OPINION A major difference between Rep. Nancy Pelosi's values and my values surfaced last month.
On Friday, Dec. 14, I learned that since 2002, Pelosi has been a silent partner in the George W. Bush regime's torture policy. As a Bay Area resident for the past 15 years, I can say with confidence that the use of torture is not a San Francisco value.
According to a Dec. 9 Washington Post article, Pelosi was one of four members of Congress to witness a "virtual tour" of secret CIA detention sites. Officials have described the briefings as "detailed and graphic." The article, by Joby Warrick and Jan Eggen, revealed that the House Intelligence Committee received 30 briefings on the CIA's torture chambers and the "harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk."
In 2003, Congressperson Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who was also present during the briefings, filed a letter of protest over the interrogation program. After the Democrats won control of the House in 2006, Pelosi passed over Harman, who was in line for chair of the Intelligence Committee, instead naming Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) to the position. Harman, who publicly voiced her discontent at her demotion, was punished for speaking out when Pelosi would not.
Pelosi and I both know that the use of torture is outlawed under both the US Army Field Manual and the Geneva Conventions. I have chosen to speak out against the Bush administration's use of torture. Pelosi has chosen to remain silent.
Through her complicity and her actions, Pelosi continues to support an illegal policy that harms our soldiers in the field and is counterproductive to winning the hearts and minds of the Arab and Muslim world. Even committed warmonger Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) realizes that the use of torture as a tool to garner information is a flawed and inhumane strategy.
Pelosi has used her position as Speaker of the House to protect the criminal Bush regime, and although she has pledged to hold the president accountable for the Iraq war, she continues to give him the money, and therefore the means, to wage it.
San Franciscan values are good values. We want every person to be guaranteed the very same basic human rights that Pelosi and her wealthy cronies enjoy: peace, shelter, nutritious and plentiful food, health care, education, and the right to live free from torture. I would add the right to marry whomever one loves regardless of gender or orientation.
The neocon hatemongers have tried to make the word liberal an obscenity. Fox News jester Bill O'Reilly has publicly stated that al Qaeda can "go ahead" and "blow up" San Francisco. We cannot allow our values to be marginalized and ridiculed any longer. Our values must spread across this nation because we care about people and we care about true freedom and real representative democracy.
Pelosi abdicated her role as defender of our values and needs years ago, but especially so when she countenanced torture and refused to impeach the Bush regime when San Franciscans voted overwhelmingly in a referendum for impeachment.
The choice is simple and clear in California's District 8. If you want San Francisco values represented in Congress, vote for me in November. If you support torture and war crimes, then vote for Pelosi. *
Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan is running for Congress as an independent.