NOT in MY Name

I sent this letter to all Democratic Senators, Senator Jeffords (VT, I), and Senator Allard – since I am priviledged to have one of TIMES’ 5 Worst Senators represent me. When I got to a Senator whose name begins with W, he had a notice to the effect that the senate email system doesn’t allow them to consider out of state mail… I can’t bend my morals to go back and email them with a fake state and zip code. Pamela suggested this post. If you want to send it to your senator, feel free. You can even borrow large junks for your own letter.


James Pfiffner, professor of political science at George Mason Univ, addressed presidential lying in a ‘99 essay (Presidential Studies Quarterly) He identified a hierarchy of presidential lying, some of which he considers justifiable.

-Lying about personal matters [that do not affect national policy or security].
-Lying to foreign governments can be a necessary element of diplomacy.
-Lying about matters of national security (Eisenhower denying U-2 flights over USSR)

National security is where Pfiffner finds the worst errors because they are “lies of policy deception”. The president says he is doing one thing; while in fact, the military, CIA, NSA or other agencies are doing something else.

This is where Pfiffner nails the issue for me:

These lies are inexcusable because they deceive “the public about the direction of government policy” and **DENY** voters the opportunity “to make an informed choice [which] undermines the premise of the democratic process.”

His examples are Johnson’s escalation of the VN war and the Gulf of Tonkin deceptions, Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia (14 months), and Reagan’s lies about Iran/Contra.

George W Bush appears to be the all time leader of policy deception lying.

However, as Stephen Kinzer (”Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.”) explained in an Amy Goodman “Democracy Now” radio interview, it goes back decades and centuries. Using the 1953 example: the US [gov], alarmed that the then DEMOCRATIC government of Iran had nationalized the oil industry, got rid of them and installed the Shah. I fully agree with his comment:

“..had we not intervened in 1953 and crushed Iranian democracy, we might have had a thriving democracy in the heart of the Muslim Middle East all these 50 years. I can hardly wrap my mind around how different the Middle East might be now. This regime that’s now in power in Iran would never have come to power, and the current nuclear crisis would never have emerged.”

That covert action is probably what contributed more than anything else to the death, destruction, violence; tragedy, loss and waste of human lives, in the Middle East since.

Let me say this as clearly as I can:

I am an AMERICAN. I VOTE. I Willingly PAY TAXES. When the American Government does something, it does it IN My NAME and with my financial support. If it is based on lies and deceit, when avoidable harm comes from it; it is still on MY CONSCIENCE. When it comes to the government doing things that I never had a chance to vote on or contact my representatives about voting on it, I want to say “NOT in MY name” do you use undisclosed and unsupported policy to overthrow other governments, start wars and promote violence. Overtly or covertly. I refuse to exculpate any leader, Democrat or Republican, for intentional policy deception with misinformation, disinformation, or any other form of prevarication; either by comission or omission.

Policy deception was Bush’s FIRST resort, rather than going to Congress for more leniency, on wiretapping. He knew you wouldn’t vote for it, so he just did it covertly.

This was a denial of your responsiblity and right to be informed and vote on the issue.

I think we have a new level of presidential lying. Lies of policy deception to covertly advance or act on your own religious beliefs.

I want to personally thank all of you for being where you are, for making the efforts that you do in the mega stress environment of US national politics. I do not fault decisions to refrain from some fights when the only thing you are likely to end up with is an inaccurately tainted credibility. I deeply respect the degree to which you all put your names and reputations on the line. I openly fight the lack of objectivity and civility in criticism within the party and in all politics, especially in the blogosphere. The whole IWR situation was a damned if you did and damned if you didn’t series of votes.

There is ONE fight that needs to be at the TOP of the priorities.

It is not oil prices, Iran, immigration, eavesdropping or any of many urgent issues.

***** It is Stopping the sacrifice of American soldiers in Iraq.*****

I want to disclose my full support for Senator Kerry in ’04 and that I will support him in a nanosecond if he chooses to run in ’08. I am part of a large number of ’04 supporters who still have his back. If he runs, we aren’t going to give up without giving the kind of effort he puts into being a US Senator and presidential candidate. Bet on it.

This issue is Not about that campaign. Regardless of any plans or preferences you may have about ’08, I am asking you to support Senator Kerry’s call for a deadline to Iraq and the redeployment and withdrawal of our troops over a limited time. I have no problem with tweaking this plan, however it can best be implemented, and as Senator Kerry has advocated.

