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First of all, Andrew Sullivan can't read. I assumed he could, but he can't.

Billmon, as he's wont to do, nails it:

If the inhabitants of greater Dachau could ignore the smoke billowing from the chimneys of the invisible, unmentionable camp up on the hill, why shouldn't we expect most Americans to ignore what's going on in Guantanamo, or Bagram or Abu Ghraib -- or any of the other islands in the archipelago?

Conservatives, of course, froth at the use of such terms, which is why the propaganda machine immediately zeroed in on Durbin's reference to an extreme nationalist party that flourished in a certain central European country in the 1930s and early 1940s. Just as they popped a vein over Amnesty International's use of a Russian word for forced labor camp.

Strictly on the facts of the case, they are correct: The American archipelago is just a series of flyspecks compared to its Soviet predecessor. At its peak, the Soviet gulags held an estimated 2.5 million prisoners. The number of deaths -- by torture, execution, disease or deliberate starvation -- has to be counted in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. The KGB, meanwhile, set a record for the assembly-line murder of political prisoners that I don't think has been matched since, not even by that wannabe Saddam.

As for the central European extremist leader, well, we all know what he did.

I guess that's enough to satisify most conservatives. (Maybe they should print up some bumper stickers: "America: Still better than Stalin.") But some of us have slightly higher expectations of a modern parliamentary democracy.

Is this really such a hard point to understand?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:19 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Forget the torture for a minute. (4.00)
    Even if there were no torture.  

    Has this country decided that it's OK to lock people up indefinitely without knowing WHETHER THEY ARE REALLY GUILTY OF ANYTHING other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    The right really have sold their souls to the devil.  

    •  Those people don't look like Republicans (4.00)
      That girl in Aruba does. That's why white people weep for her but not the 10's of thousands dead in Iraq.

      Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

      by The past is over on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:33:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How Hitler became a dictator (4.00)
      Lots of people use the facist label but few have really taken the time to get to know how Hitler rose to power. You should take the five minutes to read this:

      http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0403a.asp

      If you do a google search on "Hitler religion", you will find tons of links on "Hitler announces his war on the godless" and how he used religion as one of his main themes in manipulating the German people against the atheistic communists.

      That first link is the "cliff notes" version of "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." It is truly alarming when you compare it to the events of the day... from the USAPATRIOT Act to Sensenbrenners bill to repeal the 22nd amendment.

      •  Broken Record (none)
        I really am starting to sound like a broken record, but I'm a stickler for facts.

        Clarification:
        This is not some Rovian tactic. Sensebrenner is only one of four people currently working to introduce the bill, and Sensenbrenner is the only Republican on the list. One of them is Hoyer, House Minority Whip.

        That's all. :)

        "Fifty percent of people won't vote, and fifty percent don't read newspapers. I hope it's the same fifty percent." - Gore Vidal

        by spasticbean on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:01:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Better safe than sorry (none)
      that seems to be their argument.  Guantanamo is not making us safe, why can't they understand this?  Is it sheer craziness or knee-jerk partisanship?

      I can tell we must have forgotten our own history.  Our Constitution was specifically made "innocent until proven guilty," not the opposite.

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:19:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the constitution ain't for foreigners (none)
        There are also a lot of people being held indefinitely because they entered the US with bad visas or visa disputes.  They are not technically "in" the US, but there is one of these prisons in NY that is legally not in the country.
        Since there isn't any way to resolve the cases, and the non-citizens aren't charged with anything, they wait there.  Conditions are said to be much worse than official US prisons.
        source: Village Voice article several years ago.
  •  Good clarification.. (none)
    i was just checking the 'catfight' diary and was hoping kos would post a bit more.
  •  If it's really just all about the numbers (4.00)
    for Republicans maybe they should erect a big sign outside of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib like the Golden Arches and underneath they can tell us exactly how many have been "served" torture. This way we will know the exact point this administration has surpasses Hitler or Stalin.

    Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

    by The past is over on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:21:44 PM PDT

  •  Maybe I misunderstand the term... (4.00)
    ... moral relativism, but as I understand it, right is right and wrong is wrong. The "they're more wrong than we are" argument shouldn't get it -- even by their own standards.

    hink

    •  But, Ma . . . . (4.00)
      WHY can't I torture people????  EVERYBODY ELSE is!!!!!
      •  That's it. (4.00)
        That's the whole fucking point. "They're going to do it to us anyways." That's what I hear over and over from the jackass conservative at work. I point this out every time, but it never sinks in.

        Aren't we supposed to be better? Then it's always, "They're evil people."

        When I ask why can't we have them go through due process and prove it, the subject quickly changes.

        He knows he's wrong. I can see it. His style of speaking changes, he chooses his words carefully. He's wrong, at a basic level. He just refuses to admit it.

        -Faux

        In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

        by faux on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:53:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "They're evil people" (none)
          Amnesty International FAQ
          The USA has detained approximately 70,000 people outside United States sovereign territory since 11 September 2001. More than 10,000 are believed to remain in direct US custody, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo, and undisclosed locations.

