Hillary Clinton Presses Bush to End Torture

Here's a letter Hillary Clinton sent to George Bush today...I'm surprised I haven't read about it anywhere.
Clinton Calls on President to Support Humane and Effective Standards for Interrogation, Urges President to Remove Veto Threat from Intelligence Authorization Bill

Washington, DC—Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today called on President Bush to remove his threat to veto the Fiscal Year 2008 Intelligence Authorization Bill, which applies the U.S. Army standards for interrogation to U.S. intelligence agencies and contractors, and bans the practice of waterboarding. In a letter to the President, Senator Clinton urged him to live up to the standards that America has promoted around the world.

“Our nation and our President must strongly and unequivocally stand for the rule of law—especially when we are under threat from an enemy that embodies the antithesis of our values,” Senator Clinton wrote. “In the process of accomplishing what is essential for our security, we must hold onto our values and set an example we can point to with pride, not shame.”

The text of Senator Clinton’s letter is below the fold:

February 12, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Nothing is more damaging to our moral authority and global standing than a failure to live up to the standards that we have embraced and promoted around the world.

I write you today to urge you to stand for American values and remove your threat to veto the FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Bill (H.R. 2082). I urge you to support the humane and effective standards for interrogation adopted by the U.S. Army; to reverse your opposition to applying these standards to the intelligence agencies, including the CIA and private contractors; and to unequivocally oppose practices like waterboarding, which are immoral, illegal, ineffective, and un-American.

I have met and spoken with some of our nation's most experienced and respected military leaders. They have told me that "torture is unlikely to produce accurate or actionable intelligence," and can damage our security by producing false information. Many studies, including a 2006 report by the Intelligence Science Board, have reached conclusions that support this view. I believe, as do the military leaders I have consulted, that any sign of wavering on this issue by the Commander-in-Chief "will drop down the chain of command like a stone, and the rare exception will fast become the rule."

Our nation and our President must strongly and unequivocally stand for the rule of law – especially when we are under threat from an enemy that embodies the antithesis of our values. In the process of accomplishing what is essential for our security, we must hold onto our values and set an example we can point to with pride, not shame.

Torture is morally wrong. It is against the law. It betrays our most fundamental values, damages our credibility around the world, and harms U.S. national security. I strongly urge you to bring the CIA into conformity with our values and principles by requiring that it abide by the Army Field Manual’s interrogation techniques.

I am confident that whoever occupies the White House next January – Democrat or Republican – will take this important step and apply a single humane and effective standard of treatment that applies to the entire U.S. government. You have an opportunity to put our country on the right course now, so that the United States can once again lead by example.


Hillary Clinton

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    Well done. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by s5 on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:44:11 PM EST
    But opposing torture is hardly courageous. It should be considered the baseline for admission into the human race.

    Anyway, it probably didn't get covered because the story of the day was the vote for telecom immunity. Interesting to note that Obama voted right, McCain voted wrong, and Clinton did not vote. Which lines up exactly with my expectations for how each would perform as president.

    Also interesting, while the candidate of empty rhetoric was sticking up for what's right in the Senate, the candidate of getting stuff done spent the day writing a letter that no one will read. I have great respect for Hillary Clinton, but the sum total of today's events demonstrate to me why the presidency is not the right job for her.

    When we find ourselves (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:02:08 PM EST
    applauding American politicians for opposing torture, something is terribly wrong. It should go without saying that America is anti-torture.

    obama wasn't there for the vote (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:46:32 PM EST
    he left before it, see my new post and the roll call vote.

    Second attempt (none / 0) (#12)
    by s5 on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:56:47 PM EST
    This article shows his vote against telecom immunity, and here is the roll call linked from the article.

    i replied in the other thread... (none / 0) (#13)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:57:38 PM EST
    ... but Obama voted on the Dodd amendment, but not the actual bill.

    Clinton did not vote on either.


    This is why (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kathy on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:25:27 PM EST
    she should be president.

    Torture is a national disgrace.  Not in my name.

    Nicely Done (none / 0) (#2)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:27:29 PM EST
    Good work from Clinton.  She was also excellent on the Military Commissions Act.

    Of Course (none / 0) (#3)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:28:56 PM EST
    I'll like it even better if she fights to keep the restrictions in the approps bill since god knows if the Republicans stamp their feet and threaten veto loudly enough at least a dozen Democrats will scurry over to the other side.  Wouldn't want to appear partisan.

    It's disappointing that she missed (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:35:48 PM EST
    the FISA votes today.

    So did Obama (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:44:53 PM EST
    He left before the vote. It wouldn't have mattered, it lost 68 to 29, see my new post. And she released a good statement about it.

    he was there for the vote this am (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:32:16 PM EST
    on the telecom immunity amendment but missed the vote this afternoon on the passage of the bill with the telecom immunity in it. See new post here.

    I completely agree with Hillary (none / 0) (#5)
    by athyrio on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:36:16 PM EST
    Way to go girlfriend!!!!

    Please repost without the links (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:54:52 PM EST
    s5, I have to delete your comment, the link is too long. You linked to this article and the roll call vote for the amendment.

    He voted for the amendment this morning, not the vote passing the bill this afternoon.

    Every member of the House, (none / 0) (#18)
    by kenoshaMarge on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 09:02:54 AM EST
    every member of the Senate and every elected official in the government of the United States needs to do what Hillary Clinton did. They all need to stand up and be counted and to state unequivocally where they stand on the issue of torture. No more Mukasy corkscrews, screwball word parsing games. Every decent American needs to know where their government is on the issue of torture. It is against our laws. Anyone, and that includes our corrupt Attorney General must state for the record where they stand.

    I have no doubt that his royal manianess is against torture too. I just want to hear it loud and clear and without spin. After all, it is the law even if the Top Cop, our Attorney General, doesn't know that. One more thing we have to thank the useless Democrats we elected for.

    Oh and why is it that while there was Obama dancing in the street when that fine new liberal from Missouri, Claire McCaskill endorsed him, there is little mention of the fact that McCaskill voted FOR telecon immunity. Not my idea of a progressive or a decent American.

    I suppose we take her on her word (none / 0) (#20)
    by noodles on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 01:11:07 PM EST
    P.S. I'm hopeful that Hillary is sincere and now truly opposes torture. Personally, I would prefer had she always been anti-torture rather than pro-torture in limited circumstances. But I certainly cannot criticize a "flop-flop" of that sort.

    Terrorism (none / 0) (#21)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 01:49:46 PM EST
    and then theres been the ongoing percieved threat of New Deal like reform movements, i.e., "revoloution" in the developing world, which have always been a lightening rod for the C.I.A in it's "U.S interests" protecting function.

    The secret history of torture and rendition goes back a long way

    today (none / 0) (#22)
    by noodles on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 02:53:42 PM EST
    RE: The secret history of torture and rendition goes back a long way

    Granted. But TODAY on this issue we have a choice between Obama and Clinton. Obama has always opposed torture while Clinton now opposes but previously approved.

    OBAMA: The secret authorization of brutal interrogations is an outrageous betrayal of our core values, and a grave danger to our security. We must do whatever it takes to track down and capture or kill terrorists, but torture is not a part of the answer - it is a fundamental part of the problem with this administration's approach. Torture is how you create enemies, not how you defeat them. Torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence. Torture is how you set back America's standing in the world, not how you strengthen it. It's time to tell the world that America rejects torture without exception or equivocation. It's time to stop telling the American people one thing in public while doing something else in the shadows. No more secret authorization of methods like simulated drowning. When I am president America will once again be the country that stands up to these deplorable tactics. When I am president we won't work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution, we will be straight with the American people and true to our values,


    CLINTON: She was asked about the "ticking time bomb" scenario, in which you've captured the terrorist and don't have time for a normal interrogation, and said that there is a place for what she called "severity," in a conversation that included mentioning waterboarding, hypothermia, and other techniques commonly described as torture. "I have said that those are very rare but if they occur there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that," she responded. "Again, I think the President has to take responsibilty. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don't mind if it's reporting in a top secret context. But that shouldn't be the tail that wags the dog, that should be the exception to the rule."