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Dick Durbin…

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An amazing article in the Chicago Sun Times about Dick Durbin:

And this is where it’s time to question Durbin’s patriotism. As Leahy implicitly acknowledges, Guantanamo is about “image” and “perception” — about how others see America. If this one small camp of a few hundred people has “drained the world’s good will,” whose fault is that?

The senator from Illinois’ comparisons are as tired as they’re grotesque. They add nothing useful to the debate. But around the planet, folks naturally figure that, if only 100 people out of nearly 300 million get to be senators, the position must be a big deal. Hence, headlines in the Arab world like “U.S. Senator Stands By Nazi Remark.”

This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat thing; it’s about senior Democrats who are so over-invested in their hatred of a passing administration that they’ve signed on to the nuttiest slurs of the lunatic fringe.

I really couldn’t say it better myself, but I’ll give it a shot

No one is shocked or disheartened by the fact that Democrats are opposing Bush every step of the way, it’s to be expected, however, nothing excuses the methods they have stooped to. Just as it is completely understandable to begin a power struggle with your parents after becoming a teenager, it is fine that Democrats don’t agree with Bush, but that doesn’t make slashing the tires on your dad’s truck ok, nor does it justify purposeful disruption of the American war effort.

That being said, his comments are just as ludicrous as they are unacceptable. I realize that listening to Pink or Xtina at loud volumes is heinous but it’s not exactly on par with Stalin. Turning off the heat is now considered torture? Are you kidding me? Making people uncomfortable so they’ll talk is kind of the entire premise behind interrogation. Where was Durbin when Saddam had his torture chambers? Is he currently protesting for the release of political prisoners in Cuba, China or any other regime? I don’t think so, and that contradiction illustrates his motives.

THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THINGS YOU COULD BE CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT FOR, Mr. Durbin, and a lot of them I would probably agree with you on, however, topics that hurt America should be off limits. I know it seems like common sense, but leave the exaggerations to non-security issues. Other than that, no one cares, you can try and characterize Bush as a moron, make it seem like Republicans hate black people, but for the love of Christ, leave the soldiers alone. You saw what happened when Newsweek fibbed a little, can you imagine an the impact of a Senator decrying our own POW system?

The author is right, it comes down to Patriotism or in a more general sense principles, do you or don’t you draw the line on what issues you politicize? Obviously the answer for Democrats these days does not include our national security interest and that is incredibily sad.

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  • Lisa Iannucci

    Do you seriously think that “the war effort” is compromised by opposition to it? I would argue that as long as Americans are in Iraq, they will continue to be victimized regardless of what Democrats or anyone else says or does. While the hyperbole was inept, Durbin has a right to speak his mind on issues which concern the interests of his constituents.

  • Randy Kirk

    I have a right to yell the N word in a crowded theatre in Watts, too. But it would not be very wise. Even less so if I’m in a position of power.

  • Chris Wilson

    Durbin is disgusting. I guess you would have to be a Democrat to understand trashing and lieing about your own country and its soldiers during wartime. Sad sad sad.

  • Ryab

    i think the war effort has been compromised in that we now have us citizens campaiging against methods that help the soliders, but then will feign sadness when the death toll rises.

  • http://captsirwin Dick Irwin

    Dick Durbin is disgusting. He thinks he is a patriot, give me a break, he does not really know what the word means. His thinking is screwed. Does he not realize the damage he has done to the soldiers of our country. Where is this man’s brain. (in his Ass?))

  • Chad Nielson

    I agree with what Dick Durbin is saying. What is happening in GITMO is a crime and it should be shut down. What kind of level have we reached to say it is OK to torture people? Terrorism or not, that is not right. These people deserve representation, and safety from torture.

  • Fury

    It feels odd being the only person that agreed with Durbin. His reading of the FBI text really did make me feel like I was reading a history book about a gulag or concentration camp.

    Then hearing all the taunts about how he’s the one endangering our armed forces? How can that be? Doesn’t the very existance of reports from our own FBI do that first? Maybe we should lynch the FBI agents reporting this information? To me it’s like blaming Cronkite for deaths in Vietnam.

    Sure Durbin added editorial. But if you weren’t affected or moved by the description, when did you lose your soul?


