Thursday, June 16, 2005

Torture at Guantanamo Bay is reprehensible

Dick Durbin on the Senate floor tells it like it is.

The Bush Administration tortured people in Guantanamo Bay -- more precisely, under the Bush Administration's direction, U.S. servicemen and women tortured the enemy.

That's what bad countries do.

And Bush is a bad President.

And he has authorized some bad things.

So when Dick Durbin calls this out, what does the White House do?



They call for Durbin to apologize!

For telling the truth!

And call him "reprehensible!"

The people who won't permit photographs of American coffins coming back from the war, and the same Administration whose spokesman said shortly after 9/11 "people need to watch what they say" is now calling a United States Senator reprehensible for telling the truth!

They hide behind our troops. They hide their mistakes behind our troops.

These guys running the White House are appalling. They lie.

They lie about the war. They lie about the budget (remember, they threatened to fire a bureaurcrat for telling the truth about how much the Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost). They lie!

Here, as a reminder, are some of the lies about Iraq they told.

Push back, Dick Durbin. And Democrats ought to praise him and defend him for telling the truth and not let these liars try to bully him into silence.


TomorrowsLeaderToday said...

Why are people getting a little upset that senator told the truth!

FightforJustice said...

People are upset because he used Deaniac inflamatory analogies to the Nazis, gulags and killing fields. Perhaps his point would've gotten across better without the exaggerations.

Dave said...

The point wouldn't have gotten across at all without the "exagerations". Who would have noticed? Not the media.

Sandra said...

When you read his full comment it is not hyperbole or an exageration. The description from the FBI report DOES sound like something that would happen at one of those places, not something that we would do. That is what he said. And if you read the congressional record much you will see that are all kinds of statements in it made all the time that are much crazier!

IMHO, this statement was pulled out and seized upon as a way of punishing Durbin, plain and simple. Perhaps it was for some specific piece of legislation that he is working on, or for not supporting something that someone else wanted to him to support, or perhaps it was just a general smackdown to try to keep him and the others Dems from getting to uppity. Or maybe it had nothing to do with him and was just a good way to deflect attention from whatever stinker piece of news they are planning for their Friday release.

I don't have a lot of contact with traditional media sources, but if end result is focusing more attention on what is being done in Guantanamo, then perhaps some good will come of it. Because this whole issue really, really freaks me out because it is so completly unexcusable and unbelievable and utterly horribly wrong to torture people!!! Sheesh!

IlliniPundit said...

My problem was that he complained about "...what Americans had done to prisoners in their control..." which is indicting everyone instead of the few bad apples, or, to make his political point, the Bush Administration.

If Durbin wants to call GWB a Nazi, I don't care. It just makes Durbin look foolish. But he painted with much too broad a brush here, and that's what's aggravated me so much.

Bill Baar said...

Durbin is entitled as a US Senator to get on over to Andrews AFB, hop a flight to Gitmo, walk through the gates and poke around where ever he likes.

If he thinks US Forces are committing atrocieties on par with Hitler's, Stalins's, and Pol Pots; then I believe he's morally obligated to do just that. He has the authority and power to act, and only lacks the will.

To not do so -if he really believe what he said- I find morally corrupt. He needs to resign either way: because he lied and abetted the enemy, or because he knows of some great crime and refuses to act besides going on TV.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Hey, if American soldiers are torturing people, that's out government's fault. It's passing the buck to blame it on a few bad apples and it's covering for the bad decisions of the Bush Administration to torture and find a rationale for it. It's too easy to blame low-level people. This was an executive decision that has endangered our national security. Talking about that bad decision on the Senate floor is moving us towards repealing that bad decision which will protect us.

Sandra said...

I was just reminded of this quote:

"I mean, imagine, the rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'"

This was Rick Santorum on the floor of the Senate just one month ago, talking about the nuclear option!

Contrast this with what Durbin said:

"If I read this to you [the FBI report] 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."

I don't think it is an exageration (with the exception of the referance in the FBI report to rap music, of course) to state that the actions that were described in the report would make people think they were hearing descriptions of things done by Nazi's, etc. And it is factual to state that they were the actions of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners -- unless the report is untrue. If he were Rick Santorum he might have stated that the people running Guantanamo were "the equivalent" of Adolph Hitler, as Sen. Santorum stated about the Senate Democrats, but he did not.

What really cracks me up about this whole situation is hearing the media complaining about all the media attention he is getting! Too funny! He could probably get even more if he could just think of a way to include a picture of a girl in a bikini ... then they could report on the story non-stop.

cal skinner said...

