In a speech on the Senate earlier this week, Democrat Richard J. Durbin of Illinois made absurd and intolerable charges against the American military's actions at the Guantanamo Bay.
Sen. Durbin has compared the U.S. military's treatment of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo with the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot, three of history's most brutal dictators, whose regimes killed millions of people.
Hitler's death camps murdered 9 million persons, including 6 million Jews, 2.7 million persons were slaughtered in Stalin's gulags and Pol Pot executed 1.7 million Cambodians.
In sharp contrast to those real situations of mistreatment and criminal conduct by real murderers and torturers, consider that no prisoners have died at Guantanamo, and the cases of abuse involve what can only accurately be described as inconveniences and moderate discomfort to the captives, or irreverent handling of the Koran, the holy book of Muslims.
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.
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."
Forcing captives to endure rap at any volume is torture, to be sure, and forcing people to listen to rap at loud levels would tempt one to beg to be executed by a firing squad. But Sen. Durbin’s claim that making captives cold or chaining them to the floor is torture at the level of the Nazis, Soviets or Pol Pot is so plainly stupid, irresponsible, reckless exaggerated, hysterical and harmful as to warrant Durbin’s removal from office.
Even if a few isolated cases of abuse have occurred – and we would be indulging in fantasy to think that some abuse would not occur in any such situation by any nation on Earth – to equate those minor problems with the horrors caused by the Nazis, Soviets or Pol Pot is preposterous, deliberately deceitful, fraudulent and just plain insulting to the brave men and women who wear our uniform and defend our country with their lives.
The Washington Times quoted White House spokesman Trent Duffy: "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,"
"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," Mr. Duffy 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."
Critics of the Bush administration and the Iraq war charge that our presence in Iraq increases the fervor among Muslim fanatics to retaliate against the U.S. and Americans, and that it has increased the number of these murderers who are willing to take up arms against the U.S. However, when people in positions of influence within the U.S., like for example the second most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate, make such fallacious charges, their behavior is at least as harmful, and perhaps more so. It is not unreasonable to believe that Mr. Durbin’s impulsive, imprudent and thoughtless comments will give aid and comfort to the enemy and further incite Muslim fanatics.Sen. Durbin and his kind are indulging in seditious behavior, and should be removed from office, and tried for treason.