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My Response to Bush-League B.S.

Penned a letter and emailed it off to about 10 papers, local and national. Wonder if it'll get printed at all.... Figured I'd share with the gallery....SES

Dear Editor,

Last week, ABC News revealed that the highest levels of the Bush administration met regularly in the White House to discuss and approve specific torture techniques to be used on prisoners in U.S. custody. ABC's source said CIA officials "acted out" certain kinds of torture and senior administration officials "choreographed" the way the torture was to be done.

On April 10, President Bush admitted that he knew about these meetings and approved of them, despite the fact that some techniques under discussion are outlawed in the United States and under numerous international treaties such as the Geneva Conventions.

The lack of coverage this story has received makes it seem more people are interested in one word by Senator Obama or whether or not Senator Clinton does shots. This is untrue. This simply underscores the apathetic inability of the mainstream media to cover issues of substance over personality-based politics.

I don't believe enough Americans are aware that top Bush officials were intricately involved in discussions of specific torture techniques. I strongly doubt that, like me, most Americans approve of such things being done in their name. The former Attorney General John Ashcroft was quoted in the ABC piece objecting at the time to holding such meetings in the White House saying, "history will not be kind." That is an extreme understatement.

The reviling of torture mattered in 1864 with the creation of the Geneva Conventions. It mattered back as 1789 when the Constitution established that the people of the United States of America unequivocally believed torture to be wrong. It should matter just as strongly today...but our newspapers are filled with empty debates about minor talking points instead of substantive issues such as this.

To even harbor a discussion about torture in the White House, let alone approve of it, is reprehensible. The people today, not just future historians noted by Mr. Ashcroft, should not be kind to those who would undermine the Constitution or the integrity of the office of the President.

The people want answers, because integrity matters in America. Or at least it should...

Steven Schend
A concerned citizen


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
It's good. And thank you for sharing.

One small thing: When I did lots of politcal stuff, the suggested length for letters to the editor was about 100 words. You don't want them to cut your best stuff if they do print it!

Sometimes they will print long ones, but not very often. For this length, you usually have to go in front of the newspaper's editorial board and get it printed as an OpEd piece.
Apr. 18th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, it's morning.

Also wanted to mention that the more letters a paper receives on a side, the more likely they'll print a proportional number of letters about it.
Apr. 18th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Wow,is about all I can really say. Hope it gets printed, that'd be great.
Apr. 18th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
Dear Concerned Citizen,

We regret to inform you that your letter, while timely in the sense of the news items that it covers, is more than a decade too late.

The news industry long ago underwent its transformation from keepers of the public good to a profit-motive group of small conglomerates interested solely on acquiring as much money as possible. Like dog breeders, we accumulate the best stock that we can, and then overbreed our acquisitions until evert news program and paper of record is a shivering, pissing teacup Yorkie that barks incessantly.

Our business is now an over-extended metaphor for the Westminster Dog Show. Your comments about torture are no more compelling to us than the arguments against tail-docking or ear-clipping. We would much rather discuss how proud that cute little beagle looked standing in his cup.

So please, Mr. Citizen: stop barking up the wrong tree. We applaud ABC News for its candor, but we still prefer to focus on the word “bitter.” It is a strong, consonant word. You seem to embrace it wholeheartedly.

Never Yours,
The Editor

p.s. Have you seen Hilary’s new haircut? Fabulous, isn’t it?!

In significantly more seriousness, Steven, I agree with you completely. I hope that the editors to whom this letter was sent read it in the vein that it was intended. I often scream (and occasionally throw things) at the television when they gloss over serious news to talk about the latest in consumer electronics, political squabbling, or out and out genuine nonsense.

Still, I fear the above mock-letter is closer to their actual sentiment. :/

Apr. 18th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
The needle on my Irony-o-Matic just popped out of the machine with a cartoon-like sound effect.

Truly, horrifyingly sad that parody/satire is closer to the truth of the world we live in than where we need, want, and should be.

who wishes the real world were as easy to change utterly as the game worlds in which he's worked for 18 years....
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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