Dear Mr. President


Amnesty in Gaza
January 30, 2009, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Israel, justice, news, Obama, Palestine, peace, politics, U.S.A., United Nations, war | Tags: , , ,

Dear Mr. President, I just sent a message to Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Rice from Amnesty International. The letter, which I have appended to this, is pretty long-winded. What I’d like to say is that, while we continue to support Israel in its very real struggle for survival, we need to recognize that Hamas is not going to disappear. It is the legitimately elected government of Gaza, eyeless or not. And in order to help the people of Gaza, who have just been through hell, we need to work with Hamas. So let’s do it.

Here’s the letter from Amnesty:

“Now that the fighting between Israel and Hamas has largely ceased after their declaration of separate ceasefires, the true scale of devastation wrought on civilians in Gaza is becoming increasingly evident. Our researchers in Gaza and southern Israel have this week found first hand evidence of war crimes and other serious violations of international law by the parties to the conflict, including possible crimes against humanity, as well as abuses of human rights. Amnesty International believes that long-term peace and security cannot be found in the Middle East unless accountability is established for crimes under international law. The United Nations Secretary-General has already called for an urgent, impartial investigation into the shelling of UNWRA schools, including with the use of White Phosphorus munitions, and other attacks on UN buildings and personnel in Gaza. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently briefed the Security Council on his return from Gaza and emphasized: “where civilians have been killed and there are allegations of violations of international humanitarian law, there should be thorough investigations, full explanations and, where it is required, accountability.” In adopting resolution 1860 (2009), the Security Council called for a ceasefire, for the unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance and the re-opening of crossing points into Gaza. But the Security Council failed to address the question of accountability. Amnesty International believes this is critical—that those who have committed possible war crimes should not be given impunity. Considering the mutual recriminations that may affect the impartiality of national investigations, and the poor record of investigations by Israel into violations by its forces, Amnesty International urges the US to support the establishment of a comprehensive independent international inquiry – set up by the UN Security Council – into all allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups participating in the conflict. An international fact-finding team of qualified experts should carry out its investigations on the basis of the highest international standards. It must have powers to gain access to all relevant documents, other evidence and persons, and its report and findings must be public so that follow-action can be taken. As Israeli attacks in Gaza have used US made weapons, the US must not fail to respond to domestic and worldwide expressions of concern that international humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld in Gaza, that accountability for violations be established and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. For more information, please see Amnesty International’s latest report: The conflict in Gaza: A briefing on applicable law, investigations and accountability (http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdf/gazabriefing.pdf), which we hope you will find helpful in your further consideration of the grave situation in Gaza. Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter. ”

Sincerely, Margaret Sacht

Advertisements


Press Briefings
January 29, 2009, 8:30 pm
Filed under: news, Obama, politics, U.S.A. | Tags: ,

Dear Mr. President,
Thank you so much!!!  You have put the press briefings on the Whitehouse website!  Excellent!  Makes it much easier for someone like me, living abroad, to read them.  Good job!
Sincerely, VNV



So far, so good…but questions
January 28, 2009, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Bush, economy, environment, finance, news, Obama, politics, U.S.A. | Tags: , , ,

Dear Mr. President,

     Why don’t you put your press briefings onto the Whitehouse website?  I can only find them on the website of the Press Corps.  And why don’t you ever answer your mail?  George W. always did, don’t forget!

   Otherwise, you’re doing  fine things out there in Washington!!!  Great interview with Al Arabia.    Good stuff on the economy and the environment. Nice tries with non-partisonship.  Or at least, tries.  Maybe “nice” is the wrong word.  So keep up the good work!

Sincerely, VNV



Environmentally sound
January 26, 2009, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Bush, environment, news, Obama, politics, U.S.A. | Tags: , ,

Dear President Obama,

How refreshing your environmental policies are turning out to be! Like a glass of clean, clear water. It seems as if the whole world is sighing with relief, taking good deep breaths full of hope.

Oh dear I am waxing effusive. But I can’t help it. It’s been such a depressing time, particularly for us Americans abroad. It’s been awful having a President who blocked every environmentally sound idea.  

 Thank you for bringing change!  Now if you can get us signed up with the rest of the world…   Sincerely, VNV



Diplomacy Begins at Home
January 25, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Congress, news, Obama, politics, U.S.A. | Tags: , ,

Dear Mr. President,
     While I applaud all you have done so far, I worry about the tone you
seem to be taking with your political opponents.  It used to get me riled up
to hear Bush say he had “consulted with the Democrats”  when all he had done
was issue ultimata.
     But now it sounds to me as if you were doing the same thing.   Saying
“I won” is not an argument that will win over Republicans; it’s  a
thrown-down gauntlet.  Please do as you promised and try to use diplomacy!

Sincerely, VNV



Ending the Global Gag Rule
January 24, 2009, 4:42 pm
Filed under: abortion, children, ethics, health, news, Obama, peace, politics, religion, U.S.A., United Nations, women's rights

Dear President Obama,

      All I wanted to do today was to thank you hugely and immensely for your executive order ending the ban on funds to international population support groups that mention abortion.  Bless your heart.  Finally.  My mother’s good friend Janet Roberts can now rejoice as well – she founded “34 millions friends” to try to fill that awful hole the Bush administration left in caring for women.

    I think that’s what people don’t realize.  Funding organizations like UNFPA that help women get legal and safe abortions is not about  funding abortions.  It’s about helping women around the globe have access to health care.  It means saving mothers’ lives and saving babies’ lives.  That’s what it all comes down to.   It’s pro-life, that’s what it is.

Sincerely, VNV



Congratulations, but stop the killing!

Dear President Obama,

     This being my first letter to you on this blog, I  congratulate you with all my heart on becoming President of our really fine country.    You’ve done good things so far.  You’ve stopped torture; you’ve set out to close Guantánamo; you named excellent envoys in George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke.   But now I must ask you something.  This is what I wrote in the website www.whitehouse.gov:
     Are you going to continue the irresponsible unmanned bombing missions over Pakistan?   I just read that today we killed 10 people.   We said we had killed 5 “insurgents”.   That leaves 5 non-insurgents, right?  Please do something to stop the killing.

Sincerely, VNV