The letter below appeared in the 12/21/08 edition of the Birmingham and W. Bloomfield Eccentrics.
Speak up on injustice
As President Bush and Vice President Cheney give their exit interviews, we are being treated to what we haven't had for eight long years - some honesty.
America has suffered through eight years of the highest level of incompetence I can remember at the actual job of governing this country. We have also suffered at the hands of criminals and the ringleaders, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who may have pulled off the crime of the century, and not only does it look like they will get away with it, it looks like they're not even going to be charged or prosecuted.
In an interview with ABC News on national television, Cheney confessed that he authorized the use of torture. Imagine an average citizen confessing to murder on national television and not being charged. The Bush administration's "Department of Justice" provided the legal cover to push forward with torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Torture is a war crime, plain and simple, that the United States has prosecuted in the past and must prosecute against our own leaders now, in order to even begin to restore some semblance of moral authority in the world.
We, the citizens of the United States of America, must hold our leaders accountable. Democracy is dependent upon citizens speaking out on issues of importance, and even though we are in the middle of an economic crisis of gargantuan proportions, the lawlessness of the Bush administration simply cannot go unpunished.
A few months ago, President-elect Obama's nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder was even more explicit. "Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution," he said. "We owe the American people a reckoning."
In order to start with a clean slate and restore our Constitution and our moral authority in the world, we must encourage our new leader to listen to the people and numerous criminal experts, that these crimes against humanity cannot go unpunished. We must speak up with a unified voice and say with clarity, we demand that these crimes be punished.
President Obama is listening, but if we the people remain silent we will all pay a price.