          If I just did the math correctly, 70,000 works out to about fifty people detained per day in the GWOT since Sept. 11. Two detainees per hour. And they're all evil people, obviously, as Amnesty goes on to observe:

          To date, no-one held outside the sovereign territory of the USA has been tried or convicted of any criminal offence. Four people have been charged and are awaiting trial by military commission in Guantánamo Bay.

          Again, if I just did the math correctly, this means we've cobbled together a legal case meriting trial in approximately six-thousandths of a percent (0.0057%) of these "worst of the worst" detentions. Slam dunk!

          Bush, speaking about Saddam to the UN:

          Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment....

          Sickening hypocrisy. "I wonder how long it will be / Before the nations of the world / Begin to impose sanctions upon my land." -- Billy Bragg

          (Find more childish observations along these lines in Evildoers at my lonely little blog. Or, if you prefer familiar surroundings, I cross-posted it here.)

    •  During the Abu Ghraib scandal (4.00)
      I asked my resident wingnut should we change America's slogan to: "America, at least we don't behead people."  I belong to the liberal school of patriotism.  I actually want America to be what it says it is.  I believe in the words of the Constitution.  Conservatives would have us believe that patriotism is blind acceptance of America's greatness, no questions asked.

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:11:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What are we doing today (4.00)
    that was different when Saddam was in power?  

    The answer is the people felt safe then.  Now they don't know who is going to rape, torture, murder them.  Shame on us.

    •  Good point (none)
      The answer is the people felt safe then. First rules for survival in a totalitarian state: keep your head down and learn to avoid making eye contact with the wrong people.

      Of course, there is a quantitative difference between Bush's approach and Saddam's, but that's about it. And even the quantitative difference shrinks daily. As the great absurdist Daniil Kharms once wrote, "The law of large and small numbers is the same; the difference is only quantitative." (Stalin eventually had to murder Kharms for writing this kind of stuff.)

      In a whoring mood today, I humbly offer Evildoers, something I wrote yesterday, for more grotesque observations along these "how does our approach differ from Saddam?" lines. I know--it's a day old (centuries of blogtime). I'm just saying.

  •  Vote! (none)

    This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

    by Omar on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:23:28 PM PDT

  •  Sully has had so much Ass....he's become an Ass (none)
    ...his complete Ass-Holeness was on display through out the pre and post invasion propaganda period....he's went on CNN and cheered Dear Leader's state of the union address.. and said the Dems were booing, when they were clearly saying "No,No,No"  - the thing about him is, he's a bad actor, he can't feign stupidity, because of his arrogance - so his lies and propaganda are really transparent.
    •  My question is (none)
      why is such a dipshit still around? In the real world, a record as pathetic as his would put someone in serious disrepute.

      This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

      by Omar on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:27:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sullivan's blog (4.00)
      Paragraphs of impassioned, well-written critique of people trying to deny his rights to marriage, full of lucid thoughts and moral passion about the essential humanity of every person, especially when they look like himself.

      One line about objectively pro-Saddam leftists who hate America because they stand up for the humanity of others.

      More paragraphs about people denying him rights.

      Rinse, repeat.

    •  Indeed... (none)
      Caught this quote at the end of the article about Sullivan...

      " Second, it's not Kos's responsibility to teach you how to read in context you braying jackass, that's your problem. "

      Hurray!  Somebody's telling it like it is.

      "I've gotten to where I can say the Lord's Prayer in ten seconds." - Evel Knievel

      by Jensequitur on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:19:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Correction (none)
    If the inhabitants of greater Dachau could ignore the smoke billowing from the chimneys of the invisible, unmentionable camp up on the hill, why shouldn't we expect most Americans to ignore what's going on in Guantanamo, or Bagram or Abu Ghraib -- or any of the other islands in the archipelago?

    Not to be a pedant, but the crematoriums at Dachau were never used, hence, there was never any smoke in Great Dachau (which, btw, is Munich).  I'm just sayin'

    •  Further pedanticism (none)
      And IIRC, although the town of Dachau itself is on a hill, the concentration camp is on a plain below the town only a couple miles away.

      "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

      by DavidW in SF on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even more pedanticism (4.00)
        Dachau was a concentration camp in the original sense - a prison, a place where those Germans the Nazis wanted to confine and sometimes kill were taken. It was not an extermination camp with crematoria or mass killings such as occurred in Auschwitz and other places. Most prisoners who died at Dachau did from hunger or hanging.

        I have been to both Dachau (which is a suburb of Munich) and Auschwitz (which is about an hour from Krakow, Poland). The Nazis wanted the death camps to be outside of Germany proper - first of all to not get their hands so dirty, second to not make what they were doing so apparent to other Germans (deniability), and perhaps most hideously, because someone figured out the most German life insurance policies did not apply to deaths off of German soil.

