UPDATE: I almost don't know what to say.
While I knew and believed in Dan for the over thirty years that I knew him, and continue to believe in him with all my heart, I have been convinced that I should do some research on his history as a POW, before I continue this mission on his behalf.
I am so, so, so sorry that I have spoken before perhaps I should. Please know that the support I have received from each and every one of you has touched my heart deeply and that I still believe firmly in stopping torture as the law, policy and practice of the United States.
Please don't stop telling your senators and congressional representatives:
NOT IN MY NAME!
NEVER IN MY NAME!
I will post a diary once I have more details confirmed.
With heart-broken apologies,
As detailed on the front page, the House of Representatives voted today to prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding during their interrogations. This bill now moves to the Senate.
As many of you know, my husband, Danny Lee Stecher, was a Vietnam vet and POW who was tortured by his North Vietnamese captors. He suffered from his injuries for over thirty years, until his fatal heart attack two years ago.
When Dan got back to the US he had to have all of his toenails removed three times, because of the bamboo poisoning where they had inflicted pain to try to get him to talk. He still had the infection when he died. He had scars all over his body where they had beaten and cut him.
But the worst effects were psychological and emotional. He would scream in his sleep or speak urgently in Vietnamese (which he had been taught as part of his training) begging whoever he was talking to to stop. There was never enough food in the house to fill the psychological hole left by the food deprivation.
Since his death, it has become the mission of my life to stop torture as the law, policy and practice of the United States. Because let there be no doubt, people are being tortured in the name of EVERY American as we speak.
Before that vote in the Senate, I think the Senators need to hear what torture REALLY is and how it effects the survivors and their families. I think they need to hear it live and in person. I have a plane ticket, thanks to a very generous Kossack, but I need YOUR help to get put on the panel. If YOU would take time out of your day, tonight or tomorrow, and ask your Senators to ask that I be on the panel when it is created, I would be truly grateful.
Dan deserves to have his story heard. Torture as the law, policy and practice of the United States is NOT what he fought for. It's not what he gave his physical health for. It's NOT what he gave his mental health for. Please help me give him the legacy he deserves.
Torture is ALWAYS wrong no matter who is doing it to whom.