Here's what a former chaplain at Gitmo and Methoidst minister from Northwestern Illinois wrote in an email today. My apologies for the length. I didn't want to edit it:

The following is a e-mail letter I wrote to the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries concerning their announcement of beginning a new campaign.

Please feel free to pass it along to others and especially any other United Methodists.

FROM: Reverend Kent L. Svendsen
Ordained Elder
United Methodist Church / Northern Illinois Conference

Dear Women's Division
General Borad of Global Ministries
United Methodist Church

I understand that you about to start a campaign relating to among other things human rights protections and the detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

I can speak with some authority on the subject since I served as the chaplain to the Joint Detention Operation Group in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from May 2004 until March 2005.
As a United Methodist I have a keen sense of world justice and while serving in Cuba sought to be faithful to our social principles and their concern for social holiness.

So I am not speaking to you as a military chaplain but as an Ordained United Methodist.

I have a great concern for our news media sources today. There was a day
when the truth and protecting our nation from harm took precedence over being the first to break a story. Now it seems that accusations, no matter how harmful, no matter the source, no matter the possible consequences, are enough to use them as weapons upon the innocent as well as the guilty.
I am also grieved that there seems to be not only an automatic assumption of guilt when the accusations are aimed at our military and our government, but that any explanation aimed at proving them innocent is also
automatically viewed as a "cover up". And that when those who are guilty of violations are uncovered, prosecutated, and punished there is a tendency by some to want to use
that as evidence that the violations were policy instead a violation of the standing orders and policy. What the new media and groups like the Woman's Division needs to understand is that accusations cause harm and create damage that a retraction and
an admission of error later cannot repair. (I don't think we will ever really know exactly how many died after Newsweek made the false accusation of a Koran being flushed
down a toilet.)

There are those who would use accusations such as those recently made against our military as weapons to gain political power. They count on the fact that people will believe something if its said enough times and said by people and organizations they respect. It was the case in the past that our nation's opponents tried to prevent our culture and news sources from reaching their people. After all, the ideas of freedom, democracy, and equality for all doesn't play well in some parts of the world. So since modern technology cannot be stopped and "world news" is now also news to the world there is now a new strategy. They use it to their advantage as a weapon against our nation.

The accusations are flying fast and furious. If your organzation would be interested in knowing about my experience. (I cannot talk about the day to day activities in the camp but I can either verify or deny many of the accusations that are being made.)

Here's a list that might help you if your willing to listen to an Ordained Elder who knows the facts rather than accusations made based on speculation. I'll respond here
specifically to some of the one's I've heard.

1. The detainees have direct access to the International Red Cross represenatativies contrary to the accusations that they have no outside contact. Also, all the detainees are allowed to write and receive mail from family.

2. The detainees have their food prepared according to Islamic guidelines. The call to prayer is broadcast for them to go to prayer. Each detainee has the direction
to Meccah painted in their cell. They are allowed to practice their religion wihtout interference and are given the religious items they need to do so. They are allowed
to observe Ramadan.

3. There are strict guidelines and training concerning human rights protections. If a service member sees a violation they are to report it and if asked to violate someone's
human rights they are to consider it as an unlawful order. Those who violate are subject to prosecution.

If you are interested in more information please contact me. There is also an article about my work in Cuba which was published in the July issue of Esquire magazine.

Kent Svendsen
Chaplain (Major) USAR

MDS said...

This minister makes a bunch of accusations against the media and yet he can come up with exactly one example of a time when the media got a story wrong. If the media reports about abuse at Guantanamo are as bad as he claims, he should have no trouble citing dozens of inaccuracies. Instead he comes out with the same dead horse the Bush administration has been flogging for weeks. The reason they jumped all over the Newsweek story and not all the others is that they know all the others are true.

n. y. krause said...

In a just world, Bush would not only be impeached and removed from office but would do prison time as well.

ArchPundit said...

===My problem was that he complained about "...what Americans had done to prisoners in their control..." which is indicting everyone instead of the few bad apples, or, to make his political point, the Bush Administration.

What is done in the name of the US Government is done in all citizen's name. I don't like the use of the three examples, but he used exactly the correct phrase to place responsibility. In a democracy it isn't the government's fault, it is the people's fault.

FightforJustice said...

Optimist, Dan, and Sandra can give up defending Durbin, now that he admits he made a big mistake. Republicans should treat the Durbin apology the same way Dems treated Trent Lott's apologies when he stuck his foot in his mouth.