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Attorney General Eric Holder has a huge challenge with few options--none of them without potential for violence if we believe the rhetoric. Nevertheless, we believe his investigation should begin where the evidence for actual unlawful behavior is strongest. Its scope should be limited only by the word itself. This means all leads should be followed up, the most serious first of course.

2009: Amnesty International USA has collected the thoughts and opinions of observers on the human sides of the torture. To make your opinion count, click on the link above and select a letter that suits you and it will be sent to the President.

We join Amnesty International in believing Obama can do something about a culture that resorts to Witch Hunting and Torture. Eric Holder is Obama's right hand on this issue. We believe in him as we do Obama. We hope and expect him to soon appoint a special prosecutor, modeled in the appropriate mold, to investigate not just the matters of abstract law, but the meaning of torture beyond our parochial interests to the whole of humanity.

What we have said before on this issue still holds. We do need to look forward, to repair fences, to save and reclaim responsible government.

Having said that, if we hide from crimes of the past, we incriminate ourselves in crimes against humanity. It is that simple. If we were indeed guilty, we must proceed with total candor, integrity, and leadership in reaching whatever resolution. Sponsors of politics of fear need to be confronted by back bone, courage, and integrity. But our faith in the American people is such that we believe citizens will refrain from open violence. To have disagreements is not only logical, but healthy. Healthy for the next generation especially.

The primary threat to human existence is the sycophantic (psychopathic, or narcissistic) personality. Identifying sociopathic, psychopathic, and narcissistic (SPN), folks early and establishing effective, and humane ways of limiting their destructive potential looks like the backbone of real progress toward permanent peace. Resistance to any such early labeling will come largely from two quarters: 1) Those who are in deep denial that nature and/or nurture can have such an effect, and 2) those who believe individuals rights transcend the survival of our species.

Any movement toward controlling the violent fringes by these, or similar means, must be world-wide. The toughest nut to crack is right here in the West. The table below is a beginning for dialogue.

Level / Attribute Psyche Behavior
Individual Nurture children's psyches for balanced internal / external controls Frame for peace; celebrate differences; practice dialogue
Group Watchful identification of SPN personalities Manage SPN personalities safely

As for the scope, this is where Holder has great latitude. We hope he will take the high road that reclaims the dignity of America and its respect in the world. Holder's investigation should keep the integrity of the constitution and our democracy foremost in mind.

There are practical considerations. Whatever Holder's decision, the intelligence communities will have to live within a new framework. If 9/11 teaches anything, it is that intelligence agencies need to work more closely together than they have to date. In other words, need to share transcends any agency's turf. Eliminating torture will not fix that one.


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