ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Durb'

Sorry for this aside, but I must mention that Oliver Willis keeps changing his site, but it still looks terrible. Thought I'd give him this example of how to change your site design so that it is an IMPROVEMENT on the previous design.

Take a look at the Washington Times today vs a couple of days ago.

The new look is cleaner, well organized, etc, etc.

Oh, and it has informative and insightful content... that's important as well, Ollie...

Now for the real content of this post.... Here's the text of the Dickie (aka The Durb) Durbin story from the Washington Times:

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat has compared the U.S. military's treatment of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay with the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot, three of history's most heinous dictators, whose regimes killed millions.

In a speech on the Senate floor late Tuesday, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, castigated the American military's actions by reading an e-mail from an FBI agent.

The agent complained to higher-ups that one al Qaeda suspect was chained to the floor, kept in an extremely cold air-conditioned cell and forced to hear loud rap music. The Justice Department is investigating.

About 9 million persons, including 6 million Jews, died in Hitler's death camps, 2.7 million persons died in Stalin's gulags and 1.7 million Cambodians died in Pol Pot's scourge of his country.

No prisoners have died at Guantanamo, and the Pentagon has acknowledged five instances of abuse or irreverent handling of the Koran, the holy book of Muslims.

After reading the e-mail, Mr. Durbin said, "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Mr. Durbin also likened the treatment of terror suspects at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to authorize the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

"It took us almost 40 years for us to acknowledge that we were wrong, to admit that these people should never have been imprisoned. It was a shameful period in American history," Mr. Durbin said. "I believe the torture techniques that have been used at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and other places fall into that same category."

The White House yesterday reacted angrily to Mr. Durbin's remarks.

"It's reprehensible, as Defense Secretary [Donald H.] Rumsfeld said, to suggest that the Guantanamo Bay facility is anything like a gulag or a mad regime or Pol Pot," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told The Washington Times.

"It is reprehensible, has no place in the current debate, and as we've seen over several years, the detainees in Guantanamo Bay are being treated humanely," he said. "What this is is a disservice to any man and woman serving in the U.S. military who's putting their life on the line each day, because they're trying to paint all military with a broad brush because of the actions of perhaps a few bad apples, who are being punished severely."

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld spokesman Larry Di Rita said of Mr. Durbin's remarks: "I didn't hear what he said, but any such comparison would obviously be outrageous and not remotely connected with reality."

I just don't see how this is political "gold" for the Dems. What's the new bumper sticker for '06?
  • Vote Democrat! We Coddle Terrorists!
  • 2 Chickens in Every Pot! OR 3 Chickens and a nice rice pilaf if you're an enemy of the US who is willing to kill innocent women and children! Vote Democrat!
  • GOP is for torture! They turned the Air Conditioning on too low!!
  • Vote Democrat! We don't believe in religious texts in government institutions. Unless it's Korans for the Terrorists!!!"
  • Vote Democrat! The enemy (al qaeda) of my enemy (Bush) is my friend (alqaeda)

Too many possibilities... I can see why Ollie is pushing for this to continue...

Now I don't think Durbin realizes that he's helping the enemy - I really don't think that. I think his view of the world is focused on the beltway politics and the politics of his home state. Surely he wouldn't say such things if he realized that the Islamofascists of the Middle East would now take his words and use them as justification for the murder and slaughter in Iraq (against Iraqis and soldiers such as my brother-in-law) or in the US itself. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he doesn't realize the magnitude of what he's done - I'll assume for the moment that he's just completely incompetent and shouldn't hold an office higher than dog catcher for Carbondale, Illinois. I would say East St Louis, but apparently you have to be pretty street smart to play there, since everyone's on the take and someone like Durbin wouldn't last 15 minutes over there.

It's a good thing Durbin wasn't around 63 years ago..

For those thinking Durbin's remarks were taken out of context, here's the text of Durbin's Gitmo speech from the Congressional Record.

And now that people have pointed out to Dick that his remarks are over the top and might be beneficial to the enemy, it's good to see that he's retracted them... Oh, wait

Like putting out a fire with gasoline... Here's how Al Jazeera covered his unwillingess to retract:
US senator stands by Nazi remark
Thursday 16 June 2005, 21:38 Makka Time, 18:38 GMT

A US senator has refused to apologise for comparing the actions of US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazis, while others have decried or defended the mandate and method used to hold prisoners there.

US Senator Dick Durbin on Wednesday refused to apologise for comments he made on the Senate floor referring to Nazis, Soviet gulags and a "mad regime" like Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Illinois Republican party chairman Andy McKenna had demanded he apologise.

"Senator Durbin's comments come as a great disservice to our military personnel in Guantanamo," he said.

"They are also a great disservice to all US soldiers and veterans who have fought, and continue to fight, to overcome evil regimes and spread democracy around the world."

Durbin did not plan to apologise for the comments, spokesman Joe Shoemaker said.

"This administration should apologise to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorising torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure," Durbin had said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

Hmmm, last I checked, the Geneva Convention didn't protect illegal combatants (ie those without uniforms and in a "regular army"). The precise reason for the Geneva Conventions not being extended to cover illegal combatants is TO PROTECT CIVILIANS. The message is: If you want to get the protections of the Geneva Conventions, you should wear a uniform to distinguish yourself from the civilian population and not hide within civilian population centers. Otherwise, innocent civilians die...

And trust me, I would not characterize the tactics used in Gitmo as "torture." When I turn the AC down so low that my wife starts to shiver... sure, she gets ticked. But is it torture? When I cook her up some nice honey glazed chicken with rice pilaf and fruit on the side, is that torture? No, it's probably a romantic dinner.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler