Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dear Karen

In today Sidney Blumenthal, writer and former Clinton advisor, published an open letter written to Karen Hughes. Hughes is currently in the State Dept. holding a newly created post of Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She is also one of the oldest members of Bush's coterie from the Texas days still left in the administration. The letter invites Hughes to a private screening of "Taxi to The Dark Side", a documentary about the administration's torture policies and urges her to use her influence with Bush to alter his current policy on torture. That policy can be boiled down to denying that we torture but approving specific 'interrogation techniques' that any reasonable person would define as torture. In the end of the letter, Blumenthal describes to Hughes what her choices are:

"While you are rethinking how to calm fears and rebuild America's image as a global leader perhaps you ought to begin to think of yourself not as a tool of the Bush administration but as a citizen of the world, not as a propagandist, constantly trying to formulate a hollow ideological phrase or distraction, but as someone who can admit mistakes and correct them."
"If you receive this letter as simply a partisan broadside and can't envision your transformation into a true diplomat at large, an envoy of healing, perhaps you should just resign. Nothing will be served by continuing on your current course. Nothing different will happen. You might as well return to Texas now. To date, your diplomacy has consisted of excuses for leaving the damage to the next president to remedy." ( 10/11/07)

How have we come to this point? The administration, in defiance of international law, U.S. court decisions and public opinion continues to torture. They justify this by defining the word torture so narrowly as to effectively remove it from the vocabulary. Indeed, many professional interrogation experts like Col. Stuart Herrington, say that the current techniques in use are basically useless and mostly counter-productive.

History will definitely view this president's record with regards to civil liberties alongside the shameful examples of The Red scare of the 1920s, the Japanese-American interment in 1942 and McCarthy-ism in the 1950s. Many would argue that it is worse than any of these. I tend to agree.

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