It’s not too late

by Ted on October 20, 2004

Bush is pushing Congressional leaders to pass the 9/11 Commission bill as soon as possible. The bill is in conference now. Katherine has a good post about the language re: outsourcing torture in the House bill. (The Senate bill has no such language.) It’s an exemplar of the saying, “Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays virtue”. Under the House bill, we’d still ship suspects to countries where they could expect to be tortured (like we did with Maher Arar). But we’d first get worthless assurances that the suspect wouldn’t be tortured (like we did with Maher Arar). Outsourcing torture is not only immoral, it’s irrational- since when do we trust Syria? Says Katherine:

It had occurred to me that even if one accepted that torture was good policy, it did not make much sense to rely on countries like Syria and Egypt to interrogate suspects under torture for us and faithfully describe their confessions. At a minimum, they were likely to exploit it to harm domestic opponents as well as dangerous terrorists.

We have an opportunity to contact the members of conference committee to politely let our concerns be heard. Here they are.

House Democrats:

Robert Menendez (NJ)
Jane Harman (CA)
Ike Skelton (MO)

House Republicans:

David Drier (CA)
Pete Hoekstra (MI)
Henry Hyde (IL)
James Sensenbrenner (WI)
Duncan Hunter (CA)

Senate Democrats

Joe Lieberman (CT)

Carl Levin (MI)

Dick Durbin (IL)

Jay Rockefeller (WV)

Bob Graham (FL)
Frank Lautenberg (NJ)

Senate Republicans

Susan Collins (ME)
George Voinovich (OH)
Norm Coleman (MN)
John Sununu (NH)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Mike DeWine (OH)
Trent Lott (MS)



maurinsky 10.20.04 at 5:10 pm

Well, I could write to my senator, Mr. Lieberman, but it would be fruitless, because no matter what I send to him, I always get a “thank you for supporting Joe Lieberman” letter in reply, with no indication that the content of my letter was understood and noted.


djw 10.20.04 at 5:37 pm

The good news is those are some of the more independent and sane Republicans in the Senate (Collins, Voinovich, Sununu). The question to ask the House leaders: “Are you really willing to scuttle an important bill with a really popular sounding name if you can’t legalize outsourcing torture?” I can’t imagine the answer would be yes, but then I can’t imagine why they put this in the bill in the first place, so what do I know?


bncthor 10.20.04 at 5:49 pm

I would like for an advocate of the use of torture – outsourced or not – to explain how such makes a nation or society safer, in the past, now, or in the future.


jet 10.20.04 at 6:08 pm

I’ll bet the farm that the bill or that portion is scuttled. Probably only because the arguements you are making now would be made by their oppenents in the next round of elections, not because of any moral complication with torture. We are, after all, speaking of politicians, whose morality is, at best, deeply suspect.

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