        •  BTW (none)
          The comment posted above was not meant to be in response to anything you said.  I just thought I would post links for anyone who comes by this discussion and is motivated to do some reading.
        •  Correction of the Correction (4.00)
          Dachau started out as a camp to imprison political enemies (and became a model for all the other camps) but from 1941 mass murder did take place here as well, just not on the same scale as in the extermination camps.
          Dachau did have a crematorium and it WAS used. What was never used was a gas chamber, built when the crematorium was enlarged.

          It's obvious that what happened in Dachau bears no comparison with Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. Yet when you compare the underlying principles of Dachau and Gitmo, the alarm bells must ring.

          Dachau was founded after the famous Reichstag blaze. The Nazis used the word "terrorists" all the time then. Only after passing the "Ermaechtigungsgesetz" were they able to intern people who couldn't be brought to "justice" (which still existed in 1933) because those people didn't commit a "crime" that could be proven.

          Dachau certainly was far more brutal than Gitmo even in the first days. But that's not the problem. German people looked away then, preferred to ignore what went on there. Many were afraid, but many just preferred to be ignorant.

          And that's what's going on with Gitmo. We don't have to be afraid (yet?) to speak up against the utterly lawless situation in Gitmo which is absolutely against any principles we should stand for. But many either look away (hey it's not on our soil, inmates are Arabs, terrorists, whatever). What is more, many approve Gitmo.

          When US troops marched into Germany and liberated the camps they forced the locals to go and see what happened there.

          Will we have to, as well? And what excuses will we have? "I didn't know" will NOT do this time.

          •  Thanks for clarification (none)
            One point of similarity is that for legal convenience but also to keep it further out of site we use a base not located within our country for our heinous actions.
          •  Dachau, continued (4.00)
            It started out as a prison camp for the Communists, because they were so dangerous (!)

            It's worthwhile to note that the Weimar Constitution was theoretically in effect for the entire twelve years of the Third Reich. So one could point to the rule of law long after it had become a complete fraud and mockery.  And, of course, the Reichstag continued to meet, even though it became merely a rubber stamp and cheering section for the Fuehrer.

            A Constitution is only a piece of paper if the will of the people has deserted it.

  •  Kos' statement should be clearer (3.60)
    As much as I agree with the Kos's sentiments in his original post, his language was definitely unclear in the statement: "The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command".

    Substituting the word "wrong" or "immoral" for "bad" would clarify the statement immensely. Yeah, we can get all defensive about it, or we can fix it. Sorry.

    "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

    by DavidW in SF on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:26:42 PM PDT

    •  Its really incremental. (none)
      I understood Kos' meaning without any trouble. But I think that Kos could agree that the clarification Sully suggests is also correct. That way it will force Sully to keep his promise and give the story more exposure.

      The Media Is Dead. Long Live NewsCorpse.com

      by KingOneEye on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:51:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (none)
      I get what Kos meant, and I know Sullivan is wrong.  But when Kos originally posted that diary, a LOT of people had the exact same reaction as Sullivan.

      When that many people misunderstand you, including people predisposed to share your ideological viewpoint, that's a sign that you could have communicated better.

    •  Framing the debate (4.00)
      Kos, Durbin and Amnesty International are doing a good job framing the debate.  By making statements about America's actions, conservatives respond by saying "we're not as bad as Russia or the Nazis."  Yes, that's true but they've fallen into our frame, discussing our actions with regards to torture.

      What color are your pajamas?

      by Unstable Isotope on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:15:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll agree only if ... (4.00)
      ...Sully will retract this remark he made when he was pissed about revelations of torture and detainee deaths:

      Hey, sometimes "military necessity" requires you to pummel a detainee. That's what the president said, wasn't it? In that memo distributed as part of the war-plan. And he's promoted all the architects of that policy, right? And no Republicans are going to complain, are they? Torture is, after all, an integral part of the expansion of freedom across the globe. Hooah.
      [My emphasis.]

      I can parse that language to make Sully into a nominee for the Sontag Award by yanking his last two sentences out of context and spreading the lie that Sully is not only a terror-symp but obviously is a snarky Marine hater as well.

      Sully raises the "moral equivalence" argument made so popular by primeval NeoCon Jeane Kirkpatrick. While she toasted the murderous pre-Falklands Argentine generals and her boss Ronald Reagan toasted genocidal Guatemalan President/General Rios Montt, she argued, essentially, that when the KGB tortures or murders or ships someone off to the gulag it cannot be fairly compared with when the CIA does likewise. That's because the CIA works for a noble cause, so its shit don't stink. Anybody who thinks otherwise is part of the traitorous "Blame America First" crowd.

      "Shameful" hardly covers Sully's early support for the Iraq Attack, and one would think he'd be a little more careful when he reads these days since he himself has said torture is wrong. Which is exactly what Markos said - not there is as much torture as there used to be under Saddam.

      I think Markos's reference was perfectly clear, torture is bad whoever does it ... the number of victims doesn't matter if you happen to be a victim. International law makes no distinction between someone who orders or permits the practice to go on wholesale and someone who OKs or permits it only in some instances.

