THE BLOG

An Open Letter to Günter Grass

05/25/2011 11:45 am ET

Dear Sir: I was told today by your US publisher that you will not comment on the Judith Miller case, or on the petition you signed in support of her. That is a disappointment to many Americans who hold both you and your work in the highest regard. In 2003 you declared that you "stand with" the "many Americans who ... are horrified by the betrayal of their founding values." Please stand with us again.

There are many who believe that Ms. Miller, working with allies inside the Bush Administration, actively collaborated in distorting vital facts in order to trigger the war you so eloquently condemned at the time. At a minimum, the stories Ms. Miller published in the New York Times -- stories we now know were based on incorrect information -- contributed significantly to create a climate of support for that war within the US.

A prosecutor is now investigating whether government officials illegally revealed confidential information about an intelligence officer for propaganda reasons, and/or as an act of vengeance for her husband's disclosure of State deception. Such an act would be government suppression and punishment of a source, not the protection of one. Nevertheless, Ms. Miller declined to cooperate with the investigation for many weeks -- an act for which she was honored with your signature on a petition of support.

Many of your US supporters tend to believe you were not aware of the specifics of the case at the time. Since then Ms. Miller has reversed herself for reasons that are unclear, and is now apparently cooperating with the prosecutor. She also has recently "discovered" additional notes regarding the affair. Under these circumstances, I ask the following question with the greatest respect: Do you believe she should continue to operate under a public statement of support from you?

In 2003 you wrote that "... we must not let our voices, our no to war and yes to peace, be silenced." Ms. Miller's journalism prior to the Iraq invasion constituted a powerful "yes" to war, at the expense of the truth. The investigation currently underway involves a government vendetta, and an attempt to silence one of those voices you so forcefully defended.

I recognize that it may seem presumptuous for someone like me to address you in this manner. I'm neither a statesman nor a man of letters. Please understand that I write this letter in all appropriate humility. In the spirit of the words you wrote two years ago, I ask you today: Please reconsider your public support for Ms. Miller in this matter.