Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sen. Menendez D-NJ Gives Us An Example

There was a lot of talk at #futureruby last week about George Orwell's essay, "Politics & The English Language," and how it is important to resist the vacuousness of modern English because it allows politicians and public figures to quite literally get away with murder:

If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Well, a friend of mine just received the e-mail from his senator, Robert Menendez (D-NJ):

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for prosecuting officials involved in cases of detainee torture under the Bush Administration. Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this vital issue.

I believe that protecting the American people is Congress' most sacred responsibility. In doing so, however, we must not compromise the values and virtues of our nation and our constitution. These values were broken under the Bush Administration with policies such as indefinitely detaining individuals while subjecting them to cruel and inhumane interrogation tactics, damaging our reputation around the world, and putting our own soldiers at increased risk.

In order to remedy these affronts to American values, some in Congress have proposed creating a special commission to investigate the harsh interrogation methods that the Bush administration approved for terrorism suspects. However, there is division among the current Administration and these congressional leaders as President Obama has expressed a need to wait for the results of an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The President has already moved to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted and desires to protect those officials that followed the legal advice in good faith from punishment. The question of how best to deal with the decisions of the previous Administration has been, and continues to be, widely debated in Washington and across the country.

On this, as with any issue, there are many different views on how to address the behavior of these government officials. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as I work with colleagues to provide the tools to defend America from our enemies, while never ceding our standing as a nation of freedom and justice.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. This issue is very important to me, and I appreciate your support. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of concern. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about my work in the United States Senate.

Throughout five paragraphs and 354 words, Menendez manages to avoid saying anything at all, and not once does he use the word torture.

If you want to help push accountability for torture, this is the place to start.


Gonul said...

What's this a response to?

Gonul said...

And I mean beyond the senator's framing of your friend's issue.