Because we’re better than this…

Turns out, more than 90% of the detainees we’re holding at Guantanemo were not picked up by US soldiers on the battlefield — they were handed over to us by tribal rivals, in exchange for a bounty our own government generously provided. But since then, we’ve been downright stingy with respect to these prisoners’ rights. Many of them have been locked up for years, some tortured, without any attempt to fully ascertain their charges or bring them to justice. 

This morning, the Senate’s debating President Bush’s proposed Terrorist Detainee Bill. Here, words from two senators whose sentiments echo my own:

“We can export freedom across the globe, but at the same time we are cutting it out in our own country. What hypocrisy!” Sen. Patrick Leahy

“Either we are a nation that stands against this cruel and unusual torture and for the rule of law. Or we are not. We cannot have it both ways.” Sen. Russ Feingold

This is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue. As a nation — as citizens in a democracy — we are better than this! 

Please, I urge you to call your Senators right away. Fight like a Patriot to protect the Constitutional provisions and moral principles on which our country was first founded. Tell your representatives how you feel about The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S.3929; HR.6054) and insist that they vote for habeas corpus protections with federal court oversight. Let them know that you expect them to take their oath to protect the Constitution seriously, that you’ll not endorse any candidate who deflects his or her responsibility to our governing documents.  

You can reach your Senators toll free at  (866) 808-0065 or find their direct dial information here. If you first want to get more background information, you might start by reading this morning’s New York Times editorial and this commentary in the Washington Post. But do hurry, as the decision’s going to be made one way or the other by the end of this week, perhaps as soon as today.

UPDATE: The final vote was 65 – 34. The legislation PASSED. While I’m stunned at the statement this makes about our country, at least I can feel a very small measure of consolation for having spoken out against this travesty. 

photo credit: Firedoglake.com

14 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this. I finally summoned the courage to make the call, something I’ve avoided because I knew I’d start weeping. And I did cry as I tried explaining to Sen. Reid’s staffer why Reid, as minority leader, needed to hold the Democrats together and refuse to compromise. Torture is not debatable. I can’t even call my senator (Salazar) because he’s proven himself spineless, time and time again. Our nation is in a very dark place.

    • We can shine a bright light on the situation, can’t we, by educating each other and spreading the word. Courage is contagious…pass it on! Thank you so much for being courageous this morning, and thanks for your encouragement, too.

    • We can shine a bright light on the situation, can’t we, by educating each other and spreading the word. Courage is contagious…pass it on! Thank you so much for being courageous this morning, and thanks for your encouragement, too.

  2. Final Vote

    I’m heartbroken but not surprised by the vote. And please do remember that you worked hard to educate and motivate other citizens to voice their opinions. If it weren’t for you, I would not have forced myself to call. Thank you again.

  3. Also, I’ve cyber-seen you around in LJ land in various blogs that I finally came over to see your blog. I also was motivated to take the few minutes to call because of your post. Thank you for the prompting.

    I came back today to finally hit the “friend” button –hope you don’t mind!

    -Cassandra

    • Hi Cassandra! I’m very happy that you added me as a friend. I’ve added you back. 🙂

      Thank you also for taking the time to call. Even though the vote didn’t go the way we wanted, we can take away the good feeling that comes of doing what we could. That’s the true spirit of a democracy! Hurray for us! 🙂

    • Hi Cassandra! I’m very happy that you added me as a friend. I’ve added you back. 🙂

      Thank you also for taking the time to call. Even though the vote didn’t go the way we wanted, we can take away the good feeling that comes of doing what we could. That’s the true spirit of a democracy! Hurray for us! 🙂

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