       

      **

      Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

      Visit The Next Hurrah

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:00:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This line says it all for me. (4.00)
        "the number of victims doesn't matter if you happen to be a victim."
      •  wait... (none)
        You don't read sarcasm in that Sullivan quote? Give the man a little credit. He's at least not been blind to the torture issue. He sees it as a problem.
      •  We disagree only in the details (none)
        I read Kos' comments in context and with a pre-dsposition to agree with him, and it was still not entirely clear to me whether he was stating or implying that the magnitude of the torture was the same. Kos' statement doesn't require being pulled out of context to be ambiguous. The point he was making was regardless of the relative magnitude of the torture under Saddam and the US, torture itself is wrong. Kos made his point rather ambiguously (even in context) IMHO, and is open to misinterpretation, as evidenced by the number of sympathetic readers here who had to read through multiple times to make sure Kos was saying what they thought he was trying to say. Defensiveness on this gets us nowhere -- just fix the language.

        Sully wants to pervert Kos' language to lose Kos' point. He wants Kos' statement to imply that the US torture is somehow less horrific than Saddam's because there is less of it. He is entirely wrong, and he is either a moral relativist or US exceptionalist, or both.

        I agree with the rest of your points, except I'd extend your comments to also say: It doesn't matter who the victim is, or whether you are the victim or not, torture is just as wrong.

        "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

        by DavidW in SF on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 09:38:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Be Proud (4.00)
    Yep. That's my new bumper sticker.
    ---
    Proud to Support Bush.

    Nowhere-near-as evil as Stalin
    and quite a bit nicer than Hitler!
    ---

    Remember, It's the Quantity, not the Quality of Torture that defines a true torture state.

    Another T-Shirt might be.
    ---
    If Stalin had known about Rendition
    He'd of been a Saint.
    ---

  •  But it's REPUBLICANS doing it (none)

    That, for Republicans, makes all the difference in the world.

    They'll be doing it to Americans next.

    Idiosyncrasy in numbers. :)

    by cskendrick on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:29:09 PM PDT

  •  Correction to my correction (4.00)
    Sorry, my memory is in decline.  I think it was probably the gas chambers, and not the crematorium, that were never used in Dachau.  I visited there many times while living in Germany in the early 1980s, and I remember being struck by that fact.  

    Also, I'm not denying anything - I know all about the Holocaust.  I was making a technical point, which, as it turns out, was wrong.  So I apologize if I offended anyone.

    dK

    http://asilentcacophony.blogspot.com

  •  Those defending torture are part of the problem (4.00)
    Billmon is right.  We shouldn't be happy that we're not "as bad as {insert most exaggerated bad guy here}."

    The point is that, before this administration, the U.S., despite its warts, was a far better place.  No more.  

    What's worse, this effectively gives a green light to torture of our soldiers when they are captured in future wars.  We will have no -- absolutely no -- moral basis to insist that our soldiers should be treated according to the Geneva Conventions.  

    Only someone who truly doesn't understand the military could make this mess happen.  Only someone who never had to face consequences.  Only someone like Bush and Cheney and Gonzales.

    And these are the ones who are viewed as "supporting the troops?!!"  

    It makes me sick.

  •  Torture lovers (4.00)
    Who are these torture-justifiers... are they actual fans of torture or do they see it as a necessary evil?
    Judging from these comments by many of the repub pundits it might appear to any coherant observer
    that they are indeed torture lovers.

    "What haven't you noticed lately?" - Marshall McLuhan

    by demnow on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:36:16 PM PDT

    •  racist (4.00)
      I think it's a racist reaction.  The brown people of Iraq don't count as much as we white Americans do.  They're "lesser" people, so we can do whatever we want to them in order to defend our beloved country.  Most people I have heard say "we're not as bad as Hussein" or have made joking statements about the pictures of poop-covered prisoners are pretty apt to use words like "towel head" or refer to all Iraqis as "Moooohamed."
      •  yeah it IS racist (4.00)
        It's an abondonment of civility, it's taking us as a Country down many notches in the battle for hearts and minds. It's the action of psychopathic personalities, a collective abandonment of reason and good judgement.

        "What haven't you noticed lately?" - Marshall McLuhan

        by demnow on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:15:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It will spread (none)
          It's always easiest to first attack the rights of an isolated minority.  The know-nothings and those who are ruled by fear have forgotten the fundamental principal that an attack on the rights of the few is an attack on the rights of all.  Just as they want to expand the Patriot Act in this go-round.  Remember always Pastor Niemoller's little thoughtpiece from the Nazi period:  "First they came for the Communists . . . "
  •  Sigh (4.00)
    some of us have slightly higher expectations of a modern parliamentary democracy.

    Geesh, I've been saying stuff like that forever and nobody notices.

    [/crawls back to his obscure, underappreciated blog]

  •  lou dobbs on durbin (4.00)
    dobbs did a hit piece on durbin tonight that reads like something straight from the white house.  notice that there's absolutely no direct quote from durbin's remarks nor any attempt to put them in context.  this is the entirety of dobbs' statement:

    "Tonight, the White House blasted Congressman -- rather Senator Richard Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, for his inflammatory remarks about our military. Last Tuesday, on the Senate floor, Durbin condemned the U.S. military for its treatment of suspected al Qaeda terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The senator compared the military's behavior at Guantanamo to the regimes of Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and pol pot.

