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.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.
Of course, what Durbin is saying is that such torture -- undisputed, by the way, and read from an FBI report -- is more at home in a place like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany than in a modern Democracy.
And that's the truth. Plain and simple.
Remember when torture was bad? And getting rid of it was good? President Bush, Oct. 8 2003:
Of course, none of that has happened. The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command. And Dick Durbin had the balls to say it so on the Senate floor.
And these cowards -- these people who will neither serve the cause they claim is so vital, nor urge others to serve it -- now rush to defend behavior that is indefensible?
But the larger point is this: America is supposed to have higher standards than the Nazis or Stalin, not embrace them or use them as a defense. There is no reason that we should have a gulag in the sun or be accused of torture. We should have jailed and tried these people legally. Not acted like the people we're supposed to be fighting.
One day, Americans will be subjected to this and then what will these people say "it's unfair"? Well, we tossed away our conscience and morals to achieve this end, and the result will be grim. But they won't be the ones paying it. They will be hiding behind their keyboards like the cowards they are, whining, lying and rejoicing in the suffering of others and wishing to see evem more brutality, but only from a safe distance.
That's the thinking and the mantra of today's brand of Republicans who run the party and run the right-wing noise machine. The law is irrelevant, the norms of humanity are irrelevant. With God on our side - well, the Baptist fundamentalist God on our side, thank you - they can do no wrong.
Really, what is the Right trying to accomplish here? Inflict so much pain on Durbin that others will think twice before they levy legitimate criticisms of the war? Are they so hell-bent on their political correctness that any criticisms of the war effort is considered treasonous?
Last time I checked, the American people were giving up on Bush's folly. Last time I checked, most people still think torture is wrong, worthy of condemnation. Last time I checked, the War Pundits, War Politicians, War Preachers, and 101st Fighting Keyboarders still refused to personally sacrifice for the war effort. Last time I checked, that sad lot still refused to call their own supporters to sacrifice for the war effort.
At a time when REAL support for the troops means providing them with the equipment and manpower necessary to fight the war effectively, they agitate for neither.
Instead, they try to shut down a US senator reading from an FBI report. From Bush's FBI. Because the truth hurts. So we must supress it. And we'll do it by shedding crocodile tears for the troops. Because who gives a shit about them, so long as our heroic, do-no-wrong President looks good on the evening news.
Well, I stand with Durbin. Proudly. Because opposing torture is the Right Thing, despite violating the wingnut manual of political correct speech. And the rest of the Senate Democratic caucus better be standing with him as well.
You are either for torture, or against it. Let the chips fall where they may.