Dear Senator McCain,
I commend you on the work you have done on legislation clearly declaring that this great nation will not torture any person or prisoner. Your legislation is honorable, just, and critical. I congratulate and thank you on its passage. However, I fear the Presidential Administration has undermined it's message and intent.
When President Bush signed your bill into law, he issued a "signing statement" declaring that your bill could not encroach upon the powers of the Executive as defined in the Constitution.
As seen by the Administration's position on NSA wiretapping, it is clear they believe the powers of the Executive as given by the Constitution cannot be limited by the laws of Congress. I feel that the Administration can and will use the same argument in order to circumvent your legislation banning torture.
Just recently, in a case involving a man held at the Guantanamo Bay facility, the Washington Post reported the following:
"Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison."
"Justice Department lawyers argued that even if the tactics were considered in violation of McCain's language, detainees at Guantanamo would have no recourse to challenge them in court."
[source: Washington Post]
Will you let this clear violation of the spirit of your bill stand?
As you very well know, inflicting abuse and torture upon humans is not only wrong, but it is very rarely a successful means of gathering accurate and actionable intelligence. I must also quote your colleague, Senator Biden:
"I'll conclude by saying there is a reason we sign these [prisoner's rights] treaties. To protect my son in the military. That's why we have these treaties. So when Americans are captured they are not tortured. That's the reason in case anybody forgets it."
Moreover, the abuses committed by men and women wearing the American flag at Abu Ghraib, as clearly evinced by photos of the same, have served only to enrage moderates in Muslim countries, and align them against our interests.
We may have tighter security in this nation. Thankfully, we have not been struck by another terrorist attack. However, as long as our policies allow for reprehensible acts in Muslim countries on behalf of America, the ember of hatred will burn. And as long as it burns, it may ignite the entire region, and explode upon our home country.
Finally, I would like to end by quoting both the Declaration of Independence and the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
If this country was founded upon the very ideal that ALL men are equal, and all men have the unalienable right to life and happiness, then if citizens of this nation are to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment by the law of the Constitution, how is it moral to allow for cruel and unusual punishment of ANY citizen of the world? Frankly, it saddens me that you should have to legislate the treatment of persons held by our nation. Are their rights not already both implicit in the Declaration of Independence and explicit in the Constitution?
Please stand up against the Administration of President Bush and defend your bill banning torture.
not TKwong (guest)
I think McCain won't do jack nothing.
P.S. I was substantially less of McCain when the Nation sort of solidifeid what I'd suspected for a while.
Are all of your entries going to be about politics now?? BORING
Hey I am going to be in your neighborhood the weekend of March 24th, and I believe you owe me a night out.
Well, I was going to write about the pimp I saw on Chicago and Franklin, but I wanted to be sure I wasn't picked up by the blogosphere again... I mean, it would have been a weird contrast.
Yeah, I have you in my calendar. Let's get crunked.