    The White House called Durbin's remarks reprehensible. Durbin refused to apologize."

    •  No wonder Americans are confused (4.00)
      Durbin quoted from an FBI report on the treatment of prisoners, ON A POLICY.

      Is it that hard to understand?  Guess so when the truth doesn't jive with ideology.

      "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

      by SanJoseLady on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:43:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (4.00)
      That's a "military" in every sentence.

      The GOP's 21st century version of a chicken in every pot ...

    •  Sen Durbin Is A Great Man (4.00)
      And a man of courage.  Imagine what it takes to stand up to Bush and the GOP on, of all issues, this one.

      Senator Durbin is not Jewish, he has no axe to grind in that regard.  But yet, after careful examination, the only words he could evoke to describe the situation were ones like he used.  From a good and decent person like him to use them just shows how really bad that place is.  He isn't grandstanding here.  I believe the situation makes him, as an honest and decent person, sick and really, really mad at our leaders for letting it happen.

       Being from Illinois, I can say without doubt, that people of our great state are behind him.  No amount of GOP lies or attacks will break the trust the people of Illinois have in our Senator.

      I'm also a veteran.  I have served my country, which is no big deal.  I raise the point to get this across;  the military personnel at Gitmo and Abu did not think this stuff up on their own.  They did not do those horrible things without permission.  Any GI would realize, at once, that this form of abuse was illegal, and it is the duty of any US military person to refuse an illegal order.  This is part of the My Lai, LT Calley Ethis training everyone gets. Because of the work done by Rummy (for the record, a fellow Illni, although one we aren't ready to admit) and the AG, creating an environment where giving such orders was ok, the soldiers did what they were told.  In that case, those issuing illegal orders must be held accountable for such.

      What will happen from all of this, who knows?  But I know one thing,  I am damn proud of our Senator.  I think another great Illni, Honest Abe, would be as well.  

      Hang in there Senator Durbin, your gonna end up on top of this one.

      •  you should call his office (none)
        I know how committed he is on veterans issue and the VFAW's over-hasty reaction was probably like a punch in the stomach.
        •  Thanks For the Suggestion (4.00)
          I hope he realizes that any thinking veteran would know the score.  American GI's reflect our nation, but they execute orders as given by their leaders.

          I was talking with a few retired NCO's the other day.  All fairly non-political, as is the code of the NCO.  They all agreed that they would have problems follwing such orders, but, would probably have carried them out if assured by commanders they were legal.

          If any veterans groups out there think what has been done in the name of 9/11 towards enemy prisoners is correct and right, they certainly, then, cannot justify taking any moral high ground against what has been done to American POWs in any prior war.  Just ask any Korean War POW, who are the gold standard for complete torture of any war, what would have been done to them if the Chinese had heard their POWs were being tortured for information like is going on today.  And we were treating their POWs pretty good, trying to convince them to not return home, thus proving the greatness of Democracy.

          General Clark should be the first one to rush forward and defend Senator Durbin.  The point must be made that this type of treatment of POWs, and they are POWs, is wrong, regardless of the intent.  Americans have always stood for fairness; torturing POWs is not fair.  It is illegal, and the Democrats must back Senator Durbin on this, unless they agree with the what has been done.

  •  Can we all please just ignore that sad excuse ... (none)
    for a political pundit? Sully cannot be taken seriously. He can't construct the simplest coherent argument.

    I've had enough of him for a lifetime: all ego, no insight.

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:41:19 PM PDT

    •  I've been (none)
      ignoring him for a long time...

      I didn't even know who he was until kos mentioned him once.

      Saw him on Real Time once, he seemed decent, then he said something really stupid.

      Some people need these little reminders...

      Tho, go ahead and ignore him if you want... I actually suggest it.

      peace

  •  What pisses me off (4.00)
    is that conservatives are implicitly comparing our troops and our country to killers and repressive regimes and that it's okay that we're only "a little" like them.

    Progressives believe there shouldn't be any comparison. Why? BECAUSE WE'RE NOT AS BAD AS THE FUCKING TERRORISTS.

    But Republicans think it's okay if we are as bad... sometimes... a little bit. Just here and there. When it's necessary. We can stop any time we want. Really.

    --- My opinions are my own and not my employer's.

    by Aexia on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:46:57 PM PDT

    •  even worse (4.00)
      Our country has signed treaties and resolutions on torture that are binding. They are advocating breaking existing laws and making up laws of their own.

      This should be a Dem talking point:
      They are choosing to follow laws that they find convenient. Without rule of law our Country will not survive.

      "What haven't you noticed lately?" - Marshall McLuhan

      by demnow on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:54:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My rage is building (4.00)
    I was just listening to Larry Elder's propaganda show and the mother fucker was laughing. He had some dipshit caller on who had the brains of, well, a Larry Elder listener.

