Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Dear President Obama

I blame it on Jack Bauer - really I do. Somehow he introduced many of us to the idea that if you needed to stop a zealot from blowing up a whole city or releasing a nuclear bomb in 3 minutes, you had to torture the maniac. We saw Jack Bauer do it - and although it caused him personal angst, it always seemed to work. In order to keep your country safe, the former administration commenced policies that were secretive and covert - and then it appears that they lied about the policies and practices.

Miguel is making himself crazy trying to think of ways to convince you to prosecute those who allowed torture. He has been reading reports and commentaries constantly - and he has drafted a number of letters to you. It is on his mind all the time - this crazy idea of his that when you torture people in order to maintain a good and free society, the society is no longer good and free.

I have tried to tell him that the public just hasn't cared enough about this issue - that no one wants to think about it. It is the stuff that is best left to Jack Bauer. As President, you have many pressing issues to think about and prosecuting those from the past administration is down on your list.

But - I do think that more and more people are sick of what they are reading about the horrors of torture. Protest is becoming louder and more wide-spread. It isn't just civil libertarians or constitutional or legal wonks who are calling for action - there is a spreading belief that not only is torture morally wrong - but that those who were responsible for permitting it should be brought to justice. If torture was sanctioned by the Justice Department and the past administration, then they are the ones responsible.

This is an important issue. Crimes can't be buried by history - they need to be dealt with.


Sarai Pasha said...

ok... i had to look up who jack bauer was and was relieved that he was a character on a t.v. show (i thought i missed some news somewhere along the way!).

i just wanted to say that i do care about what happened with the last administration and agree that it should not be swept under the carpet!

imagine this: if it were anyone else other than the government, don't you think they would have already been prosecuted?

we live in a corrupt society. that is why i voted for change and believe that it will happen. i am patient... after eight years of torture by the bush administration, i can wait a little longer for action to take place and have complete confidence that it will!

Anonymous said...

There HAS been a sea change in public opinion about torture - it took some time, but I think that the new administration realizes it has to act. It is good that public opinion has changed on this - for it to have been ignored would have been as morally wrong as the torture itself.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know my letter is off to my President. Our printer being down, I hand printed it with my 5 typed pages ending up as 11 hand ones. All I can say is that it was a good feeling to fnally see it off.