Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Letter to Hawaii Congressional Representatives


STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT NOW!

Thirty six more American soldiers were killed in Iraq today. Bush's inaugural address indicated that he intends to widen our war in the Middle East, not end it. Democrats must, as individuals and as a group, stand up and call for an end to the horrific carnage in Iraq and the torture and violation of basic human rights which is repeatedly occurring in "Gitmo" and other private prisons around the world.

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) today released the following statement on U.S. soldiers deployed in Iraq:

"Under false pretenses, the Bush Administration took our nation to war against a country that did not pose imminent threat to our security. In Iraq today, over 1,300 U.S. soldiers and an estimated 100,000 civilians are dead. This war is costing an average of $1.6 billion taxpayer dollars every week, while the mission remains vague, the troops overstretched and under-armored, friendly Iraqis chafe at our presence and unfriendly Iraqis bomb our convoys and enclaves. Neither democracy in Iraq nor security at home has been achieved. Instead, Iraq has become, in a gruesome self-fulfilling prophecy, the ground zero for terrorism that it was not when President Bush chose to invade."

It is imperative that the Democrats in Congress unite and speak as one voice against the horrendous outrages that are taking place in Iraq. The Bush administration's continuing bombing and strafing of homes and businesses, its condoning of torture as evidenced in the Gonzales confirmation hearings is insidiously corrupting our young soldiers and destroying our moral standing in the world.

Every Democratic representative in Congress should be rising to express his/her horror at the torture and other violations of basic human and constitutional rights which are being repeated by the Bush administration on a daily basis.

Our congressional representatives need to stand up on a daily basis and tell Congress and the world that it is wrong to hold any person for years without criminal charges being brought before a neutral magistrate. It is wrong and violative of our eighth amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment to permit anyone in our government to subject any person to near drowning by "water-boarding", to subject anyone to naked exposure to extremes of heat and cold, to deprive anyone of sleep through relentless repetitions of loud music and glaring lights, to subject anyone to sexual humiliations, let alone rape and sodomy. Were these same conditions imposed on captured American soldiers, we would certainly call it torture.

The American Civil Liberties Union has posted numerous documents on their website obtained from government agencies which detail the horrific treatment our government has allowed to occur during our "war against terror". These documents should be read aloud daily in Congress and investigations conducted.

We cannot allow our government to continue these practices or we will be just like the good German people who ignored the vicious practices of the Nazis in the 1930's. The failure of the German people and their elected representatives to actively protest the policies of Hitler and his cult followers facilitated Hitler's invasions of other European countries and directly contributed to the murders of well over six million people in Hitler's extermination camps.

Yesterday there were commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz prison sixty years ago, one of a number of prisons where the Nazis gassed , tortured and exploited the labor of hundreds of thousands of their "detainees".

When will we liberate the detainees in Abu Graib, Gitmo, and all our other prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Diego Garcia, and our "secret" prisons elsewhere in the world from the illegal practices of the Bush Administration?"

If every member rose every day that Congress is in session and read from the ACLU documents or from his or her own personal protest of the inhuman and unconstitutional practices of Bush, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Rice and their assorted deputies in the Pentagon, CIA and FBI, perhaps enough of the Republican members of Congress would be sufficiently ashamed to vote to end these practices once and for all.

If enough Republicans did not feel sufficiently ashamed to act, then perhaps, if the proceedings of Congress were daily taken up with recitations against Bush's practices, then the Republicans might be motivated to act against the illegal practices simply in order to get their other legislation passed.

In short, the Democrats, one by one, need to conduct a daily "teach-in" on the evil practices of this administration until those practices are stopped. We should not allow another bill to be passed while the torture and violation of basic rights continues.

Bush has turned our country into a rogue, terrorist nation. We Democrats must unite and speak as one voice to stop Bush's terrorism and restore the rule of law in America.

-30-


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