    "I guess Durbin must have gone to a different High Svhool than me. I don't recall learning that they had air conditioning in the Nazi camps. Hahahahaha." Little Larry just thought that was histerical.

    Fuck man, I just can't take these sons of bitches. What the fuck is wrong with them. We are torturing people. We are making people shit themselves and these mother fucking pieces of shit think it's funny.

    I'm sorry about my language but this is the one subject that so pisses me off that I can't help it. My fucking God, what has happened to the people of my Country?

    •  You're not alone, Mike (4.00)
      I feel exactly the same way.  I think part of my reaction is simple frustration over my not being to figure out what BushCo is thinking with these policies.  

      Are they racist pricks who just like to torture people who don't look like them?

      Do they really believe in the rapture, and that it won't matter what they do?

      Have they convinced themselves that they're actually doing America a service, and they literally don't see how much their actions will hurt us for generations?

      If I had to bet my lunch money, I'd say it's the last one--they're deluded morons who don't understand the ramifications of their actions.

      I guess that's what you get when you have a doofus puppet president and a group of corporate automatons pulling his strings.

      •  To be honest what the admin (4.00)
        is doing is not my biggest rage inducer. Our government has been doing this since the earliest days.

        What enrages me is the fact that more people aren't enraged. I might even take saddened. Hell, some of them think it's funny.

        I've told this story before. My father was an advisor over in Vietnam in the early 60's. In 1994 he was in the last stages of cancer. Very little time left. So one night over drinks I asked him what he did in Vn. He told me it was still clasified so he couldn't tell me. But he got a very sad, pained look in his eyes and said, "but I knew everything we were doing over there." That was it. But the look on his face told me everything I needed to know about him.

        He was a man who very much believed in this country. He came from a very poor family, they had an outhouse until he was 15 in Minnisota, and knew the great things this country had. He also knew the horrible things we have done and it pained him greatly.

        These days there is no concience. Instead it's a joke. To me this is the hardest thing to take, moreso than any other thing the current GOP has done. It tears me right down to my soul.

        •  Just to be clear (none)
          I do not in any way excuse my government for what they are doing. Just acknowleging that it is a fact of our history. But I expect more from our people. I expect them to see the inherent evil that this is and act accordingly.
    •  Other Peoples Blood Makes Them Laugh (none)
      The GOP Brokers of Death are just like that.  They'll send your son, daughter, hell, even your grandma off to war.  And the ethnic minorities.  But them, no war.

      This is all a joke.  We are just pawns in their big game.  We are waterboys; they're the quarterbacks.  Just like your boss at work who tells you what to do all day, patronizes you then goes home at night and tells his family how lazy you are.  

      We are here to amuse them.  And the wannabes.

      I can't say don't be mad.  We all should be mad, mad as hell.  But smart, like a fox.

  •  perverse size queens (none)
    What really astounds me is that what the issue seems to boil down to (pardon the pun) is one of size, of volume, of magnitude.

    So why is it that our documented acts of torture in Gitmo, Afghanistan, etc. are not comparable to Pol Pot or Stalin or the Nazis?  Quantity.

    Perhaps Sullivan et al are feeling a bizarre sense of envy and self-righteousness here -- since we barely tip the scale compared to Stalin or Hitler or the Black and Tans -- therefore we have nothing to be ashamed of and yet have every reason to be defensive.  So, if Kos remarks about torture and makes a comparison between Saddam and the current US occupational forces, he has to be put in his place because relatively speaking, Saddam's torture is spelled with a big letter "T" while our version barely is visible with a little "t."  One should -- by this grotesque Sullivan-esque logic -- one should never let their "T" be seen if it is too small to really be considered to be in the same league as the big guys...

    This is no time to be a size queen.  Yet that is exactly what Sullivan et al are being.  The way I read his writing, the Sullivan-esque argument is predicated on magnitude (forget the obvious that the slippery logic behind Sullivan's useless "clarification"/"retraction" is as facile as his original rant).  Simply put, he would have us believe that since we have sinned less than Stalin or Pol Pot, we are not doing so bad at all.  And anyone who suggests that we are being bad clearly has no sense of degree or scale.

    Sadly, for him and others, it's all about size.  

    Forget principles, forget faith, forget what we've been told, taught and tell and teach.  No amount of torture is acceptable, especially for this country, who prides itself on its squeaky clean, apple pie legacy.  Our lore tells us we are the country that LIBERATES people from this kind of inhumane, unethical, violent and illegal kind of governance, not that we are a country which actively USES such methods.

    Regurgitating these apologists' idiocy with a straight face means that your moral compass is either broken or has no clue which was is true north.

    Rumors that they keep the neatest nest because they're gay are not true. "They poop in their nest. Nobody's got a clean nest."

    by dadanation on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:03:41 PM PDT

  •  Sent Durbin some love (none)
    I sent the good Senator a letter of support for his comments.  One point I made is that this is exactly how the Nazi's STARTED the genocide.  It began with propaganda, corruption, discrimination, fear, abuse.  Sound familiar?
  •  I criticize my (4.00)
    country because I love my country and I want this nation to be above reproach, making excuses or comparing our actions to the worst leaders of history does our nation a disservice.

