10 April 2009

Beverly's letter to Obama: A simple and direct call for justice

There are several bizarre and unfounded notions about Beverly Eckert's views and actions floating around in cyberspace. I have read, for example, that at her Feb. 6 meeting with President Obama, she was supposed to have asked him to establish another 9/11 commission to finish the job left undone by the original one. Like other examples of such internet hogwash, this one can be easily discredited by perusing the facts. Beverly never called for another investigation once the 9/11 commission released its final report. Instead, she and her colleagues worked tirelessly to have the report's recommendations implemented. Two of the main 9/11-related issues which did occupy her time were supporting the work of the WMD Commission and pressing for the closure of the Guantanamo dention facilities, ending the military commission tribunals, and bringing the terror suspects to trial.

After her meeting with Obama, Beverly gave me a detailed account of the meeting, its genesis, and a copy of the letter she handed to one of the president's aides at the meeting. Here it is, simple and direct:

February 6, 2009

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

RE: Justice Not Vengeance

Dear Mr. President,

On 9/11, my husband was killed by terrorists. The self-confessed mastermind of the plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been in US custody for several years. Along with other 9/11 families, I want to see him, and his alleged co-conspirators, face their accusers in a court of law. I fervently hope there is independent, irrefutable, corroborating evidence that can be used by the prosecution to achieve legitimate convictions. But I have a sickening fear that the over-zealous actions of US officials, through use of torture and other illegal tactics, have tainted the evidence by which those responsible for 9/11 would otherwise be convicted. If that proves to be the case, it would be the ultimate, unspeakable injustice.

When confronted with defendants accused of crimes against humanity on the scale of September 11th, the depth of our nation’s commitment to the principle of justice is severely tested. I believe, Mr. President, that under your moral guidance and with your profound respect for the rule of law, America can pass this test.

There is a saying that justice delayed is justice denied. I believe that you have the courage to take the difficult but necessary steps that will allow the rule of law to finally take its course. To this end, I ask that you release the Guantanamo detainees against whom there are no prosecutable charges and bring the rest to trial on American soil. I beg you to proceed with urgency and determination where others have faltered. Let justice, not vengeance, at long last be served.

Respectfully yours,

Beverly Eckert

Widow of Sean Rooney, WTC

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