Tell The Washington Post: Stop Promoting Torture

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The Washington Post just hired Marc Thiessen, who now becomes the second former George W. Bush speechwriter-turned-columnist at the paper. Thiessen isn't just any right-wing shill: he's an unapologetic advocate for torture. And he isn't alone. Charles Krauthammer, Michael Scheuer, and Richard Cohen have all used the editorial pages of the Post to defend torture.

How much longer can the Post give writers its pages as a platform to promote torture before it starts to look like the paper's official position?

When the Post gives a platform to torture supporters, it shapes -- and distorts -- the national debate on security and human rights, especially if those advocates are making a misleading case. The paper must stop promoting torture -- and they need to hear that from you.

In his book, and even on the pages of the Post, Marc Thiessen has repeatedly made dishonest and dubious statements in support of torture. For example:

  1. He falsely claimed that, since CIA interrogation of terror suspects began after 9-11, there were no attacks by Al Qaeda on U.S. interests at home or abroad. (1)
  2. He also claimed, falsely, that Bush oversaw "2,688 days without a terrorist attack on [American] soil," ignoring the anthrax mail attacks, the El Al shooting in Los Angeles and other domestic terrorist attacks. (2)
  3. In a Post op-ed, he called President Obama's decision to release Bush administration torture memos "irresponsible" and claimed that "Americans may die as a result." (2)
  4. He said in his book that lawyers who represented Guantanamo detainees were "aiding and abetting America's enemies." (3)

The Washington Post needs to be held accountable for the ethics of the writers it hires and features, especially on such a crucial issue. We need to let the Post know that giving a platform to dishonest advocates of torture is unacceptable. They must stop promoting torture.

In the Post, columnist Richard Cohen claimed that torture works and criticized the refusal to waterboard terrorists as naive, while columnist Krauthammer used his column to attack opponents of torture and promote Bush administration talking points.

But hiring Thiessen as a weekly columnist is a new low. Thiessen is not a reliable voice on national security, and the Post's credibility will be hurt by Thiessen's advocacy of inhumane and unnecessary torture techniques.

The Washington Post and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt need to say no to torture apologists, and stop promoting torture.

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1. "Wash. Post's Thiessen justifies CIA interrogation tactics with falsehood"
2. "WaPo adds Thiessen to its op-ed line-up despite his history of false, dubious, and outrageous claims"
3. "Wash. Post's Thiessen takes attacks on DOJ lawyers -- which Post condemned -- to another level"
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