The following arrived in my inbox a few days ago. All formatting below and all [emphasis added] is in the original.
From: "Townhall.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Senators Vote 90-9 to Aid Terrorists
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 05:59:00 -0400
Center for Individual Freedom
This set off warning bells instantly. Why would a group named like this be sending messages out from Townhall.com? Conceptually, the former has little to do with the latter.
Wouldn't you go absolutely ballistic if you read the following headlines?
"SENATORS VOTE 90-9 TO AID TERRORISTS"
"U.S. SENATE SUPPORTS RIGHT OF TERRORISTS TO BOMB U.S. TARGETS"
"SENATORS SAY U.S. TROOPS ARE 'BARBARIC' AND 'INHUMANE'"
Yet these headlines describe what the U.S. Senate did just days ago!
Yes, folks, the following is an Establishment Conservative reaction to the McCain Amendment
that Andrew Sullivan and others have been pushing.
Actually, I think "reaction" doesn't quite describe the hyperbolic verbal explosion the CFIF puts on display here.
The GOP-controlled Senate added an amendment to the $440-billion military spending bill that would extend to spies, terrorists, and Islamic jihadists the same rights U.S. citizens enjoy under the Constitution.
I don't think the Constitution gives us any rights, but since that's the delusion employed by so many these days, I'll play along with it for this argument.
In other words, our military interrogators can no longer question suspected suicide bombers and murderers of women and children without the ACLU looking over their shoulder -- ready to haul some poor enlisted man into court just because he yelled at a terrorist or hurt a terrorist's feelings.
I'm a "bright line" kinda guy when it comes to what constitutes torture. That line is not crossed when interrogators make fun of, insult, or belittle a person's culture, religion, sexual orientation, family, philosophy, and so on.
If the Senate had done such a despicable thing during World War II, the American people would have stormed the Capitol, tarred and feathered all who voted for such treachery, and ridden them out of town on a rail.
The Right dearly loves WWII, doesn't it? It seems like the penultimate moment in American government and society. They invariably claim to know what The Greatest Generation would have done in these times.
This evil, suicidal bill - if implemented - would expose Americans to the greatest danger in the history of our nation: The planting of explosives on our subways. Suicide bombers killing American women and children. Airline hijackings. Assassinations.
Do you realize that not a single terrorist attack has occurred on American soil since 9/11 - despite the dark, dire predictions of the political know-it-alls.
You know why? Because our worldwide intelligence operation has discovered and exposed plot after plot to kill Americans, both abroad and at home.
You may be alive today because some interrogator wasn't too fastidious about how he got his information from some proud, smirking jihadist.
Gotta love the post hoc, ergo propter hoc
! Who needs evidence! We established the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 and nothing has hit us since, so obviously if Israel established a DHS of their own, the terrorists would leave them alone, too!
See how easy this is? It is damn useful during times of government secrecy when What Is Done In Our Name must be hushed up, buried, covered, concealed, and kept from us until decades after the fact, long after the picks of the winning voters' choices and the winning voters' choices themselves have left power and reside on ample government retirement checks.
The e-mail's general tone is almost as if those who crafted it began to wonder if they were no longer preaching to the choir. After losing 90-9 on the Senate vote, they may not be far from the truth.
Use the hyperlink below to send your 20 urgent Blast Fax messages to President Bush and EACH of the Members of the Senate Conference Committee. Tell them to have the political courage to put the lives of innocent Americans above the interests of third world terrorists, thugs and dictators and kill this McCain amendment in committee.
And at the same time, send this urgent Blast Fax message to President Bush. Since he has already promised to VETO this legislation, DEMAND that he do so if Congress fails to act in the interests of the American people.
AOL Members Use This Hyperlink
If the above hyperlink does not function, please copy and paste it into the address bar of your browser.
This blast fax message appears several more times in the e-mail.
The McCain Amendment -- SA 1977 -- Says The Following...
"No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment." [emphasis added]
No cruel or inhuman treatment... that sounds reasonable... or does it?
But the phrase "degrading treatment" - which could have been invented by Amnesty International -- is so vague and full of holes you could drive a Hummer through it.
Solitary confinement, harsh language, ridicule, mild threats, good-cop-bad-cop -- the Senate wants to outlaw all of these standard questioning techniques and restrict interrogators to the etiquette of a ladies' lawn party.
These terrorists are butchering women and children all over the globe -- as well as launching sneak attacks on our troops - and we're supposed to walk on egg shells when we try to find out which Americans they intend to kill next?
Exactly what are our troops suppose to do when questioning these terrorist thugs in an attempt to save American lives?
"Pretty please Mr. terrorist... I beg you...could you please tell us the details of your NEXT attack on innocent Americans?"
