ETAN 13 January 2008 - Write Letters to the Editor on President-Elect Obama's nomination of Admiral Blair - Adapt to your own words. Improve them. Mix and match. Share your letters: Let us know what you send and what gets published. Go to your local papers website or to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/ to e-mail your letter.
Letters to the editor are often the most widely-read section of newspapers. Be sure to include your full name, address, and telephone number. Keep your letter to about 200 words. If possible, include a local angle or respond to an article or opinion published in the paper. Timeliness is best, so the sooner you submit your letter, the better. Contact John M. Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-596-7668, if you'd like some help.
See http://etan.org/news/2009/01blair.htm for more information.
Sample Letter #1
President-elect Obama’s decision to appoint Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence is deeply disappointing [INSERT title, date of published article, if any]. During his years heading the Pacific Command, Blair gave unstinting support to the Indonesian military during its rampage and destruction of East Timor. Contrary to the wishes of his superiors, Blair failed to apply pressure on his Indonesian counterpart to stop the abuses.
Although East Timor succeeded in gaining its independence, it has yet to recover from the Indonesian military’s campaign of terror. In Indonesia, not a single member of the military elite responsible for war crimes has ever been successfully prosecuted.
The American people should push Obama to reconsider his appointment of Blair. Obama’s action not only betrays his stated commitment to human rights, it also sends the wrong signal to Indonesia’s unreformed military.
Sample Letter #2
Admiral Dennis Blair is the wrong choice for director of national intelligence, and now is the time to push President-elect Obama to reconsider. [INSERT title, date of published article, if any]
In 1999, the Indonesian military and its militias brutalized the people of East Timor as they prepared to vote on independence from Indonesia. As head of the Pacific Command, Blair met with the top Indonesian brass just days after dozens of refugees in a Catholic church in the town of Liquica were hacked to death by an Indonesian military-backed militia. Blair kept silent on Indonesia’s violations, effectively giving U.S. approval to the massacre.
Blair’s troubling record in East Timor indicates a mind set which places maintaining a relationship with the worst human rights violators over justice and accountability. This sets a poor precedent for his future role in supervising America’s intelligence agencies.
See further The Bloody Career of Admiral Dennis C. Blair
East Timor Legal Information Site