I am deeply disturbed by the American Servicemember's Protection Act (ASPA). As an American citizen, I too feel the fear of terrorism and the struggle for justice that has come to pervade our everyday thoughts, and I believe that it is morally and politically remiss of Congress to pass a bill that effectively tells the international community that we have no interest in upholding a universal standard of law. Rather, it says that we believe that we somehow don't have to play by the same rules to which we hold the rest of the world. This is simply wrong. I strongly believe that it is in our interest to promote the protection of human rights, in wartime and in peacetime, for U.S. citizens and for citizens of all nations.
ASPA is aimed at attacking the International Criminal Court, one of the most important human rights initiatives since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Nazi trials in Nuremburg. The coalition of support for the ICC includes every member of the European Union, virtually every major U.S. ally, and most countries the United States is seeking to enlist in the effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks. The ICC will prosecute, according to the highest standards of due process, individuals who commit heinous international crimes, like those committed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11th. The message of the ASPA is not one that the United States should be sending to the world, particularly now.
Therefore, as a member of your constituency and a firm believer that our society must be based on law, justice and accountability I ask you to vote against the ASPA. I further ask you to do all you can to make sure that this bill is not enacted by Congress. At the very least, I urge you to ensure that the bill that leaves Congress provides, at a minimum, the broadest possible Presidential waiver so that the United States can cooperate with the Court in prosecuting the worst international criminals, a function that is surely in America's national interest.
I look forward to your support on this crucial matter, and wish you luck in conference with your peers in Washington.