Thursday, June 23, 2005

Durbin Shouldn't Have Apologized

The latest debate being held in the blogosphere is whether the Durbin apology should have been given. The radical right-wing blogs such as redstate claim that Durbin was wrong and his apology was the least he could have done. They argue that torture isn't going on at Gitmo, and that letting chained, naked POW's defecate on themselves in extreme cold is a normal interrogation technique. The conscious liberal blogs such as DailyKos and Alternet have mixed reactions to Durbin's apology. On the one hand, Durbin's comments may have hurt some people's feelings, so an apology was necessary. On the other hand, Durbin's remarks were truthful and really hurt the GOP. Therefore, he shouldn't have apologized.

This is the best diary I have read about the Durbin apology. The entire diary is found here. Here are some excerpts:

Durbin was not wrong. Not wrong in what he said. Not wrong in saying it. And the only person who has crossed the line is George W. Bush -- and we've heard no apologies from him.

Let's review. Durbin, quoting from an FBI memo, described how some detainees at Gitmo were chained naked, hand and foot to a concrete floor and left that way for up to 18 hours a day, where they inevitably urinated and defecated on themselves.

Durbin observed, correctly, that if someone read that account not knowing anything more, they would assume the people doing this to prisoners were Nazis or one of the other despicable regimes of history.

Durbin was immediately flamed by the White House and Republicans in Congress. How dare he compare the behavior of US soldiers to that of Nazis?

I agree, the wrong person has apologized. What a fucked up country we live in! Here is Stephen Pizzo's excellent reasoning behind Durbin's comments:But let me tell you why Durbin was right to make the comparison. And to make my point I am going to use the same argument conservatives use to justify their war on drugs.
If marijuana is a gateway drug, I ask conservatives, what's chaining a person naked to a cement floor and letting them sit in their own waste all day? A taste of torture? A snort of the abuse? Where do you go from there? A few lines of water-boardering? From there it's a short step to electric shock (after all, they're already wet.)
It's the proverbial slippery slope. And we're on it.

Great explanation of Durbin's apologetic screw-up:
If you think about all this for a moment with the partisan side of your brain turned off, you can see that all Durbin was trying to do was what any responsible parent of a teen would do after finding meth in their daughter's purse. He was trying to warn that we are playing with fire.

But, instead of listening up, his colleagues got all defensive, ganged up and beat the crap out of him. They kept it up until he agreed to say, "it ain't so."

Well it is so, and Durbin should not have caved. But clearly these patients remain in deep denial and are not quite ready to admit they're becoming hooked on the stuff -- far from it. Nightly now we hear Neo-cons and their supporters on talk shows actually justifying the rough treatment of POWs, treatment that just a generation ago would have had American civilians reaching for the air sickness bag.

The NeoCons advocate torture and humiliation:
But suddenly brutal humiliation of POWs in our care has become "necessary."

I don't quite understand why. Torture wasn't necessary 60 years ago when literally all of Western civilization was threatened by German fascism. Torture wasn't necessary during the Cold War, when the former Soviet Union had both the weapons and inclination to fricassee everyone west of Poland.

But today, when a few thousand certifiably crazy radical Muslims go on a murderous rampage, the fate of the nation suddenly hinges on being able to "rough up" (a.k.a. torture) prisoners. I don't get it. (Could it be that torture has replaced good intelligence-gathering?)

Mr. President, YOU should be apologizing. Shame on you and the rest of your radical conservative theocrat colleagues.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Yup, that's about right.