    Those that speak of the dark side of America are not the problem, those that cast a blind eye to Americas national sins are the anchor that keeps America from reaching its idealistic goals as a nation and a society.
    PEACE!

  •  Sullivan (none)
    Two things at work here:

    1. trying to provide some read meat for his righty readers who think he's gone "soft" in the last year or two.

    2. resentment over the fact that as one of the "OG" bloggers, he's been left in the dust by folks like Kos (and, of course, Powerline and so forth)

    Ben P

    Visit the web's premier blog about British politics and society, Transatlanticism

    by Ben P on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:11:23 PM PDT

  •  Hitler and Stalin are Red-Flag Words (4.00)
    The problem with making comparsions to these two (and Pol Pot) at this point in time is that they are remembered not just for the depth of their tyranny but for the breadth of it. By that I mean that the sheer mass numbers of people they killed, tortured, bullied and terrified is such that we accord them a special place on the roster of evil.

    Bush is not there. Yet. Nor is it clear that he has ordered any significant number intentionally killed without trial (sloppiness in war doesn't count for purposes of comparison). So making this comparison invites dismissal and ridicule, and there is just enough plausibility in that ridicule to allow the general public - our ultimate target - to dismiss the entire charge.

    Yes, Bush is doing a number of things eerily reminiscent of the early days of the Nazis and the Communists. But people are not trained in history and will not appreciate the comparison, especially in these days of overheated rhetoric. They cannot make the connection between the early days and the end days -- thanks to the demise of public education -- and we have no time to educate a couple of lost generations.

    We should frame what is happening in Guantanamo and elsewhere not in comparison to a completed, fully functioning dictatorship, but in comparison to one just getting started. These things always start slow and small, building the public's tolerance for the erosion of freedoms in much the same way as one would boil a frog. Unfortunately, the examples of tyranny most likely to be found in the national memory as precisely those - Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot - that loom so large as to invite denial. No one remembers the petty dictators such as Marcos, the Duvaliers, and so on.

    Another complication is that Americans, again particularly the Americans we are trying to reach, hold it almost as a sacred truth that we are different from the rest of the world, that somehow the problems and the ills and the character flaws of the world are not so universal that they apply to us as well.

    We should speak then in general terms of the dangers of dictatorship rather than make specific comparisons which will be ignored. Also, we need to argue - as is being done - that this is not the American way. We can point to past incidents in American history, such as the internment of the Japanese in WWII, or the general maltreatment of the Blacks, as examples of how arbitrary behavior and uncontrolled authority have been bad for us.

    Much as I agree with Sen. Durbin's characterization of the FBI report, I think he made a tactical mistake - and tactics are what I am discussing here - in giving the WH and its mouthpieces an opening that can use to distract from the true issue at hand. They've done this so often and so unconscionably that (1) it's become automatic for them that they don't even have to think about it, and (2) we should be on sufficient notice by now that we should know to craft our message in such a way that they is no irrelevancy they can seize upon. And that any red herring they do come up will be so obvious as to make them look ridiculous instead.

    Always remember that the point is to pursuade the voting public. A momentary satisfaction at hurling an outrageous charge - even if true - is not worth giving the opposition a weapon with which to distract that audience.

    •  As we have learned (none)
      "It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion."
      --Joseph Goebbels Karl Rove

      "I think we're dealing with the most closed,imperialistic, nastiest administration in living memory. They even put Richard Nixon to shame."
      Wes Clark

      by BOHICA on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:17:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  agree (none)
      Lots of really sharp observations, I disagree, or am open to disagreeing on one point. Maybe Durbin knew exactly what he was saying and used it because he knew exactly (they're predictable} how it would play.
      Play it enough and even their most agile spinmeisters get stuck defending instead of attacking.Thios rhetoric makes them defensive, Get it? Good post though.

      "What haven't you noticed lately?" - Marshall McLuhan

      by demnow on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:54:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think (none)
      it was actually deliberate. I think he knew that he would get this reaction, and also knew that it was the only thing he could do to get the press to notice, and perhaps he would have a chance to discuss the actual facts and have people pay attention.

      He has made so many speeches where he brought up Korematsu and Manzanar. No one paid any attention at all. So he took the risk. Maybe a stupid risk, but the main person he risked was himself.

      •  That was then, this is now (none)
        You have a point about Durbin's prior speeches. However, the groundwork has now been laid, thanks in some part to Amnesty Int'l (who, by the way, made the gulag comparison in their press release, not in the body of the report, which made sure it got the press' attention), thanks also to the DSM and to the gradual, slow and much belated awakening of the MSM and the public.

        Against that background, I suggest that Durbin's reading of the FBI report would have caught the attention of the press, and forced the WH to attack him, even without the Hitler/Stalin comparison. As it is, the WH was able to turn the story (for the moment) away from the fact this was an FBI report and focus instead on the comparison. Now whenever a reporter brings this up to McClellan, he can use that as a way of dodging the question. Not that wouldn't find some other way, but why help him look less ridiculous than we have to?

