Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My Senator's Remarks on the Senate Floor

On behalf of the people of Illinois, I offer an apology for our Senator Dick Durbin. I wish I could say that it won't happen again, but the Senator is somewhat of a loose cannon.

Here's a verbatim transcript straight out of the Senate record:

We still would have the ability to hold detainees and to interrogate them aggressively. Members of al-Qaida would not be prisoners of war. We would be able to do everything we need to do to keep our country safe. The difference is, we would not have damaged our reputation in the international community in the process.

Stand by for some real damage...
When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here—I almost hesitate to put them in the RECORD, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

Hold on! Gotta get my really, really tiny violin. Okay. Here we go. Some sad, sad music for this dramatic reading by Senator Dick:
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 detainee
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.

Tough interrogation? Sure. Is it torture? I don't think so. If we had plucked the mans hairs out one by one? Maybe, sure. But here's the money quote:

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.

I would have to say... no, I wouldn't assume this was any of the above. The people above might have gassed them or given them over for medical experiments, worked them to death planting turnips in the permafrost (to borrow a line from Lileks), or massacred them while they tried to run away.

By using this kind of over-the-top hyperbole on the floor of the Senate, I believe Senator Durbin has just encouraged the worst kind of anti-American sentiment in the world, and made life ever more difficult for our armed forces abroad. And for what? Well, I can't say for sure, naturally, but if I had to take an educated guess, I would sum it with "fund raising". Red meat for the left-wing, Blame-America-First crowd.

That's right. He's impugned the character of his own country for filthy political gain.

Here's another little bit:

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 3 additional minutes.

Senator A: Should we stop him?
Senator B: Forget it. He's rolling

Mr. DURBIN. It is not too late. I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course. The President could declare the United States will apply the Geneva Conventions to the war on terrorism. He could declare, as he should, that the United States will not, under any circumstances, subject any detainee to torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Oh! Like beheading? Making them beg for their lives and showing the videos on al-Jazeera TV?
The administration could give all detainees a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention before a neutral decisionmaker.

Yes, friends, the Geneva Conventions. If we really applied the Geneva Conventions, these men, not fighting under the flag of any country and without uniform, would have been summarily executed right on the field of battle. Not what he means, I'm sure. He admitted earlier that al-Qaeda members wouldn't count under the GC. I'm not sure who else he had in mind. Bring them before a neutral decisionmaker? If I know my Democrats like I think I do, that could only mean a Federal judge appointed by Clinton or Carter.

Supposing that we let them go, what does he believe would happen? They'd go back to a quiet life in the suburbs of Riyadh or Islamabad or Amman?

Sure. Or maybe they'd go back out and attempt to kill Americans. Like this. (Hat tip: the Jet Set Chick, via Rantburg)


Lyford said...

Durbin in context
"I do not here accuse Senator Durbin of hating America, but if he were actively seeking to work against the United States and her interests in the world, he could not produce a statement better tuned to furthering those goals."

eLarson said...

Oh, I agree. I'm sure in his own way, Dick Durbin believes to his core that he is a great patriot saying these things.

If he hates anyone, it would be Bush. My working theory is that anything that works against this global war on violent Islamism (yes, "War on Terror is certainly more compact) is a blow to Bush and his legacy.

I wish he could view the wider consequences of his statements.

a guy in pajamas said...

The only thing that will restore America's reputation in the world is if we ratify the EU constitution. Or pay off some French, Russian, and UN officials. (I hear they come cheap these days.) Otherwise, the US will continue to be the left's whipping boy, as it has been for decades.

eLarson said...

Come to think of it... I wonder if Senator Dick has been to the Holocaust Memorial, or to Auschwitz or Dachau.