President Bush's "Decision Points" LTE

RESOURCES
OP-EDS
- "An Open Letter to President Bush Regarding Torture" by Rev. Richard Cizik
- "Bush's Defense of Torture Incomprehensible, Unchristian" by Rev. Michael Kinnamon
- The Buffalo News: "U. S. must vow ‘never again’ on brutal techniques" by Stephen Hart
EDITORIALS
- Washington Post: "Damn Wrong"
NEWS ARTICLES
- "In interview, Bush defends Iraq war and waterboarding" Washington Post
- "George W Bush claims UK lives 'saved by waterboarding'" BBC
- "Former British intelligence chairman all but calls Bush liar, says waterboarding didn’t stop terror plots" The Raw Story
- New York Times book review
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PUBLISHED
- Appleton Post-Crescent: "Waterboarding is torture and should be banned" by Rev. Stephen Savides
- Ames Tribune: "Sad departure from moral truth" by James H Jorgensen
- Arizona Republic: "Bush out of line for ordering torture" by Philip Gates
- Anchorage Daily News: "America must hold firmly to its history of not tolerating torture" by Robyn Lauster
- The Buffalo News: "America must act to outlaw torture" by Gail Radford
- The Buffalo News: "Waterboarding is torture and should be outlawed" by Patricia K. Townsend
- Contra Costa Times: "Prevent Torture" by Paul Karsh
- Contra Costa Times: "Rule of Law?" by Louise Specht
- Contra Costa Times: "Torture" by Ron and Linda Elsdon
- The Daily Courier: "Torture should never be U.S. option" by Philip Gates
- Daily Herald: "U.S.-sponsored torture must end" by Fr. Corey Brost, CSV; Br. Michael Gosch, CSV; Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV
- Dallas Morning News: "The question of waterboarding" by Kelli Anne Busey
- The Day: "Investigate torture use to prevent it in future" by Fr. Russ Carmichael
- Detroit Free Press: "Torture hurts us all" by Kathleen Peabody
- The Herald News: "Torture is never an appropriate U.S. action" by Social Justice Committee, St. Patrick’s Church, Somerset
- Herald & Review: "Bush’s defense of water boarding is unfortunate" by Hugh Bridgeford
- Kennnebec Journal: "‘Torture does not make us safer; it makes us a target’" by Father Frank Morin
- Lake Stevens Journal: "Torture is not only illegal but immoral " by Bruce Morton
- The Ledger: "Look Into Torture by U.S." by Gregory Esteve
- Macon Telegraph: "No moral standard" by Paul S. Davison
- Miami Herald: "Protest torture" Frances Keiper
- The News of Cumberland County: "Bush torture comment sad reminder" by John C. Maun
- Oakland Tribune: "Moral character" by Geoffrey Gaskins
- The Oregonian: "What kind of people are we, anyway?" by Manny Hotchkiss
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "Torture is never morally defensible" by Rev. Charlotte Penfield Gosselink
- Pocono Record: "Torture: sad departure from moral truth" by Rev. James R. Bridges
- Portland Press Herald: "Torture, legal or not, is always wrong" by Rev. Elsa A. Peters
- The Post Standard: "Bush and torture are just wrong" by Judy Moreland
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Admission of Torture Demands Investigation" by Stephen Long
- San Jose Mercury News: "Bush accountable for use of torture" by Connie Hunter
- Sheboygan Press: "Torture is immoral, illegal and damages credibility"
- Statesman Journal: "Torture is a crime; Bush should be tried" by Renee Stringham
- The Tennessean: "Torture does not make us safer — only a target" by B.E. Mead­ows

In President George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points, the former president claims that he said "damn right" when the CIA asked for permission to torture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by waterboarding him. He also admitted to authorizing waterboarding for other "senior al Qaeda leaders."

With appearances on a one hour NBC interview with Matt Lauer on November 8, Oprah on November 9, and a book tour, articles will appear in newspapers and blogs across the country. This is a great opportunity to submit a letter to the editor.

A sample letter is provided below. Please re-write it in order to make it relevant to your newspaper and your community. We’ve also prepared suggestions in the form of talking points. Please let us know you submitted a letter to the editor - use this report form

Letters should be short and direct. If at all possible, they should refer to an article that was recently printed in your local newspaper. You can check your newspaper's website or call or email the Editorial Department to find out the best way to submit your letter and any guidelines they might have for writing letters. Many newspapers may have word limits or deadlines for responding to articles. Don't submit your letter to more than one newspaper at a time.

SAMPLE LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor:

In his new biography, Decision Points, former President George W. Bush claims he responded with "damn right" when asked if the CIA should torture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by waterboarding him.  This defense of torture is a sad departure from a moral truth, enshrined in all faiths, that torture is always wrong. All human beings are endowed with dignity and worth which should be preserved rather than destroyed.

Torture does not make us safer; instead its use inspires extremists and victims of torture frequently provide false information. Torture does not make us safer; it makes us a target.

Torture is also against the law. Our nation has ratified the Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the use of torture.

President Bush has admitted to authorizing the use of waterboarding, a technique that violates our nation’s morals and our laws.  There is consequently a profound question before the American people: Should we as a nation hold accountable those who violated U.S. law and our most fundamental moral standards?

I join with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to call for a comprehensive investigation of our nation’s use of torture.  Only then can we understand how to prevent it from happening in the future. 

Sincerely,
Name
Address
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Please let us know you submitted a letter to the editor - use this report form. If your letter is published in your local newspaper, please let us know by sending a copy of your letter to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

TALKING POINTS

  • In President George W. Bush’s new memoir, Decision Points, the former president claims that he said "damn right" when the CIA asked for permission to torture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by waterboarding him. He also admitted to authorizing waterboarding for other "senior al Qaeda leaders."
  • There is a profound question before the American people: Should we as a nation hold accountable those who violated U.S. law and our most fundamental moral standards?
  • Waterboarding is unquestionably torture. It was administered to produce severe mental and physical anguish, and it was done so to scare the victim into a desperate condition where he would reveal critical information. It is torture under the definition in the UN Convention Against Torture; it was torture under the terms by which we prosecuted our own soldiers in the war in Vietnam and Japanese soldiers after World War II, and it's torture under any application of common sense.
  • Torture is wrong, unequivocally wrong. It is illegal, immoral, and unjustifiable under any and all conditions. It degrades everyone involved -- policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation's most cherished ideals. The 290 religious organizations that belong to the National Religious Campaign Against Torture affirm that position.
  • The United States said when it reported on torture to the United Nations in 1999 as part of our obligation under the UN Convention Against Torture which is U.S. law (p.4-5 in the report):
    "Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offence under the law of the United States. No official of the Government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture."
  • Former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney both claim that the torture they ordered made America safer. The excuse that they used was that waterboarding "saved lives," which is wholly inadequate and unjustifiable. U.S.-sponsored torture has cost innumerable lives of both American soldiers and civilians, because it has inspired extremists to commit acts of terror against us. It has cost us dearly. Torture does not make us safer; it makes us more of a target.
  • The United States must establish a Commission of Inquiry that fully investigates all aspects of the use of torture by the United States to ensure that U.S.-sponsored torture never happens again.
 
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