The White House and Senate Republicans on Thursday assailed a Democrat for comparing American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviet gulags and Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.
It is "beyond belief" that Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin would compare the treatment of dangerous enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to the death of millions of innocent people by oppressive governments, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. ...
Defending himself, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat said Thursday it was "just plain wrong" to say he was diminishing past horrors.
He said he was comparing interrogation techniques that the FBI report said were used at Guantanamo with those in foreign detainee camps. ...
"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," Durbin said Tuesday.
Ignorance of history destroys our judgment. Consider Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), who just compared the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Stalin's gulag and to the death camps of Hitler and Pol Pot -- an astonishing, obscene piece of ignorance. Between 15 million and 30 million people died from 1918 through 1956 in the prisons and labor camps of the Soviet gulag. Historian Robert Conquest gives some facts. A prisoner at the Kholodnaya Gora prison had to stuff his ears with bread before sleeping on account of the shrieks of women being interrogated. At the Kolyma in Siberia, inmates labored through 12-hour days in cheap canvas shoes, on almost no food, in temperatures that could go to minus-58. At one camp, 1,300 of 3,000 inmates died in one year.
The title of this cartoon comes from this Investor's Business Daily editorial, which states:
Among his complaints is that, according to an e-mail he said he received from an FBI agent, on "one occasion the air conditioning had been turned so far and the temperature was so cold in the room that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold."
But that sure beats the temperatures on the upper floors of the World Trade Center that day when innocent Americans jumped to their deaths because jihadists turned passenger jets into manned cruise missiles.
Durbin quoted the e-mail as alleging that a prisoner who had been forced to listen to loud rap music had been "chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the floor." Why on earth would we restrain terrorists of the ilk that murdered 3,000 innocent people on American soil on Sept. 11, 2001, a date that seems to have escaped Durbin's memory?
UPDATE I -- June 18: Back when Amnesty International referred to the Guantanamo Bay dention center as "the gulag of our times," The Jawa Report had an essay that put things in perspective: The Gulag Archipelego vs. Amnesty International's 'Gulags'.
One measure of a civilized society is that words mean something: "Soviet" and "Nazi" and "Pol Pot" cannot equate to Guantanamo unless you've become utterly unmoored from reality. Spot the odd one out: 1) mass starvation; 2) gas chambers; 3) mountains of skulls; 4) lousy infidel pop music turned up to full volume. One of these is not the same as the others, and Durbin doesn't have the excuse that he's some airhead celeb or an Ivy League professor. He's the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Don't they have an insanity clause?
Again, the more one hears the specifics of the "insensitivity" of the American regime at Guantanamo, the more many of us reckon we're being way too sensitive. For example, camp guards are under instructions to handle copies of the Koran only when wearing gloves. The reason for this is that the detainees regard infidels as "unclean." Fair enough, each to his own. But it's one thing for the Islamists to think infidels are unclean, quite another for the infidels to agree with them. Far from being tortured, the prisoners are being handled literally with kid gloves (or simulated kid-effect gloves). The US military hand each jihadi his complimentary copy of the Koran as delicately as white-gloved butlers bringing His Lordship The Times of London. When I bought a Koran to bone up on Islam a couple of days after 9/11, I didnít wear gloves to the bookstore. If thatís "disrespectful" to Muslims, tough. You should have thought about that before you allowed your holy book to become the central motivation for global jihad.
Under fire from Republicans and some fellow Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other historically infamous figures.
"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."
His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.
"They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.
Posted by Forkum at June 17, 2005 04:13 PM