That's about the size of it folks. After all, we will now have to be extra careful not to do ANYTHING THAT WOULD DEGRADE OR INSULT THESE KILLERS!
Notice this unwavering assumption throughout this e-mail that everyone detained by the United States Government is a threat to national security? In only one place is there any acknowledgement that some of these people in custody are suspected
of being bad guys. The assumption is crucial to the argument.
Anyone who takes this stance is also taking another: federal agents (DoD, CIA, FBI, NSA, and others) aren't making mistakes when they arrest and detain someone for questioning. The individuals nabbed don't deserve respect and the benefit of the doubt because the State says they don't. Trust in government.
Yeah, I'm not surprised right wingers are saying that, either.
The U.S. Senate hasn't gotten the message: We're at war with fanatics who hate Americans.
Expecting the United States Senate to recognize reality is a waste of fucking time, people.
These jihadists are willing to die for their faith, and we aren't even willing to be ill-mannered to protect our freedom.
Strawman and a foul collective generalization. The authors of this message are certainly willing to break a few eggs. At least a few hundred thousand Americans are as well. Nine members of the Senate seem to agree with you. This anger is really making the authors sloppy, but, again, it's a political tract of outrage, so accuracy isn't something I expected.
blast fax message
At the bottom of each of these messages is ...when these 20 legislators receive thousands of faxes from concerned Americans -- they will take notice!
A blizzard of form letters is what special interest issue advocacy boils down to these days.
Here Are Some Terrorist Attacks That American Intelligence Units Have Discovered And Thwarted.
In mid-2002, U.S. agents uncovered a plot to hit targets on the East Coast. The plotters intended to use hijacked airplanes. By the way, one of the plotters of this caper was also involved in planning 9/11.
In May of 2002, the U.S. busted a plot to bomb U.S. apartment buildings. Jose Padilla, one of the plotters, even pushed for exploding a "dirty bomb" inside the U.S. A dirty bomb is filled with conventional explosives and radioactive materials.
In addition to these plots to attack us on our home soil, the U.S. helped to uncover and thwart a number of major plots throughout the world. For example:
A 2003 plot to attack London's Heathrow Airport, using hijacked airliners.
At least two plots in 2004 to blow up targets in Britain - strategies designed specifically to kill civilians.
At least two plots to attack ships in the Arabian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz.
No one knows how many hundreds, if not thousands, of lives have been saved by the interrogation methods used by U.S. intelligence units, military and otherwise.
The assumption that every one of these instances is true is a hard one to swallow, but I'll say it right now: doing evil in the name of good is wrong and the goal of protecting us from terrorism does not justify all acts made towards that goal. The CFIF isn't advocating that exact position, but deferring to the executive branch as they do might as well be the same thing.
Do you want them to stop what they're doing and take lessons on prison manners from a bunch of POLITICIANS?
blast fax message
Clicking on that link gets you the following:
TO: President George W. Bush
The Hon. Ted Stevens, The Hon. Thad Cochran, The Hon. Pete Domenici, The Hon. Christopher Bond, The Hon. Mitch McConnell, The Hon. Richard Shelby, The Hon. Judd Gregg, The Hon. Kay Bailey-Hutchison, The Hon. Conrad Burns, The Hon. Patrick Leahy, The Hon. Robert Byrd, The Hon. Tom Harkin, The Hon. Byron Dorgan, The Hon. Dick Durbin, The Hon. Harry Reid, The Hon. Dianne Feinstein, The Hon. Barbara Mikulski, The Hon. Arlen Specter, The Hon. Daniel Inouye.
FROM: YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS WILL BE PRINTED HERE
RE: The McCain Amendment: SA 1977
I am appalled and ashamed that Republican Senators recently approved an amendment designed to restrict our intelligence gathering, intimidate those in charge of prisoner interrogations and place all Americans at risk from our enemies.
Terrorists are not covered under the Geneva Convention and terrorist detainees are not entitled to constitutional protections from "degrading treatment." I am appalled that Republican Senators actually placed some "phantom rights" of terrorists above the safety and interests of the American people.
I demand that you show the political courage to put the lives of innocent Americans above the interests of third world terrorists, thugs and dictators and kill this McCain amendment in committee and, should you fail to act in the interests of this great country, I demand that President Bush veto this legislation as he has promised.
Despite a few instances of individual misbehavior - mild by comparison with what our enemies, past and present, have done to their prisoners - our intelligence community has been enormously successful in preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Passing pompous, high-sounding legislation won't prevent an occasional violation of regulations by the mean-spirited or incompetent. Meanwhile, this bill, if enacted into law, will compromise our intelligence network and inhibit our interrogators. Can you guarantee that you haven't paved the way for some greater catastrophe?
