Dear Mr. President,
I was relieved that your Department of Justice chose to release the memos written under the Bush Administration that authorized and justified torture.
I am also very happy that you have issued an Executive Order that requires that the CIA follow the Army Field Manual strictures on interrogation of suspected terrorists.
That being said, I find that I must disagree with you in the strongest of terms, when you and the Attorney General have granted effective immunity to the CIA case officers and the contractors working for them that, in the name of the United States, tortured prisoners in our custody.
As you are well aware, torture is prohibited by both US Law and treaties that the US has signed.
You do not have the authority under our Constitution, to decide not to allow prosecution of people that might have broken both US and International law. We, as a nation, share responsibility for these crimes, but we cannot use our collective guilt to shield the individual guilt of those who justified torture, or those who authorized torture, or those who actually tortured prisoners in our custody.
I call upon you to direct the Attorney General to appoint a special counsel, similar to the special counsel appointed to investigate the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity, to investigate and prosecute as necessary the allegations that representatives of the United States Government justified, authorized, or actually committed acts of torture on prisoners in our custody, either in acknowledged locations like Abu Grahib or Guantanamo Bay or the "Black" prisons reportedly operated by the CIA.
We are a nation of laws. It is important, even critical, for us as a people and a nation to acknowledge the crimes that were committed in our name and to prosecute those who are involved.
Personally I would suspect that most juries would acquit the actual torturers because of the thin film of cover provided by the Justice Department decisions, and would (hopefully) convict those who justified and authorized actions that, despite the Justice Department decisions, were so clearly violations of US and International Law
I supported you because I hoped/thought/prayed that you really were different, that you really would take on the hard things. There is no doubt this is a hard thing.
But it is necessary that we acknowledge our mistakes and prosecute those responsible for committing acts of torture. It is necessary for us to restore our moral standing in the world to admit our mistakes and correct them.
I remain excited about almost all of what you are doing.
On this though, I beg you to reconsider your position, hard as I know that to be, and enforce the law. Let the chips fall where they may.
A Study in Varlet - Who knew that the last 25 years of conflict about the nature and condition of American Conservatism could be summarized by two short, classic film clips?...
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