    “Then hearing all the taunts about how he’s the one endangering our armed forces? How can that be?”
    First, by equating members of the military with the jackbooted thugs. The troops get to read the paper as well, and appreciate the support of Sen. Durbin, a man who could go to GITMO and see for himself, but prefers to extrapolate details from a few lines in a memo.
    Second, by adding more fooder to the foreign news agencies that’ll take his comments and throw them up as proof that the US is imperialist and its troops little better than mindless killing robots. Any visitor to a site like Democratic Underground already knows there are people out there who don’t like the military, and use Sen Durbin comments as another link in the chain of justification of their contempt.

    One of the greatest strengths the US has is fredom of speech and it’s ability to examine and question practices and policies. Doing so responsibly rather than with hysterics and hyperbole is much more productive.

  • Fury

    I guess you have to ask yourself which hurts our troops more: news of the US reigning in a few that are tarnishing it’s image or the news of the US doing nothing and trying to hide it.

    Our troops are the elite when it comes to honor and courage. What’s criminal is that a select few are bringing them down.


    I’d hardly say that GITMO or Abu G were hidden and nothing was being done about it, plenty of DOD and media focus have been placed on both. In hte case of Abu G, the military was investigating before the press even got a hold of it, IIRC. The US and the world need to see that wrongdoers are punished and they are. Anyone know who ran the Gulags or the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields?

    What also needs to be more fully explained is the threat we face from the forces these detaines are taken from, and how to properly address it.
    In a way, it’s like the court appearance of a suspect, freshly shaven, nice suit, giving the impression that they could hardly have done whatever it is that they are accused of. IN the case of these detainees, many of them are accused of terrorist acts and facilitating terrorist acts, so don’t forget that many of them really don’t care what your politics are, they will kill you to further their cause.

    We also neeed to look realistically at a lot of what is now conflated as torture. A stress position can be as simple having a person stand up straight, but it sounds much worse if it’s called a stress position. Sleep deprivation is not torture, unless you break a guy’s arm to keeep him awake.
    Much is made of the interrogation techniques like Pride/Ego Down, sounds scary doesn’t it? It can be as simple as saying, “You were supposed to be willing to die for your cause, you couldn’t even do that right” Ooh, how intimidating.
    What is also not examined is the use of “positive” techniques” like establishing rapport, providing small incentives, etc. Those are used to elicit info as well, but they don’t sell papers. BTW, I’m not an interrogator, but all of this can be found easily on the internet or in books like “The interrogators” a good account of what was done in the opening days of the Afghanistan campaign.

  • Donald

    “Mr. President, there has been a lot of discussion in recent days about whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This debate misses the point. It is not a question of whether detainees are held at Guantanamo Bay or some other location. The question is how we should treat those who have been detained there. Whether we treat them according to the law or not does not depend on their address. It depends on our policy as a nation.”

    These ‘prisoners’ were picked up on the battle field of Afghanistan, fighting against an invading Army, and held because they were not wearing military uniforms.

    Afghanistan is a poor country and half their army didn’t have uniforms to begin with. When invaded by the US military every man who could carry a weapon was enlisted to fight in defense their country. There was not time to furnish all these people with a uniform.

    Bush calls them illegal combatants and Terrorists.

    How many Civilian Americans would rush to arms in defense of America should we be attacked? How many would not be wearing uniforms in battle?

    It was Bush who Declared these people have no legal rights. It was Bush who authorized interrorigation methods in violation of Geneva Convention and Torture methods condemned by the American’s.

    We daily condemn other nations for the same abuses Bush ordered our troops to utilize.

    Typical response from Republicans is an age old excuse “The Chinese do it and the Democrats did it”. Republicans discredited those actions when done by others and now want to use that age old excuse to justify their abuse. If it was wrong for them it must still be wrong and “two wrongs are never right.”

  • J-dog

    “How many Civilian Americans would rush to arms in defense of America should we be attacked? How many would not be wearing uniforms in battle?”

    1. I would, and that’s not because I’m crazy. I would do it to protect my family, my rights, and my freedoms. If that were to be lost, the only way to get liberty back would be to shed blood. History seems to prove that.

