Morning and welcome to the tenth in the Dogs letter writing campaign series. Every Monday ( Well except for last week. Sorry the Dog was in training and could not post) the Dog writes a letter trying to move accountability for the Bush era State Sponsored Torture program forward. These letters can be cut and pasted or used as the jumping off point for the readers own letter. The goal is to remind decision makers on a weekly basis there are citizens who will not let this issue be lost, who will insist on the rule of law being followed.

Usually this letter is addressed to the AG, the President, the Supreme Court Justices, Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Conyers and Majority Leader Reid, but this week the Dog wants to do something a little different. We will include all of those folks in the carbon copy, but this week we need to put some heat on the traditional media.

One of the problems in getting to accountability on this issue is the apathy of the some of our fellow citizens on the issue of torture. There is a percentage of the public who are willing to torture terrorist suspects. To the Dog this makes them unreachable on this issue. However there is a significant percentage who are okay with the idea of treating terror suspects roughly, but would (quite reasonably) recoil in horror at the idea of torturing them. This was know by the criminal Bush administration and so they euphemism “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” was born, both to shield them legally and to give legitimacy to torture.

This euphemism is used to varying degrees by the traditional media. We need to push for them to start calling a crime (which torture is by our Federal and International laws) by its actual name. This can help move the issue to the level of serious discourse that it deserves. We know that when the Network News organizations changed their characterization of the upraising by Iraqi Sunnis from an insurgency to a Civil War the public opinion of the war was drastically altered. The Dog believes we need a similar change from “EIT” to torture in order propel the issue of accountability to the levels of support required to achieve it.

With that in mind this week the Dog will ask that everyone write this week to the major TV news organizations as well as major Newspapers and ask, politely, yet firmly that they call torture what it is. Below is this week’s letter:

Dear Editors:

I write today to urge you to make a change in the way which you are covering the Bush era State Sponsored Torture programs. In the past few months as more and more information has come to light indicating that not only was torture committed but was ordered at the highest levels of the Bush Administration, you news organization has danced around the issue by using the euphemism of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”.

This does a great disservice to the public who rely on you for the news. We know, from the under oath testimony of Bush Administration officials, that at least three men were waterboarded. This is a crime under both Federal and International Law. It is my view that crimes should be called the crimes they are. You would not call embezzlement “Unauthorized Personalization of Assets” would you? Nor would you call burglary “Forced Garage Sale”, then why would you fail to call a crime a like torture by its name?

I do not need to tell you that your mission is to report the news, not to shape it. If you continue to perpetuate a euphemism coined by those committing a crime to make it seem less like a crime, you are coming perilisly close to shaping the news, rather than reporting it.

Please, set a journalistic standard and call a statutary crime by its name. It is the right thing to do both for accuracy and journalistic ethics reasons.


There is the letter, now for some e-mail addresses:







Washington Post

You will need to send individual e-mails but is should not take that long. Please if you care about the issue of torture accountability take a minute to try to change the tone of the reporting about this issue.

The floor is yours.

Cross Posted at Square State

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