[From Prof. Robert Crawford, University of Washington-Tacoma, regarding the Mar. 8, 2008, veto by President George W. Bush of the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report (HR2082) to participants in the Washington State Religious Campaign against Torture]
March 10, 2008
SUBJECT: WSRCAT -- URGENT ACTION ON PRESIDENT'S VETO
Dear WSRCAT participants:
As I am sure you are aware, the president, as expected, has vetoed the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report (HR 2082), that contains sections 327, specifically outlawing waterboarding and demanding that all U.S. personnel conform to the Army Field Manual regarding interrogation techniques. It was an important piece of legislation moving America toward rejecting the policies of torture embraced by this administration.
The president's veto is receiving strong international condemnation this morning.
We need to respond and respond quickly. There have been some conversations between a few of us last night and this morning and what is to be done. We would like to expand that conversation.
We have have discussed several options, including a press conference and a vigil, but must also be realistic about where we are as an organization -- what we are actually able to do in the short run.
We are sure of this: WSRCAT, along with NRCAT, must make a strong statement and act to let it be known that the interfaith community of Washington will not tolerate these illegal actions; WE MUST REJECT THE ENDORSEMENT OF TORTURE BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!
If not now, when?
For those who would like to be involved in the decision-making process about our response, please email me ASAP and we will start an email conversation and perhaps a conference call or a physical meeting (if this last is conceivable; it may not be).
In the meantime, there is SOMETHING WE CAN ALL DO IMMEDIATELY. Tom Ewell is heading up our "turn up the heat" committee, established at our last WSRCAT meeting. (Notes coming out soon; and mark your calendar now for our next WSRCAT Meeting -- Monday, 3/31, 10:00-noon). Those of you who have met Tom know about his high energy and experience in lobbying our Congressional delegations on the torture issue. Tom is organizing us to do just that NOW.
The challenge, admittedly huge, is to get Congress to override the veto. There may be a vote as early as tomorrow, and most likely this week. I have just now talked with Matt Hawthorne, NRCAT's legislative representative in Washington, DC. He says that in order to override, we must pick up about 80 Republican votes. What did I say about the challenge? The vote will be in the House, not the Senate.
Even if we lose the override, our voice on this will be an important stepping stone to what follows.
Here are Washington State's Congressional Reps, their phone numbers, and how they voted on 2080. CALL THEM. REINFORCE THEIR VOTE IF THEY VOTED YES ON 2080. IF THEY VOTED NO, TELL THEM THEY MUST UPHOLD THE LAW AND SAVE AMERICA FROM DISGRACE AND SHAME. SAY YOU ARE MEMBERS OF WASHINGTON STATE RELIGIOUS CAMPAIGN AGAINST TORTURE, AFFIILIATED WITH THE NATIONAL RELIGIOUS CAMPAIGN AGAINST TORTURE.
Jay Inslee, 1st Dist. Dem. Voted Yes. 202-225-6311
Rick Larson, 2nd Dist. Dem. Voted Yes. 202-225-2605
Brian Baird, 3rd Dist. Dem Voted Yes 202-225-3536
Doc Hastings, 4th Dist. Rep. Voted No 202-225-5816
Cathy McMorris Rogers 5th Dist. Rep. Voted No 202-225-2006
Norm Dicks, 6th Dist. Dem. Voted Yes 202-225-5916
Jim McDermott, 7th Dist. Dem. Voted Yes 202-225-3106
Dave Reichert, 8th Dist. Rep. Voted No 202-225-7761
Adam Smith, 9th Dist. Dem. Voted Yes 202-225-8901
It is, of course, the three no voters that should really feel our heat! Tom Ewell will be coordinating our efforts. Please contact him if you have questions
NRCAT is in the process of releasing a statement on the president's veto, which I will forward as soon as I see it.
This is a crucial moment in our standing up against torture!
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
University of Washington, Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: (253) 692-4460