    2. Personally, if I got caught in the middle of an invasion, I would expect whoever was coming after us to do the same thing we did in Afghanistan.

  • Tim

    At least we’re not cutting people’s heads off in gitmo for not giving the information we want.

  • Mark Schannon
  • Mark Schannon

    Yikes…I didn’t mean to highlight all that. You know there’s no “help” section on this site–or I haven’t found it. sigh.

  • Nancy

    Pfffffft “Principles”? You mention “principles” and politicians in the same breath? Whatta you been smoking – medical marijuana? Election year for congress is next year, and you are talking about pols having priciples for ANY reason? Gimme a break. Durbin is just doing a Frist/DeLay/Jeb Bush: testing the waters with high-profile, cheap-talk posturing preperatory to throwing his hat into whatever ring it is he’s aiming at. As noted above, the Republicans indulge in cheap shots for PR, why shouldn’t the Dems? I’m not even discussing the idiocy of deploring conditions at Gitmo, since I don’t subscribe to making the holdees comfy & really don’t care if they are or not. This all gets back to the question of, if you’re going to fight, why use halfway measures? Meanwhile, Durbin, like Jeb & Bill & friends, is making himself look asinine more than anything else.

  • Donald

    Right J-Dog

    I’d grab my weapon and start shooting at anything remotely looking like the enemy.

    If Caught I would do anything I could to cause my captors as much headache as possible.

    I’m by, international Law, a prisoner of war.

    Bush says NO; “You’re an illegal Combatant who has no legal rights or even civil rights and we can treat you any way we wish.”

    Bush can complain about Agu Garab Prison and how Saddam tied prisoners to light fixtures, hanging them from the ceiling of their cells, and partially drowning them in tubs of water.

    Bush has authorized those self same interrogation methods to be used against prisoners.

    The SECRET Bases with it’s SECRET interrogation methods are comming to light.

    Foreign nations are now searching for people believed to have been kidnapped by the CIA and illegally taken out of their countries to SECRET prisons. We can expect these nations to file charges against the United States in the International Criminal Court. And family to file law suits for civil damages.

    It is not the messenger but the method, Bush authorized, causing the problem for our troops.

  • J-dog

    I’m a bit puzzled, so be patient with me…

    If our country is at war, as a civilian, am I subject to the same treatment as an officer or even an enlisted soldier in the military? If that’s the case then I can see why Donald’s point of view is valid. But I don’t know if that’s how the military looks at it. A terrorist is much more likely to keep an officer alive than it is just a civilian. That’s a problem. Most people with a liberal point of view think that when it comes to war everyone is on equal footing, but the value of lives in such a setting is very different.

    Is this making sense?

  • David R. Mark

    I’ll say it again: If we are going to criticize Durbin for using a Nazi reference, are we also going to criticize Rick Santorum (R-PA) for using a Nazi reference?

    It’s amazing how hypocritical people can be.

  • Dave Nalle

    David, can you post a source where we can see Santorum’s nazi remark. I’d like to check it out.

    Donald: “I’d grab my weapon and start shooting at anything remotely looking like the enemy.
    If Caught I would do anything I could to cause my captors as much headache as possible.
    I’m by, international Law, a prisoner of war.”

    No, by international law you’re an armed civilian, a saboteur, terrorist or illegal insurgent, actually. Read the Geneva Convention sometime.


  • Donald

    Dave Nalle

    A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

    1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

    2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

    (a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

    (b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

    (c) That of carrying arms openly;

    (d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    I believe my actions will fit. I also believe most of those prisoners at Gitmo were under orders from someone with higher authority and openly carrying weapons. They as well as I would be operating inside my own territory surrounded by enemy attackers.

  • Dave Nalle

    I’m pretty sure that cutting off heads and torturing civilians doesn”t fall under ‘conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war’. Also, most of the Taliban irregulars had no uniform of any kind. These two things are what generally distinguish terrorists from soldiers.

    Remember to be a legitimate combatant you have to meet ALL of the criteria, not just one or two of them.


  • Jdog

    I think Bill O’Reilly’s current column makes sense of this subject…

  • andy marsh

    I’m not a big oreilly fan…but I do like that column!