Monday, February 11, 2008

Vote 60 :
Norm Coleman Endorses McCain
( and Torture )

If Norm Coleman will support John McCain for President, why won’t he support McCain’s position on torture ?

During a Republican presidential primary debate, Fox News moderator Brit Hume asked the candidates about the use of waterboarding as an acceptable interrogation technique.
John McCain was the first to answer "We could never gain as much we would gain from that torture as we lose in world opinion. We do not torture people, " he said. "It's not about the terrorists, it's about us. It's about what kind of country we are. And a fact: The more physical pain you inflict on someone, the more they're going to tell you what they think you want to know."
When Rudy Giuliani was given a chance to responded, he offered a different view “I would — and I would — well, I’d say every method they could think of.

Two different views … yet Coleman was able to make a decision whom to endorse as the Republican Party nominee.

In announcing Coleman’s endorsement of Giuliani for President, the Star-Tribune reported that Coleman thought about the endorsement for awhile and based it on “Giuliani's strong stance on national security."
How could anyone endorse a candidate for President that has absolutely no foreign affairs or defense experience and state that it was based on national security ?
The President is The Decider and the duties are fairly well defined in Article II of the Constitution. As Commander in Chief, the President sets the tone for what is an acceptable interrogation technique.

Douglas A. Johnson, executive director of the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis, wrote a powerful OpEd chastising Coleman for his announced opposition to an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008 would hold the CIA to the rules of the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogation (Section 327 of the Conference Report).

Perhaps, Coleman should read the letter Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, sent May 10 to all U.S. troops there: “Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information…. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary…. What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight … is how we behave. In everything we do, we must … treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect.
The following 30 military leaders who have endorsed this policy:
General Joseph Hoar, USMC (Ret.)
General Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.)
General Charles Krulak, USMC (Ret.)
General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)
General Merrill A. McPeak, USAF (Ret.)
Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Donald L. Kerrick, USA (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Ret.)
Major General Eugene Fox, USA (Ret.)
Major General John L. Fugh, USA (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)
Major General Fred E. Haynes, USMC (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.)
Major General Melvyn Montano, ANG (Ret.)
Major General Gerald T. Sajer, USA (Ret.)
Major General Antonio 'Tony' M. Taguba, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC (Ret.)
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Richard O'Meara, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Anthony Verrengia, USAF (Ret.)
Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.)

Johnson’s Op-Ed concludes "Minnesotans should be able to count on Coleman's leadership to help restore America as a global leader."

Coleman needs to listen to McCain.
They may have had different experiences during their youths. It has been well documented that McCain, a Navy pilot, was shot down in 1967 and spent 5 1/2 years in a North Vietnamese prison while Coleman was roadie for 10 Years After and attended the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969.

Now McCain may be busy on the campaign trail, so Coleman should have a direct conversation with a fellow member of the Foreign Relations Committee – Chuck Hagel – a Vietnam veteran who is championing the legislation.

I am one independent voter who could invision a scenerio where I would vote for John McCain for President and against Norm Coleman’s re-election … and that decision would not be tortureous.

Norm, do the right thing. Endorsing a candidate is easy … show some leadership and denounce torture !

NOTE : VOTE 60 in the title of this commentary refers to my effort to promote the importance of the US Senate races in 2008. VOTE 60 will be the headline of future Senate-related commentaries.

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