Thursday, June 16, 2005

Overblown Political Rhetoric of the Week

In the second installment of this very prestigious award, this week's winner is Senate Minority Whip and one of my former Senate representatives, Dick Durbin, who said the following during a floor speech on Tuesday:
Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18–24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detaineee was shaking with cold.

On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

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.

Yeah making some guy wet himself or making him sweat or making him shiver is on the same level as gassing millions of people or arresting and working to death millions of dissidents or genocide. Is some of the treatment of detainees inappropriate? Absolutely. I think making some guy wet himself or defecate himself is not an acceptable way to treat someone, even if that person wishes to harm America. The officers responsible for that kind of treatment should be disciplined. However, I continue to wonder what the hell the politicians are thinking when they make asinine metaphors like this. Frankly, these kinds of metaphors are offensive to the millions of people who were victimized by the Nazis, the Soviets in the gulags, Pol Pot and any other nasty and brutish regimes politicans wish to compare to the detainees' treatment at Guantanamo Bay. Despite the offensiveness of Durbin's remarks, Durbin has refused to apologize.

So what prompted Durbin's rant Guantanamo Bay? The President's Energy bill. Seems logical. It's good to see that Democratic leaders like Durbin and Howard Dean are doing all they can to make sure the Republicans have a larger majority in Congress the next election.