Thursday, June 23, 2005

Snap! If you think Durbin said American soldiers are like Nazis, you are an idiot.

Zorn's got a great column today on what Durbin should have said.

This is the best part:

The America I believe in is better than the America on display in our overseas prisons. The America I believe in inspires rather than disgusts the international community.

If anything I said caused you to believe that I was equating American soldiers with Nazis or equating American leaders with Adolf Hitler or Pol Pot, then you are an idiot.

I said nothing of the kind.

I said that our mistreatment of wartime prisoners is of the sort you'd expect to see in a brutal, totalitarian dictatorship, not in a nation that has long congratulated itself on its exceptionally high standards of liberty and law.


And yes, that's what commentators and operatives and even our news media blindly parroted: "Durbin compared American soldiers to Nazis"

The Senator didn't say that!

But the right-wing machine rallied around the support the troops mantra, and Durbin apologized.

Well, do you support the troops if they torture?

I don't.

And American troops have tortured.

A few of them are serving time for torturing in Abu Ghraib.

I don't support them.

Do you?

Because if you don't condemn those American soliders who have tortured -- as Senator Durbin wisely did -- you are besmirching the 99.99% of our soldiers who are as digusted as Senator Durbin is by torture.

And if you let the Bush Administration off the hook for their tolerance of torture, then you are also besmirching the good name of this nation.

That's the real deal.


IlliniPundit said...


To paraphrase Senator Durbin: I apologize if you think I'm an idiot.

MDS said...

I've always thought Durbin is a weakling, a coward, and the kind of guy whose guiding principle is doing whatever will help raise his poll number a point or two. I'm glad he proved me right by his gutless apology. The last time I voted for a candidate who wasn't a Democrat was in 1996. That year I voted for the Libertarian (whose name I don't remember) because I couldn't bring myself to vote for a gutless coward like Durbin (and I certainly wasn't going to vote for Al Salvi).

For a few brief days last week, I thought I was wrong, and I was thrilled that a senator was speaking the truth on the Senate floor. And then he caved in like the wimp he is. I called Durbin's office yesterday and told the nice man on the phone how angry I was. I also called Daley's office and said it was despicable that Daley criticized what Durbin said. How can anyone support Dick Durbin when we know that he'll never have the courage of his convictions?

Bill Baar said...

Lesson here is don't call people Nazis,,, whomever DD called a Nazi, Stalinist, Pot Potist, etc... it's worked out to be a losing strategy. It was deliberate too... a deliberate losing stratety. I'm afraid his Party's leadership has embraced it too. Goodbye Democratic Party.

Vasyl said...

I agree with Zorn and Dan on the substance here: that the real criticism is that America shouldn't violate human rights, and if she does, we need to condemn it loudly. And Zorn hits the nail squarely on the head with his observation that one automatically loses an argument when making a Hitler comparison.

Zorn, however, is a bit naive to think that his re-written speech, if given by a politician, would not be subject to an attack. Offhand, I imagine the right-wing would say something like, "Dick Durbin called Americans who support our troops 'idiots.'"

The point here is that the conservatives who want to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in this war will always seek to change the subject. It is indefensible (imo) for this country -- a country I love precisely because of its respect for human rights -- to torture prisoners, even if the prisoners are enemy combatants.

I just think we're better than that as a nation. Respecting basic human rights makes waging a war harder,perhaps; but I have faith that we're a strong enough and smart enough nation to engage in battle without losing our humanity.

Of course, the right wing tries to change the subject. It's easier to attack a liberal than defend the indefensible.

thatcoloredfella said...

Well said DJ!

I've been having this back and forth with this guy Tom Quigley, who initially emailed me to sign a Durbin resignation petition. I should've known my curt reply 'Nice try dick head!', would elicit the string of hysterical diatribes which best reflect the mindset of those on the Right, presently.

Durbin's remarks required one's attention to context, and consideration of nuances that those of us on the vindicated, poised Left are in ample supply of.

ArchPundit said...

== whomever DD called a Nazi, Stalinist, Pot Potist, etc..

He didn't call anyone a Nazi. He compared the tactics described as being something you'd hear on a report from one of those regimes. I think it makes a mistake in comparing incidents that are too frequent, but not standard practice to regimes of terror and for that reason he made a mistake, but anyone who read the speech and understands English should be able to figure out that he didn't call anyone Nazis or Soviets or Khmer Rouge.

===I'm afraid his Party's leadership has embraced it too.

WTF? Huh?

FightforJustice said...

I agree with ArchPundit. Durbin made a pejorative comparison he couldn't defend. I condemn torture to the extent it occurs. I don't think it occurs with the frequency and viciousness as in the gulag, the Nazi camps, and the Killing Fields.