Weekly Torture Action Letter 16 – Dear Friends And Family

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Welcome to the Dog’s on going letter writing campaign for torture accountability. Most Monday’s we write to the decision makers in the nation in order to prod them in the right direction on the issue of torture. How it works is the Dog provides the letter and the links and you provide the action by either cutting and pasting the letter or writing your own.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

This week we are going to do something a little different. It is going to require a higher level of commitment from everyone who sends these letters; this week we are going to write our families and friends. This is an important thing to do as we need the support of the people of this nation if we are going to move the issue forward it has to come from the people as well as the decision makers.

The Dog knows there are a lot of people whose family don’t care about this issue or are more conservative than those reading this post. It is going to start a lot of conversations that are not pleasant, the Dog is sure of this. However, the issue of rule of law and accountability for torture is a deeply unpleasant one and needs conversation if it is to be resolved.

Below is the letter the Dog is sending to the 158 people in his friends and family e-mail list. Please use it the same way for yours.

Dear Friends and Family;

I write you today because we need to talk about something which most of us would rather not discuss. I don’t take any pleasure in doing this, but it is something that we can not just ignore in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. This issue is the very real need for complete investigation into alleged torture committed by the United States.

I know there are going to be many of you who will say “There are a lot more important things we need to focus on!”, but please let me explain why I feel so strongly that we must take action on this issue. First let me explain why this is a crime.

We have a federal statute which makes torture a crime punishable by up to 8 years in prison. Torture is not defined in that statute, but it is defined in the International Conventions Against Torture. One particular act, know as waterboarding, has been found by our courts and other courts world wide as torture. We know, from the under oath testimony and from documents released by the Obama Administration that the United States waterboarded three men. We know that two of them were waterboarded 183 times and 80 times respectively in one month. This evidence of a crime, that should be investigated

Why should we investigate?  First and foremost there is the need for us, as a nation, to follow our own laws. If anyone of you reading this were accused of such a serious crime, there is no doubt you would be investigated and if there were evidence you did it, you would be charged and tried. The idea we are all the same before the law is one that has to be preserved if we are to have our country be what we all want it to be.

Second, there is a need to know what we did, even if we do not in the end charge or prosecute anyone. This is important so we understand what steps are taken in our names. All of us want to be safe, but we have a responsibility as citizens for what our nation does in the name of our safety. If we do not investigate we will never know what we are taking responsibility for.

Finally, though it should have been first, there is the humanitarian point. Torture is illegal not because it does not make people talk. They do talk, though you never know if it if to make the torture stop and they are just telling you what you want to hear. No, torture is illegal because it is a heinous crime against humanity. It strips a person of all dignity, all hope and makes them live in total fear of their torturers. This is something so horrible, no person should ever do it and no nation should ever condone it. If we fail to look into the credible allegations of this crime, we very nearly assure it will be repeated in the future.

I love my country. I consider myself a patriot. It is for this reason that I ask you to make your voice heard beside mine on this issue. We have had a grave stain put on our national honor. That we did it out of fear is not an excuse. That we will cause divisions in our nation by looking at it is not an excuse for failing to do so. That we will re-anger the world is not an excuse for cleaning up our own mess. We like to think America is special and we are special as Americans. This can only be true if we do the right thing and investigate torture.

If you want to take the next step and act, please write me back and I will put you in touch with the groups I work with on this issue. Thank you for your time and consideration on this issue.


There it is. If you have never sent a single letter, please send this one. It might provoke some tense e-mail exchanges, but if we all find even one person who will start to take this issue as their own, think of the amount of change we can create.

The floor is yours.  


Skip to comment form

  1. we need to be talking to everyone about it.  

  2. Ill do this for mine, but I dont have 158! ha ha. And I might do two different ones… I have a batch of evangelicals I have to deal with. In light of that, let me toss this in the mix for you:

    Nat’l Religious Campaign Against Torture.

    HERE is their comprehensive list of their membership org’s.

    Great letter, Dog.  

    … hear not here. 🙂

    Finally, though it should have been first, there is the humanitarian point. Torture is illegal not because it does not make people talk. They do talk, though you never know if it if to make the torture stop and they are just telling you what you want to here.

    damn nuns.


    • Edger on July 6, 2009 at 19:59

    I also put it on reddit for you, too, so hopefully there’ll be more than 158 people who see it there… and I’ll send it to the OOIBC list as well.

Comments have been disabled.