Friday, June 17, 2005

Aiding and abetting: Senator Dick Durbin

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois handed the terrorists a propaganda coup this week by repeatedly comparing Americans who fight terrorism to the Nazis, the Soviet Gulag, and Cambodia's Pol Pot.

He cited what he considered American crimes against the terrorist detainees in Guantanamo: putting a terrorist in a cool room until he shivered, putting another terrorist in a room as hot as a Washington day in August, leaving terrorists in isolation for so long that they had accidents in their pants, and forcing terrorists to listen to loud rap music.

After reading the list, Durbin stated, "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."

He then called for the US to give "all" detained terrorists "a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention before a neutral decision-maker."

Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, refused to back down, taking to the chamber floor on the night of June 16 to repeat his comments.

Republican senators denounced Durbin's written comments as "deplorable" and "reprehensible." Democrat senators couldn't bring themselves to do the same. Fox News reported that "Several Democrats declined to comment on Durbin's remarks. Those who did chose their words carefully, saying questions remain about interrogations. 'I don't think, however, that I would go quite as far as he would because, for example, I don't think we need to close down Guantanamo Bay,' said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV."

Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid of Nevada blamed the Bush Administration and its supporters for Durbin's rhetoric.


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