VCS Weekly Update: Veterans Day Press Conference

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November 4, 2005

Dear VCS Members and Supporters:

The New York Times this week ran a critical article, “Detainee Policy Sharply Divides Bush Officials”, detailing the internal debate within the Pentagon and the Bush administration over whether or not policies governing detainees and prisoners in the “War on Terror” should prohibit cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.

As more and more information surfaces in the prisoner abuse scandal, it has become increasingly clear that the debate sets long term standards of the U.S. military against the civilian leadership of the White House and Pentagon. Recently the Senate approved, 90-9, language which would prohibit cruel treatment and torture, yet that provision faces stiff opposition from the leadership in the House of Representatives and a threatened veto from the White House.

Veterans for Common Sense believes that the use of torture and cruel treatment betrays core American values. Further, it damages the effort to stabliize Iraq and does irreparable harm to the U.S. image in the world.

After all, even President Dwight Eisenhower once commented that had the U.S. not promised humane treatment to its prisoners, the Germans would have resisted harder and prolonged the war.

Unfortunately, the U.S. administration — filled as it is with armchair generals who never saw combat in Vietnam or elsewhere — just doesn’t understand that they are destroyed decades of U.S. military tradition.

You can help ensure that the McCain Amendment, which passed 90-9 in the Senate two weeks ago, survives the Conference process and makes it into law.  Please take 5 minutes today to make a phone call to help ensure American values. Find out more here:

On Monday, Veterans for Common Sense will premier a full page ad in Congressional Quarterly, thanks to your help, calling on Congress to establish an independent commission to investigate torture. You can see the ad here:

The ad will run in CQ Weekly next week, as well as CQ Today on one or more days.

We’ll follow that with a press conference on November 11, Veterans Day, at the National Press Club. As soon as we have more information on the press conference, we’ll get it to you.

Please remember — conducting a press conference and running ads costs us many thousands of dollars. Your support for this work is critical. You can help — make a donation, on line or in the mail. Click here to make your donation or to get the address for sending a check.

On-Line Events Calendar

If you have an upcoming Veterans Day event, memorial service, or other event that may be of interest to other VCS members, please let us know. To post your event online today, visit:

As always, thanks for your support of Veterans for Common Sense.
With highest regards,

Charles Sheehan-Miles
Executive Director


House Refuses to Consider Democratic Measure Condemning Republicans for Lax Oversight of Iraq War
Liz Sidoti Associated Press November 04, 2005
Democrats tried unsuccessfully Thursday to force the GOP-controlled House to take up a measure condemning Republicans for “their refusal to conduct oversight” of the Bush administration’s Iraq war policy and order investigations into it. The House voted 220-191 to set aside a resolution offered by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “I think it brings shame to the House for this Congress to be engaged in a cover up when it comes to revealing what’s happening in Iraq,” Pelosi said.


The war in Iraq: Was it worth it?
GEORGE PACKER North Jersey November 04, 2005
Before the invasion, there was the possibility of a world without Saddam Hussein and of an Iraq that no longer threatened endless violence in its volatile region – which was attractive. There was also the certainty of death and destruction in a new war, and the many reasons to doubt that this administration was up to the job – which was frightening.

COMMENTARY: U.S. cannot follow Vietnam example in Iraq
MICHAEL MURPHY Patriot Ledger South Boston November 04, 2005
History, like life, only moves forward. As some scribe said long ago, sometimes we learn from the past, and sometimes we repeat it.

The New Sunni Jihad: ‘A Time for Politics’
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad Almendhar November 04, 2005
NORTH OF BAGHDAD : For weeks before Iraq’s constitutional referendum this month, Iraqi guerrilla Abu Theeb traveled the countryside just north of Baghdad, stopping at as many Sunni Arab houses and villages as he could. Each time, his message to the farmers and tradesmen he met was the same: Members of the disgruntled Sunni minority should register to vote — and vote against the constitution.

U.S. Army adapts to ‘war of the flea’ in Iraq
Staff AlertNet /Reuters November 04, 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – In small steps and without fanfare, the U.S. Army is adapting its training to “the war of the flea,” the type of hit-and-run insurgency that is gripping Iraq, where more than 2,000 American military personnel have been killed.

Local military families divided on Iraq war
TOM RAGAN Santa Cruz Sentinel November 02, 2005
PAJARO — Rita Silva looked down at the photo album containing the pictures of Victor Gonzalez, her grandson, who was killed in Iraq last fall. She murmured in Spanish that he was “an American hero who died for his country.”

A Weekly Battle Over War in Iraq Outside Walter Reed on Friday Nights, Two Camps Stand Their Ground
Allan Lengel Washington Post November 03, 2005
Every Friday night, Gael Murphy and Kristinn Taylor meet in Northwest Washington, separated by a bustling four-lane road — and a whole lot more.


U.S. Detainee Policies Under Growing Fire
Martin Sieff UPI November 03, 2005
The secret prison system set up by the United States to hold suspects in the war on terror was under critical new scrutiny on every side Wednesday. And the controversy appeared linked to widespread and growing speculation that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s unprecedented power might be crumbling, in the wake of the indictment of his top aide.

Anti-torture measure protects U.S. troops
Miami Herald Editorial Board Miami Herald November 02, 2005
Here is a stong message to Vice President Richard Cheney, who supports the use of torture that endangers U.S. service members: The Miami Herald says “No.”

Detainee Policy Sharply Divides Bush Officials
TIM GOLDEN and ERIC SCHMITT New York Times November 03, 2005
The Bush administration is embroiled in a sharp internal debate over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting “cruel,” “humiliating” and “degrading” treatment, administration officials say.

Bush Admin.: Treaty Outlawing Torture Doesn’t Apply Beyond U.S. Soil
Niko Kyriakou OneWorld US November 02, 2005
Echoing recent comments by White House officials, a U.S. government report submitted to the United Nations last Friday bears a message that the brutal treatment of people held in U.S. military custody abroad is and should be legal. The report, which was submitted to the UN’s Human Rights Committee and is designed to document U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), fails to mention a number of U.S violations of the treaty that took place off of U.S. soil in places like Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, human rights groups say. “This is not a sufficient report,” said Ann Fagan Ginger, Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute based in Berkeley, California. “The government continues its arrogant and illegal refusal to report major violations…in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she told OneWorld Friday.

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