A letter from North Carolina Stop Torture Now coordinator Christina Cowger in the Jan. 23 edition of The Washington Post questions Senator Burr’s respect for his own constituents. Other national media reporting casts doubt on his fitness to lead the committee charged with overseeing the CIA.
Even commentators with the unabashedly conservative Fox News outlet are openly critical of attempts to bury the findings of the Senate torture report and argue that: “In a free society in which the government works for us, we have a right to know what it is doing in our names, and we have a reasonable expectation that the laws the government enforces against us it will enforce against itself. “
Locally, The News & Observer, said that – even in the first days as chair of the oversight committee – Burr “… signals that his time in this important chairmanship will be stridently partisan.“
Cowger’s letter cites recent reports of Sen. Burr’s contention that: “When terrorists attack … we can interrogate Guantánamo captives to gain insight into the plot … “ as his rationale for backing legislation that aims to block closure of the prison camp.
The last captive arrived to Guantánamo in 2008. What information about current plots could any detainee offer today? Does Burr really hope to keep the camp open so it can be available to house more men and — perhaps — women and children scooped up by the United States’ still misguided and unrepentant spy agency?
Fewer than two weeks after his dubious assertion about Guantánamo, Sen. Burr sought to reclaim copies of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s torture report from the White House. Some analysts suggest the move is a thinly veiled effort to prevent Americans fromever coming to terms with what torture survivor Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called: ” … a right – indeed … responsibility – to know what was done in their name; how these practices did or did not serve our interests; and how they comported with our most important values.”
Both as a hub for the aircraft and flight crews that delivered innocent men to torture chambers and as Sen. Burr’s constituents, North Carolinians have a special responsibility to confront these injustices and reach out to offer apology and restorative justice to victims, survivors and their families.
Is Sen. Burr also hoping to let the Obama White House off the hook for its failure to investigate the post-9/11 torture program? How does that serve our nation, let alone his party?
Please take a moment to write Senator Burr and ask a simple question: “If you don’t trust your constituents, maybe you don’t trust democracy?”