Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Rare Moment of Political Activism (Rather than Political Theorizing) from Mr. Trend

I almost never do this (and feel a bit embarrassed doing it now), but....

...in light of the release of the torture memos, Jay Bybee's central role in their awful, (il)legal logic, and his current status as a member of the Ninth Circuit of the Federal Court of Appeals, I'm asking any and all of you who are interested and have the time to write your Senators and Congresspeople and ask them for his impeachment. For those who are interested or don't have the time to include their own message, I included mine below (though I recommend changing the bit about being a Latin American historian, unless you actually are one). The more people that make their voice heard, especially on Bybee, the better the court system and the country will be for it.

Dear Senator Schumer,

I am writing to ask you to please join efforts to impeach Jay Bybee. I know that you were one of the 79 senators to approve his original nomination to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and you no doubt had your reasons and your own information. However, in light of the recent declassified torture memos that President Obama released, including the 18-page memo by Mr. Bybee himself, that offered a logic for why torture that the United States conducted was legal, make clear that Mr. Bybee should in no way be responsible for major legal decisions.

I am a historian who studies Latin America, and my focus is on military dictatorships, all of which used torture themselves in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Throughout those years, numerous politicians, including President Jimmy Carter and senators like Sen. Ted Kennedy, openly declared methods like those mentioned in Mr. Bybee's memo (including "walling" and confinement in small spaces for extended periods of time) to be torture. Yet, as I'm certain you are aware, upon the U.S.'s performance of similar deeds, Mr. Bybee was at the forefront of defending these same methods that had been "torture" for other countries when it came time for the Bush administration to defend its use of the same practices.

Mr. Bybee's appointment to the Federal Court system has put American citizens like myself at the risk of having our fates decided by his legal logic, a logic that has already defended the use of torture. This kind of behavior and these legal positions cannot and should not be allowed on any court bench, much less a Federal Court bench.It is for this reason that I am asking you, as one of the two Senators from the great state of New York, to please join the efforts to impeach Mr. Bybee, so that his legal reasoning can never affect the lives of American citizens in the way it has already affected the lives of those who were tortured in Guantanamo. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

Mr. Trend

[OK, I actually didn't sign off w/my pseudonym. But there it is.]