Tuesday, November 29, 2005

a disgrace to Colorado

November 29, 2005

Senator Wayne Allard
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Allard:

As a proud Coloradan, I was disheartened to learn that you recently voted against a measure that would have banned torture.

Whether you suffered a massive ethical lapse or have merely become a doormat for a presidency run amok, I am not certain. But your vote is an affront to the principles of our democracy. Torture is a barbaric and despicable practice.

No matter the trying circumstances of our time, there can be no justification for reprehensible conduct by the American government. This country's founding tenets cannot be cast aside when impractical, even under the duress of terrorism.

Until your recent vote, I would have thought you would agree.

To quote from your own position on human rights posted on your Web site: "The United States continues to be a leader of democracy and human rights in the international arena. ... I have worked closely with my colleagues and the current Administration to spread democracy and prevent human rights violations worldwide, regardless of people's political, ethnic or religious affiliation."

Where does torture fit into that vision, sir?

Your vote stands in stark contrast to your lip service.

Reports of torture and detainees being held indefinitely without charge or trial are rampant from Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons abroad. These practices run counter to basic civil liberties afforded American citizens.

And the United States cannot export democracy to Iraq when the very ideals cherished at home are denied to those we purport to liberate.

Abuses breed deeper hatred of American ideals abroad, particularly in Arab lands. When the recipients of these U.S. "interrogation techniques" are innocents, our conduct becomes even more apalling. This government, regrettably, cannot distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians.

During your investigation into Abu Ghraib, you asked Maj. Antonio Taguba on May 11, 2004: "Did we have terrorists in the population at this prison?" He answered: "Sir, none that we were made aware of."

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the commander at the notorious prison, said in a recent interview with salon.com that: "By the end of September (2003), they brought in just over 3,000 security detainees. And none of them were released. ... Generally, 90 percent of the security detainees behind held at Abu Ghraib were just innocent, had no information at all."

Yet nothing was done to prevent their torture. Your vote tacitly condones the torture of innocents as an unfortunate-yet-acceptable byproduct of the fight against terrorism. It also overlooks the way this administration has smugly violated countless provisions of the Geneva Convention and turned a deaf ear to concerns voiced by our international peers.

These developments, including your vote, undermine the country's moral authority to wage a war against terror.

Our allies have heard reports of our misdeeds and waned in their support of our efforts. Our enemies have used them to arouse suspicion of our intent among impartial Arabs.

If you wish to reduce the United States to the same moral ground of the extremists we fight, by all means use the same draconian tactics they do. But as the most powerful democracy in the world, we're supposed to be better than that.

A vote for torture, no matter the party or purpose, is unbecoming a United States senator. History will cast a harsh light on your decision.




At 10:23 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Did you get a response?

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Pete said...

no, i just mailed it a few days ago.


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