Since the beginning of the new Presidency, the Obama White House has invited all of us to submit our ideas, comment on policy, ask questions & send well-wishes to our Chief Executive and his administration. Even though I have dozens of tasks on my to-do list this week, I felt compelled to write a letter to the President which I've reposted in its entirety below. I welcome your comments.
It is with great sadness that I write this message to you today, President Obama. Everyday, I remember and mourn the loss of the thousands of American Troops, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi & Afghani civilians, and countless others who have been irreparably damaged by the scourge of war. I grieve, too, for the thousands of victims of violence here in our country- young & old, poor & wealthy, all races, genders, and cultures. Your decision to forego prosecution of those in the previous administration who saw fit to manipulate and parse the language of domestic law and international treaties in order to justify the use of TORTURE by the U.S. and our proxies has added an additional layer of grief to my already heavy load.
How can we move forward, as a nation, with any sense of moral standing if we do not demand investigations and prosecutions of the misguided and short-sighted policies of former U.S. officials? How can we counter the argument made by those who seek to do the same that the U.S. has engaged and continues to engage in such acts and, therefore, has no grounds for demanding otherwise from any other nation? How will we prevent our children from believing in the twisted logic of those who've legitimized these acts in terms of 'ends justifying the means?' The majority of Americans would like to see our Justice Department engaged in investigations and prosecutions of those who devised and implemented policies of TORTURE. We are willing to invest our tax dollars in such investigations and prosecutions. We understand the legacy of inaction will be felt by this and subsequent generations of U.S. citizens as our standing among the world's nations continues to erode. We believe there is great value to "laying blame for the past" in these cases- in fact, isn't our entire system of JUSTICE based on discovering who is to blame for wrongdoing and humanely prosecuting them for their crimes? Without action on this from you, future leaders and their administrations are considerably more likely to act in ways that further debase the United States of America and her citizens, with the almost certain risk that those who seek to do harm to the U.S. will foment hatred and a lust for vengeance among their followers by citing our own transgressions as justification for horrifying acts.
I campaigned for you, Mr. President- made donations, knocked on doors, made phone calls. I plastered my car, computer, and clothes with your name and your message of CHANGE. Millions of Americans did the same in the hope that the gross misconduct of the previous administration would be exposed and the criminals responsible brought to justice so we could move forward, as a nation, secure in the knowledge that no one is above the law and the system actually works. As painfully naive as all of this may have been, it was that idealistic vein that you and your campaign tapped, resulting in your election. It was that idealistic vision that you have eloquently expressed hundreds of times in your books & speeches. It is that idealistic foundation that made America different- once. We've all lost so much. I know I don't grieve alone. There are millions of us looking to you to LEAD us toward a brighter future- one in which TORTURE is not the policy of our government and those who have violated the Constitution are humanely prosecuted for their crimes- no matter who they are. Take this all-important step so that we all might begin to heal and move into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of shared commitment to the most cherished American ideal- JUSTICE.