Friday, October 01, 2004

A Moment of Your Time, Please

I don't care who you plan to vote for in November (well, I do, but that's another post), but I am going to assume that the Americans who read this blog don't approve of government-sponsered torture. After all, isn't the reason we went into Iraq (at least, the one being put forth now) that Saddam was a horrible dictator who tortured his own citizens?

Sponsors of a bill now in the House seem to think that it is okay to allow other countries to torture people suspected of having terrorist ties, and to allow us to send these suspects to these countries, knowing that they will be tortured. Apparently it wasn't the fact that Saddam tortured that was wrong, it was the fact he tortured the wrong people. They've buried it in the bill that implements the 9/11 commission recommendations, one of which was that this particular policy NOT be implemented. Even if you are someone who believes a (suspected) terrorist deserves everything bad he gets and then some, please read the blog post Making Light, which explains what "extraordinary rendition" is, who it can apply to (people with think might be associated with terrorists, whether or not there is proof), and why it is next to useless in the war on terror.

The good news is that Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts is sponsering a bill amendment that would remove this provision and outlaw it entirely. However, there are only a limited number of representatives signing on. When you click on the link above, there is a list in the comments of reps who have done so. If yours is not on this list, please write to your respresentative and ask them to support this amendment. If you don't know how to contact your rep, clicking here will send you to the government site that tells you who it is and how to do it. If you are short on time or don't know what to say, there are posts in the comment thread with examples of letters already sent whose authors have given permission for you to copy and/or amend. This bill is supposed to come up next week, so you need to do this right away in order for your voice to be heard. And if yours is on the list of supporters, drop a note to let them know they did the right thing, and it will help them to do the right thing next time too.

I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye someday and tell her that I stood up for her and for our country, and just exactly what that means. I do not want her to think that I approved of torture done in her name as well as in mine. I feel bad that I don't give as much of my time as I should trying to better the world (outside of raising a good citizen), but with two minutes I can do something. This isn't going to go away if we pretend it doesn't exist. Our government is supposed to represent us, and it is our responsibility to make sure it does. When policies like this are put into place, we all look bad.

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