LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Bybee should be removed
May 27, 2009 · 8:27 AM
To the editor:
Imagine rogue police officers arrest you and accuse you of a crime.
They have little real evidence. But they screwed up the investigation so badly that there’s incredible political pressure on them to “get the perp, any perp.” Desperate for a confession, they strap you to a board and hang you upside down. A cloth is placed over your mouth and nose. Water is poured on it so you can’t breathe. You pass out.
When you come to, they do it again. And again. And again. When you still won’t confess, they begin pulling out your fingernails. You finally confess.
As you await your trial, you tell your lawyer how glad you are that this is America, where confessions extracted by torture are not allowed. After all, after World War II, the Allied powers, including the United States, executed Japanese officers for doing exactly what was done to you. It’s called “waterboarding.” It’s called torture. You tell your lawyer how relieved you are that the judge is certain to throw out the “confession” and look at the real evidence against you. This is America, after all.
Your lawyer breaks the bad news to you. America has changed.
Now, in America, torture is allowed. The judge who will decide your fate has even written memos for high government officials justifying torture. The judge’s name is Jay Bybee.
He sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. When assistant attorney general in 2002, he wrote that “Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent to intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” Your lawyer explains that federal Judge Jay Bybee does not believe that what was done to you was torture. After all, you are still alive. He will allow the confession as evidence.
A lawyer who believes that in America torture is allowed is not fit to be a judge. But federal judges are appointed for life. If federal Judge Jay Bybee will not do the decent thing and resign, Congress should impeach him.
Contact Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and tell them that in America we don’t want judges who believe in torture. To send the senators an e-mail: http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/ and http://murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm.