The editorial staff of the Concord Monitor would like a word with you:

Democrats must stop ducking torture debate

By sitting on their hands while a fractured Republican Party fights it out over torture and the proper treatment of detainees, Democrats have ceded the moral high ground in this critical debate.

How America treats its prisoners affects the safety of troops, the views of other nations and our view of ourselves. Setting the policies that guide that treatment is not a responsibility of the Republican Party but of all Americans.

President Bush has called the use of aggressive interrogation techniques that some consider torture “the most single potent tool we have in the war on terrorism.” He’s dead wrong. The most potent tool in the war on terror is the willingness of people in other nations to help us.[…]

A policy that condones torture or winks at it will make America’s troops less safe. It will also make them less effective. Enemies surrender when they believe they will be treated humanely. When the United States is perceived as fair and just, informants come forward.

“I continue to read and hear that we are facing a ‘different enemy’ in the war on terror; no matter how true that may be, inhumanity and cruelty are not new to warfare or the enemies we have faced in the past,” [Retired General and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Vessey said. “Through those years, we held to our own values. We should continue to do so.”

Among those values is the courage to speak out when an injustice is committed and to act to end or prevent that injustice. Although some Democrats have spoken out forcefully against Bush’s proposal, most have failed to demonstrate the courage to do so.

I am so fed up …
… when certain well known Democratic Senators, who have the ability to obtain air time for their views that other Democrats do not, stand on the sidelines and remain silent on the issues of torture and unconstitutional detentions, Ms. Clinton. And I am angry when certain Democratic Senators, who insist the Democratic Party needs to listen and reach out to “moral values” voters, abandon their own values by failing to speak out forcefully against the Bush Enemy Combatant Torture and Detention Enablization Act, Mr. Obama.

Where is your courage, Senator Clinton? Where are your values, Senator Obama? You are two of the most prominent Democrats in the country. You have the power, influence and authority to get your voice heard, and to have your views broadcast by our corporate media to the American public. Yet neither of you has made it a point to condemn this atrocity of a “compromise” which essentially legalizes the unlawful and deeply immoral conduct of the Bush administration, and shreds our Constitutional protections like so much confetti. A bill that will continue the use of torture as an official government policy, and gouge out a deep, and perhaps permanent, scar in our nation’s collective moral authority .

Neither of you has come out and simply said:

“Torture is wrong.”
“Unlawful and indefinite detentions are wrong.”
“Eliminating habeas corpus is wrong.”
“Trials without due process guarantees are wrong.”
“Allowing Bush to imprison US citizens as enemy combatants is wrong.”

Don’t you think it might be a good idea to stand up for what is right? Don’t you think showing a little courage in support of our Constitution, our liberties and our collective national honor is the least you can do? The editorial staff of the Concord Monitor thinks so, and so do I. Yet, here I am today, still waiting for you two to show the leadership and resolve that the country demands of its elected officials.

I expect I’ll continue to wait until hell freezes over. And that is what is really shameful: that the so-called leaders and “rock stars” of the Democratic Party are nowhere to be seen on one of the greatest moral issues of our times.

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