If It's Wednesday, It Must Be Time to Investigate Torture

As promised last week, I will be posting my weekly letters to my Congressfolk, President Obama, and the United Nations. Here are this week's letters (feel free to copy and paste in your own missives, and strap yourselves in -- I will be posting every week until something gives).

To my Senators and House Reps (you can find all your congressfolk's information HERE):
Sent to Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, and Norm Dicks.
Dear [name]:

I have voted for you in every election since I moved to Washington State in 2000.

I am writing to ask you – to plead with you – to do everything you can to push for investigation of the torture of human beings authorized by, and implemented under, the Bush/Cheney administration.

I am 52 years old. I’ve lived through assassinations and wars, Watergate and Iran Contra, recessions and bubbles burst, and if you had told me there would come a day when my federal government would authorize torture in violation of its own laws and international treaty, and then neglect to investigate it, I would not have believed you.

I find it incredibly disheartening that this letter even needs to be written, but write it, I shall.

I have heard the rhetoric about wanting to move forward rather than look back, but it rings hollow to me – the mandate that the people of these United States sent in electing President Obama and a Democratic Party majority in the Congress was a clear cry for change. Even Republican officials have distanced themselves from the disastrous policies implemented by the Bush/Cheney administration – policies that have left our nation physically, financially, and morally bankrupt.

When you’ve been through a horrible battle and it’s clear that one of the principal players in your contingent has been dreadfully wounded, you do not just march on. You stop, examine their wounds, and tend to them.

In my opinion, the other wounds to our Constitution (wire-tapping, undeclared wars instigated on the basis of faulty intelligence, etc.) -- themselves no small injuries -- pale in comparison to the authorization of State-sponsored torture.

If we can stand by while people are tortured by our government, if we can know that such a thing occurred, and refuse to even investigate it, I believe that we are not a nation which has established Justice, or secured the Blessings of Liberty -- and with every report released about how the actions of the previous administration has served as a recruitment tool for those who wish to commit violence against the US and its citizens, it becomes clearer and clearer that, far from insuring domestic Tranquility and providing for the common defence, the use of torture has put both our physical safety and international standing at risk.

I will not stand by silently as my government violates law, treaty, the principles of its own Constitution, and basic human rights.

I will be writing to your office every week until investigations into torture are initiated by our federal government – even if this takes years or decades. I will speak to others and encourage them to do the same. I will blog about it and email about it. I will send letters to the United Nations asking them to enforce the Convention Against Torture, to which my country is a signatory, and in which, we have agreed to investigate these matters.

I believe that you know, deep in your heart, that we must investigate these matters, if we are to be who we say we are – a nation committed to justice, democracy, and freedom. I will speak to you, again and again, as an echo of that knowing, and I will support you, and call for others to support you, when you take action on that knowing.

I implore you, as a constituent and a fellow US citizen, to do everything you can to initiate immediate investigations of torture perpetrated by the United States government during the Bush/Cheney administration.

My letters to Obama and the UN are available at home my blog if you want some starter for your own letters. I invite you to join me in prodding Congress and the President, even if you live in a Red State (or outside the US -- non US nationals -- write to the UN!) -- if they get tons of letters, they can't tell the lie that "The American People" don't want investigations.


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