Thursday, May 28, 2009

Senatorial impressions

Recently I sent an email to my representatives in Congress regarding the status of 'enemy combatants' held at Guantanamo Bay as part of Amnesty International's effort to support an independent tribunal for those who advocated illegal torture methods. Here are my two Senator's responses (first Gillibrand, followed by Schumer):

Dear Mr. Lamb:

Thank you for taking the time to write to me about alleged abuses by the Bush Administration. I share the concern raised by many that the former Administration may have acted contrary to the Rule of Law and the Geneva Conventions with regard to the treatment of detainees in United States custody. I believe torture to be abhorrent, ineffective, and immoral. Its use as a tactic of interrogation has no place under the Constitution of the United States.

I have been troubled by documents that I have seen from the Bush Administration that argue for the use of certain interrogation techniques, such as water boarding. It is important that the American people receive answers about the full scope of procedures sanctioned by the Bush Administration, and to that end, I support an independent, bipartisan investigation. This process must not be driven by politics, but rather as a fully bipartisan way to better understand and hold accountable those who were entrusted with the duty of upholding our Constitution and following treaties to which we are a party. The Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate has already initiated an investigation, and I will work with my colleagues in Congress to find all appropriate way to move forward.

There is no duty more sacred to me as a United States Senator than upholding the Constitution and protecting the human rights of all individuals. I believe that we can keep America safe from terrorism while still respecting basic human rights, and I am heartened by the strides that the Obama Administration has made to make our government more transparent and accountable on this issue.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me on this issue, and please do not hesitate to write to me in the future with any other issues or concerns that you may have. For more information on this and other issues being discussed in the United States Senate, please visit my website and sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely yours,

Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator

And now, Schumer's:

Thank you for your e-mail. Each and every piece of correspondence I receive is important because it allows me to better understand the New Yorkers I serve in the United States Senate.

As you can imagine, my office receives a great number of messages every day regarding a variety of issues – this is particularly true of e-mails. It makes me proud to know that my constituents take an active role in our government by corresponding with me, and I look forward to responding to your concerns in greater detail. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that your e-mail has been received, and to ask for your patience until I send you a more detailed response.

Again, thank you for writing. Please feel free to visit my website to follow my work in the Senate and to learn more about the services my office can provide to you.

Warmest regards

That's right, no signature. While I try to mitigate first impression syndrome, this goes to show how important Public Relations can be.

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