VCS Call To Action: Honor the Legacy

Over the weekend, an article in the Oregonian ( accompanied by graphic photographs described a very disturbing incident which took place in Iraq on June 29, one day after the handover to the Iraqi interim government.

According to the article, a scout from the Oregon National Guard witnessed a group of Iraqi prisoners, handcuffed, being beaten and tortured by the Iraqi guards.  The scout immediately reported the incident, and the unit sent a squad to intervene in the situation, provide first-aid to the prisoners and separate the prisoners from their captors.

Unfortunately, when the unit called for further instructions from headquarters, they were ordered to stand down and release the prisoners back to their torturers.

Veterans for Common Sense is committed to honoring the Geneva conventions and international law which prohibit torture.  Unfortunately, a team of lawyers for the administration is determined to circumvent U.S. obligations under international law by redefining the meaning of torture. In a 50-page memo, they claimed that (under their definition of torture) the President has the authority to order torture whenever he feels it is necessary.

Torture is not an American value.  Additionally, it puts our troops in harms way, by aggravating the already serious tensions in occupied Iraq and around the world.  This view was reinforced by a unanimous, nonpartisan vote in the Senate for the Durbin amendment to the Defense Authorization bill (S. 2400).

Unfortunately, the Durbin language is not in the House version of the bill, and may yet be killed or watered down in conference committee.  We are asking you today to take action to prevent this from happening.

Five things you can do today.

1. Sign the Honor the Legacy Petition calling on the President to recommit the United States to the rule of law.

2. Write a letter to your Senators and Representatives asking them to support the amendment.  A sample letter is posted here: 3. Call your Congressional representatives.  When a congressional office gets a phone call on an issue, it goes a long way.  If they get a lot of them, it can make a huge difference.  Don’t know which number to call?  Visit to find out.

4. Consider making a donation today to help support Veterans for Common Sense’s efforts to protect our troops and restore international law.  Visit to make a gift and make sure you select “Veterans for Common Sense” as the recipient.

5. Finally, please forward this message to your friends (click on the tell a friend link above)!  Ask them to sign on the Honor the Legacy petition ( and to take steps to prevent torture.

As always, thank you for your support of Veterans for Common Sense.


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