My reasons for considering this the most important issue include:

Lt Richard Vandegeer KIA May 15, 1975
‘The Last Man’

The ~ 14,000 who died in Vietnam after 4/22/71
The 20 + thousand who should have lived after our leaders realized it was a mistake.
The others who died after Johnson’s escalation of the war and Gulf of Tonkin deception.
The 50,000+ who committed suicide after they came home.
The hundreds of thousands who will live with PTSD until they die
The other maimed and injured Vietnam veterans
Their children, familes and friends.
The Vietnamese casusalties of that war.

My father in law, Lt Col Kenneth Boggs, USAF (d.1979), WWII POW.
The veterans of WWII (my father, Ronald and uncle, Arthur Cotts),
The veterans of Korea, Kosovo, the Gulf War and Afghanistan.
The maimed and injured,
The thousands who will live with PTSD until they die.
Their children, families and friends.
The civilian casualties of those wars.

The maimed, injured and dead from this Iraq war.
The 210 + who have committed suicide.
The tens of thousands who will live with PTSD until they die.
The families, children, and friends of these veterans.
The Iraqi casualties of this war.
Especially, all casualties from May 15, 2006 on.

I am an RN. Over 30 years, I have worked with vets from every war since WWI. Those that suffer from PTSD are in a class of their own. The only other equivalent group are the Holocaust survivors.

Please, bring this unjust and inhuman tragedy to an end, quickly.

In my name,

Virginia Claire Cotts RN BSN

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2 Responses to NOT in MY Name

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    Other arguments that are behind the letter.

    The pro-lifers’ argument is based on the idea that the government should not spend any fraction of their tax dollars on something their religious beliefs define as a sin. This involves millions of individual situations where a woman is faced with her own decision regarding the earliest stages of one human life. Not a recognized citizen of any country unless it was conceived in Israel. One decision, by one person, applicable to one situation, multiplied by the frequency of unintended pregnancy creates large numbers. Like traffic accidents.

    This is not a matter of the government supporting hidden programs, forcing anyone to make only one choice, or creating the problem to begin with. It also limits the spending of federal dollars on government programs for prevention (sex education that is not abstinance only) or early mitigation (legalizing and easing access to the morning after pill and the R-??? medicine that causes a miscarriage). Whose values prevail? Why? How?

    When it comes to war, the portion of the individual tax dollar becomes significant. The victims are recognized citizens of another country. The mass deaths are due to decisions by officers and soldiers who have to follow orders from their government. Any one decision is likely to kill far more than one person. When the citizens of the attacking country are deceived into supporting the unjust war, what is the burden of guilt on them when the truth is exposed? And on the soldiers who had to do the killing?
    I cannot forget former Senator Bob Kerrey’s quote:
    “It is harder to kill for your country than to die for your country” It needs to be inscribed on a lot of buildings and doors. The psycholgical burden it places on those soldiers has a tremendous ripple effect on the country as a whole. Whose values prevail? Why? How?

    Another Bush Legacy: coming up with his own level of policy decepion lying. Over riding the intent of the first amendment and covertly establishing one religion during his presidency.
    This is the crux of voter concern about mixing religion and government. It is absolutly acceptable to use your religious beliefs to make a decision on an issue, as long as you do so openly. After reading some of Susan Pace Hamill’s (Prof of Law, U of AL) biblical arguments for tax reform, I withdrew from my position that religious arguments have no place in the discussion of law. What must always be kept in mind in using them is not whether they are right because the religion says so, but because the rest of us can see how that religious teaching applies to the situation and further supports or illustrates other arguments. Prof Hamill provides excellent examples of how this can be done.

    The GOP (in power) cannot understand the idea that there are different levels of moral behavior, from pure white to absolute black. Not either or.
    The gray in between does not indicate that the person is headed to black, or will inevitably go there. It’s the part of life that involves nuances. Of resolving the arguments of two inner voices.

    Bill Clinton lying about an extramarital affair compounded the moral issue of having the affair to begin with.
    Spending the ridiculous amount of money we did to find out what else he might be lying about was a transparent excuse to substitute partisan politics for objective reason.

