Monday, June 20, 2005

Gitmo Versus the Gulag

I have three questions that no one else seems to be asking about the salacious statements of Senator Dick Durbin (DEMOCRAT) of Illinois. To be complete, Sen. Durbin (D) read a report of an FBI agent who gave an eyewitness account of a prisoner at Gitmo being ill-treated. He was bound, hand to feet, and laying on the ground in a fetal position. The room was alternately very cold and very hot. He was laying in his own excrement. They were playing rap music very loudly.

Senator Durbin (D) suggested that if the description had been read without describing where it was taking place, we would have thought it was in a prison camp of the Nazis/Stalinist/Pol Pot.

Those who have been upset
with Sen. Durbin (D) have primarily argued that it is ridiculous to compare this incident or any similar incident with the treatment of the Nazis, Stalinists, or Pol Pot. Of course they are right, and it is an outrageous hyperbole. However, the comparison fails at several other levels that I’ve not seen mentioned.

1. In those regimes, treatment such as this and much worse was policy, and would not have been of concern to anyone in the ranks. Obviously, to Americans, even this level of handling was seen and reported as too much. Isn’t this an American Distinction that bears noting?

2. There would not have been a free press to report it, or free speech to debate it. Isn’t this part of our uniqueness as Americans that should be reported?

3. In no way does this treatment rise to the level of torture. If someone read it to me, and I didn’t know what is was describing, I would have thought of the “hole” in some jail, a crack house in downtown L.A. (except for the chains), or an S and M parlor. I wouldn’t have thought of Nazis. There I think of gold removed from teeth, scientific experiments on children. I wouldn’t have thought of Pol Pot. There I think of wholesale slaughter. I wouldn’t have thought of Stalin who would have never sent anyone to a place that had heat. Does anyone think that this rises to the level of torture?

4. These men are not innocents. The vast majority of those who were killed by Nazis, Pol Pot, and Stalin were innocent. The men we are holding are guilty of being part of a plan to kill innocents. We aren’t killing them, but treating them quite well. Wouldn’t this be an even more important moral distinction?

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