Thursday, November 10, 2005

Intercepted Correspondence

Dear Representative Foxx,

I am writing to ask you to support Senator John McCain's proposed legislation against the abusive treatment of terror suspects.

As you undoubtedly already know, McCain's measure calls for the prohibition of the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" on any suspect in United States custody. McCain's provision has been decisively passed by the Senate (most recently on November 4, by a unanimous voice vote), and is due for a vote in the House of Representatives. Two problems, however, have arisen.

First, it appears that some House Republicans (particularly Speaker Dennis Hastert) are using delaying tactics to stop McCain's measure from coming up to a vote. These delays prompted McCain to deliver the following speech from the Senate floor:

"I would hope that no one seeks procedural maneuvers to thwart overwhelming majorities in both chambers. A bicameral, bipartisan majority in support of this
amendment will prevail. Even if the will of the majority is thwarted this month, if it is thwarted next month, it will not be denied indefinitely. If necessary, and I sincerely hope it is not, I and the co-sponsors of this amendment will seek to add it to every piece of important legislation voted on in the Senate until the will of a substantial bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress prevails."

Representative Foxx, I implore you to help John McCain bring his important measure to a quick vote.

Second, the White House has promised to veto the measure if it passes through Congress. President Bush claims that McCain's language will hamper his ability to fight the War on Terror, and Vice-President Cheney has lobbied to exempt the CIA from McCain's provision. This is immoral. Recall that the Taguba Report, an
internal Army investigation of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, indicated that American soldiers punched, kicked and slapped detainees; photographed and videotaped naked prisoners in sexually humiliating positions; placed wires on a detainee's finger, toes and penis "to simulate electric torture"; and took pictures of dead Iraqi prisoners.

Acts like these severely undermine our attempt to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East. We need McCain's legislation to ensure that atrocities like these are never committed again.

House Republicans who agree with McCain's provision as written include Michael N. Castle of Delaware; Christopher Shays, Nancy L. Johnson and Rob Simmons of
Connecticut; James T. Walsh, Sherwood Boehlert and John R. Kuhl Jr. of New York; Joe Schwartz and Vernon J. Ehlers of Michigan; Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania; Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland; Tom Petri of Wisconsin; Ron Paul of Texas; Jim Leach of Iowa; and Jeb Bradley of New Hampshire.

Virginia Foxx of North Carolina belongs on that list. Please vote in favor of McCain's measure.

Representative Foxx, I would like to meet with you personally to discuss this issue. It's one I feel very passionate about, and I need your direct and personal
assurance that you will support McCain's measure. I will call your Boone office in the next couple of days to schedule an appointment with you.

Thanks in advance for your time, and I look forward to meeting you soon.


[signed by a Watauga County resident]

If you'd like to join this good citizen in contacting Madame Virginia Foxx on this issue, you can access e-mail direct to the representative at

We'll try to update readers of this site about that direct face-to-face meeting the letter-writer asked for (we trust he ain't holding his breath!).

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