Petition for a Commission to Investigate Use of Torture

Join us in calling for an independent, nonpartisan commission to investigate all aspects of U.S. policy relating to detainee treatment.


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Petition for a Commission to Investigate Use of Torture

Dear President Obama and Members of Congress: 

Since the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, a small but vocal group of torture proponents has been calling for the return to policies of torture and cruel treatment of detainees.

They argue that "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- euphemisms for torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment -- are necessary to keep our country safe.

They are terribly wrong.

Torture undermines America's national security by placing our brave troops in danger of similar treatment if captured; jeopardizes the cooperation of our allies, which is vital to our ability to combat global terrorism; and serves as a recruiting tool for terrorists.

Our country's recent use of torture imperiled our security, laws and moral leadership. Torture was authorized by a small handful of officials who acted behind closed doors, claiming that they didn't need to subject their decisions to oversight or review.

Their actions were wrong, unlawful and dangerous, and the time for accountability is now.

I urge you to establish an independent, nonpartisan commission -- headed by distinguished, fair-minded leaders -- to examine and report publicly on torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees in the period since September 11, 2001.

The commission should be charged with looking into the facts and circumstances of interrogation, rendition and detention policy, identify lessons learned, recommend measures that would bring justice to victims and prevent any future abuses. Its findings should be made public.

A report from an independent, nonpartisan commission will help strengthen U.S. national security and help to re-establish America's standing in the world. We owe it to all U.S. personnel -- military and intelligence -- who deserve to know they are implementing policy that complies with the law.

Thank you.