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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Open Letter: The McCain Anti-Torture Amendment

Mr. Kline,

I am writing to urge you to do everything in your power to insure that the anti-torture amendment which the Senate attached to the Defense Bill become law.

It is shameful that Congress is only considering such legislation now, nearly 18 months after the shocking photos at Abu Ghraib became public. I recall the 'anger, outrage, disgust, [and] embarrassment' you felt when the scandal first broke, and you publicly declared your resolve that:

. . . something must be done. Responsibility must be taken, and punishment – severe punishment – must be assigned.

The photos of the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison reveal an environment void of accountability and supervision. We have an adage in the military: “You get what you inspect, not what you expect.” Just as the young men and women serving in our military have a responsibility to carry out orders given by their superiors, those superiors have a responsibility to ensure orders are carried out properly and clear guidance is given. For either of them to fail to live up to their obligation is at minimum a dereliction of duty. At its worst it is criminal.

It's taken too long --- 18 months too long, at least --- but Senators McCain and Graham have finally stepped forward to take responsibility and provide 'clear guidance' for proper detainee treatment. Your previous statements and your distinguished military career leave me no doubt that you agree with former Secretary of State Powell and 28 other high-ranking retired military officers that McCain's amendment must become law, so that our armed forces will be acting in a manner consistent with the principles they are fighting for, rather than descending into the depravity that we are fighting against.

Furthermore, as a member of the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel & Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, you are well-positioned to prominently champion the McCain/Graham anti-torture amendment. As an American and member of Congress, you have a moral and ethical duty to support McCain's amendment, but as a member of this subcommittee, you have a further responsibility to lead the charge and see to it that this amendment doesn't wither away as the Defense Bill goes to reconciliation.

I look forward to hearing your bold and forceful statement in support of this amendment in the days to come.


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