    Other areas the GOP is obsessed with the inevitable slide into more dangerous behavior:

    Sex education leads to sex experimentation
    Seems to me sex experimentation has been going on since the Garden of Eden – where there was certainly no sex education. My kids both went through one of the most thorough sex ed programs there is at our church. In their 20’s, they are in an ongoing bet as to who loses their virginity first. It’s not a dare or prize. The issue comes down to who develops the kind of relationship first and jokingly, their respective appeal to the opposite sex.

    Marijuana use leads to hard drugs.
    This is especially ludicrous to me in the light of Clinton’s admission that he couldn’t inhale. My kids both followed his experience. My son’s was quite interesting. Knowing that I had smoked (tobacco) for a few years, he sent an email from college asking how I ever managed to inhale the smoke (using more derogatory language). Apparently, when he decided to join his friends in some weed one night, they had him start with a cigarette. He couldn’t inhale. I think the kids have figured out that too many of those precious marijuana puffs are lost buy newbies who can’t inhale the first time. So they test/train them with cigarettes.
    My daughter is supersensitive to second hand cigarette smoke. She knew weed wouldn’t be any different. Some friends, having given up on her sex life, were challenging her to at least try some weed. One offered a $5 bet. Being a college student who considers that a significant amount of money, she tried, and easily won the it.
    Some people just don’t use drugs. Others use legal and illegal drugs without interfering in their productive lives (alcohol, marijuana, pain meds, etc). Some abuse anything. The difference is in the individual and their resolution of the gray areas of morality, not the drugs.
    In all the discussions of W’s drug abuse history, I don’t remember marijuana ever coming up.

    GOP: Government entitlement programs will lead to more laziness and a socialist state. Those street people are just lazy, poor people too. The incidence of mental illness and poor health care among these groups has nothing to do with being slothful. Accepting Jesus will cure all their medical problems.
    Medicare never was and never will be socialized medicine. The Indian Health Service and the VA are. Hear any calls to get these programs privatised? Aspects of the VA
    have been, but the overall program has simply been cut with no replacement of benefits in the insurance market.

    So when any GOP argument is made based on this gateway, back or white assumption, attack the assumption.

  2. Ginny in CO says:

    I received a response from Senator Salazar (D CO) that addresses the issue from his experience and indicates he is working on it. I have no problem with being careful about the consequences of pulling out – as long as there is viable support for really knowing that one action will have a better outcome than another.

    I also hope that the bigger outcome will be focusing on ending the use of policy deception lying and the covert abuses that get us (and others) into even more trouble.

    Dear Virginia:

    Thank you for your thoughtful letter about Iraq.

    The ongoing involvement of the U.S. in Iraq is a major concern for many Coloradans. All across our state, people have questions about the status of our efforts in Iraq, the number and manner of U.S. military and Iraqi civilian casualties, the adequacy of equipment and protection for our soldiers, the repeat tours of duty and the resulting strain on both soldiers and their families, the training of Iraqis to police and secure their own country, and, ultimately, when our troops are likely to come home.

    I recently had the opportunity to make my second trip to Iraq to observe first-hand the progress of our efforts to achieve democratization and economic stability in the region. During my visit, I met with U.S., Iraqi, and international political and military officials, as well as troops from Colorado. I was grateful for the chance to personally convey my thanks to our brave military men and women and learn in greater detail about the challenges they continue to face as the insurgency wears on.

    It was very clear to me that although we have seen some major successes in Iraq, we still have a long way to go. The country is still without a developed infrastructure and Iraqi troops are still not prepared to secure their own country.

    March marked the third anniversary of American military involvement in Iraq. We came to Iraq with the lofty goal of leaving it a stronger, more secure democratic country, and I believe we owe it to both the Iraqi people and our troops to see that goal through. Therefore, I remain committed to maintaining U.S. presence in Iraq until Iraqi troops are fully trained and prepared to independently secure their own country.

    I do not believe strict, arbitrary timelines for withdrawal—or an immediate pullout of our troops—are prudent or effective ways of managing the insurgency. I have, however, joined with my colleagues in the past in calling for an exit strategy with flexible, attainable benchmarks to be determined through the cooperative efforts of U.S. and Iraqi military and political leaders. Please be assured that I will continue to press the President and Department of Defense to develop such a strategy.

    In the end, I believe the Iraqi insurgency will be most effectively defeated by the Iraqis themselves. I am thankful to our troops and hopeful that together we can overcome the challenges ahead.

    Again, thank you for sharing your concerns with me.


    Ken Salazar
    United States Senator