Your Signature Will Be Recreated Here
Sounds like "a bunch of POLITICIANS" who have "done such a despicable thing" who have "AIDED TERRORISTS" and think "U.S. TROOPS ARE 'BARBARIC' AND 'INHUMANE'" are the very kind of people you want your petitioners to bow down before and beg for their support. Hat in hand, go to these people and - angrily, mind you - ask that they change their minds.
The chains of servitude are transparent indeed. The rest of the e-mail is reprinted below.
What Do We Really Mean By Degrading Treatment
Underlying this vile and contemptible amendment is the same assumption that the Supreme Court used in recent cases: the looming supremacy of international law...
Let's look at this ghastly amendment one more time...
SEC. __. PROHIBITION ON CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT OF PERSONS UNDER CUSTODY OR CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.
- (a) In General.--No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. [emphasis added]
- (b) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any geographical limitation on the applicability of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under this section. [emphasis added]
- (c) Limitation on Supersedure.--The provisions of this section shall not be superseded, except by a provision of law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act which specifically repeals, modifies, or supersedes the provisions of this section.
- (d) Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Defined.--In this section, the term "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment'' means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984. [emphasis added]
The words "cruel [and] unusual" are taken right out of the 8th Amendment - "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" -- thereby conferring on a bunch of terrorists the CONSTITUTIONAL rights of U.S. citizenship.
I infer from this then that the Center for Individual Freedom is opposed to treating American citizens the way it wants to treat foreigners. I suppose the "individual freedom" they advocate withers away at the edge of the American national border. If so, a more appropriate name for their organization would be Center for Individual American Freedom. But that doesn't square with this statement
on their website: Recognition of the individual as a free and voluntary actor, whose freedom must be protected as much as possible against infringement by the state lies at the heart of the Center's philosophy. Not only does such individual freedom of belief and expression stand as a pre-eminent value in its own right, it also stands as a bulwark against all other attempts to improperly constrain freedom.
No mention that the freedom they value and find in the Constitution shouldn't apply only to Americans. I could spend several posts discussing what they've got on their website.
Anyway, back to the e-mail, which will continue interrupted and without further comment.
But "degrading treatment" is a phrase lifted from a document drafted by the United Nations.
Henceforth international terrorists throughout the world have all the rights of accused criminals in the United States. And an additional right - freedom from "degrading treatment" - which comes from the U.N., an organization also known as Hate America International.
We can't tolerate this surrender to Kofi Annan's gang, a cowardly act designed to undercut the self-preservation of Americans under international attack.
blast fax message
Let's Clear Up A Few Things Right Now
We don't torture prisoners. We don't blindfold them, threaten them with execution, and televise their pathetic pleas for life.
We don't condone cruel and unusual punishments. We don't lop off prisoners' heads in front of TV cameras or on the world wide web.
With few exceptions, we treat prisoners as humanely as any enemy has ever treated its enemies. Ask the handful of U.S. troops who survived captivity how the terrorists treated them.
Abu-Gharib was the exception -- not the rule -- and mere child's play in comparison to how these terrorists, murderers and thugs treat our people -- or even their own people for that matter.
The only atrocities going on at Guantanamo Bay are the atrocities that these murderers and thugs who are being detained are heaping upon the fine U.S. soldiers assigned to guard them.
We give these terrorists their own Korans, prayer rugs, clean living conditions, indoor plumbing and three square meals a day... many of them NEVER had it so good.
Of course that has not stopped anti-America members of our own media from literally beating up on our brave men and women in uniform -- looking for isolated examples of "abuse" -- and -- in many cases -- simply making them up.
These facts did not stop the liberal Senator from Illinois -- Dick Durbin -- from falsely comparing our brave men and women in uniform to NAZIs.
However... perhaps you now see why our GOP-lead Senate voted for this ghastly amendment?
Simply put, they did not want to be skewered by members of the anti-American press who would have -- without a doubt -- FALSELY reported opposition to this dastardly amendment as support of torture.
And that -- dear friend -- is cowardice, pure and simple!
While our troops risk their lives on the battlefield half-way around the world -- these spineless Senators would not even risk a little bad-mouthing from a biased media!
It's so sick... it's disgusting!
McCain's amendment is a nasty, politically motivated slur on the integrity of our armed forces, and a gross insult to the American people.
What the Senate did two weeks ago must be undone this week.
Take action now!
blast fax message
Yours In Freedom,
The CFIF Action Alert is a service to the conservative community. If this e-mail was forwarded to you and you would like to subscribe please go to www.cfif.org/signup.
Center for Individual Freedom
113 S. Columbus St., Suite 310
Alexandria, VA 22314
CFIF is a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit constitutional advocacy organization with
the mission to protect and defend individual freedoms and individual rights
in the legal, legislative and educational arenas. Contributions to CFIF are
not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.
Contributions may be deductible as a business expense.
People who defend individual rights and liberty might want to be wary of this bunch.