  •  I really don't know how to say this (4.00)
    But what bothers me about as much as the legal and constitutional and moral issues (because undoubtedly some of these people are bad guys, and honestly i aint that predisposed to treat them all that well) is this:

    Just like everything else this administration touches, it fucks it up.

    I mean, if you're going to tortue folks (and lets be honest, this isnt really anything new - just more craven) at least do it without getting caught ! But they can't even manage that.

    So give em a pass on getting caught...they can't even get good actionable intelligence.

    top AQ still on the loose, including Mullah Omah and the one who is not to be mentioned. the insurgency in Iraq is raging on unabated, it didnt stop the spanish train bombing, and there has been virtually no terrorist convictions.

    so not only are they incompetant at torturing people, they are incompetant at keeping it secret...

    so i think even for the most freeperish of freepers this really ought to be enough for them to ask - what the fuck are we doing ?

    Let the Democratic Reformation Begin

    by Pounder on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:12:55 PM PDT

    •  Excellent point (none)
      In addition to the facist-leaning track record documented upthread, the Bush administration has an additional flaw:  simple incompetence.  

      And why should we be so surprised by this?  Dubya had a long track record of mismanagement, stupid business decisions, and  poor investments long before he became president.  

      What is perhaps more amazing is that the incompetence extends to the underlings:  Rumsfeld, Cheney.  These clowns were making big mistakes way back in Watergate times.  These clowns supported Saddam when he battled Iran, and supported the Afghan rebels that ultimately sprung the Taliban.  

      And what about this Neocon "Project for a New Century" nonsense?  The principles advocated by these people (Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton, just to give a few examples) are only slighly less wacky than McCartyisim in its full 1950s bloom.

      And I haven't even brough up the Plame affair, Gannon, and Rove.

      If only we could fit a blow job into these crimes, then I believe we'd have a case for impeachment...

      Scientific and medical truth is not determined by majority vote.

      by YankInUK on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:42:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe not as bad (none)
    But GW's starting to resemble "Uncle Joe".


    Got gulags?

    "I think we're dealing with the most closed,imperialistic, nastiest administration in living memory. They even put Richard Nixon to shame."
    Wes Clark

    by BOHICA on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:15:00 PM PDT

  •  The FReepy creepy neocons & Fristians (none)
    Their point is, we're not as bad as the Nazis and the Soviets under Lenin.

    Rather than reaching for the heights, they're taking great pride in not quite reaching the 9th level of hell. Yet.

    Falluja was a war crime on the scale of Guernica. It'll never be prosecuted. Bush and the GOP bave placed themselves above the law, and their idiot followers are celebrating because they "won".

  •  Why bad people do bad things (none)
    I strongly believe we torture due to a lack of moral education.  Since Kennedy, at least, we have indulged in national self-aggrandizement and exceptionalism.  The anti-communist standoff excused decades of jingoistic bluster and racism.  The Greatest Generation rewrote all of modern history as their victory over Hitler, slighting the impluse towards harmony and conciliation.  We never fully acknowledged our rightful defeat in Vietnam.  Now the MSM is fully in control of most peoples ganglia, and George Bush is elected on the premise that he is most likely to pick a fight and punch someone in the face.  We glorify war and national superiority.  We are fascists.
  •  Yah, that's a hard point for conservatives to (none)
    understand.

    In their mind:

    • America's pursuit of homeland security justifies gulags, atrocities, indefinite detention, or any other inconveniences to foreigners and internal malcontents alike. In fact, the Arabs ought to be grateful we don't just nuke'em.

    • Better to fight the terrorists in the Middle East than at home. So, we'll bomb or invade  any country that displeases us. And don't you dare quetion our right to do so, sucker.

    • The UN is our tool to be used when convenient and ignored when otherwise. Besides, chump, might makes right and who's gonna question us?

    • We'll support any foreign anti-democratic despotic leaders when it's expedient to our purposes. And while you naive libruls fret about human rights and principle, savvy conservatives like John Bolton enage the world in realpolitik.

    Get the picture?

    </sarcasm>

     

    Frodo failed. Bush has the one ring.

    by Agent of Fortune on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:23:37 PM PDT

  •  "how dare you! (none)
    we haven't killed millions, so your camparison is just silly.  take your mean words back!"

    where was the outrage from the c(R)ybaby caucus when santorm compared the dems to hitler?

  •  Oh, Sullivan understands it. (none)
    On a different day, one designated for exploring the Sully psyche as it relates to Higher PrinciplesTM, he might have even written something similar, although with frequent disclaimers.  Maybe he's upset that others are moving in on his national-identity angst; maybe he's feeling particularly right-wing due to something going on in his personal life (and with Sullivan, is there ever another reason?).  But he's really just sniping at this point.  Don't take it personally... that's his schtick.  Right now he feels more in tune with the GOP, and we mustn't confuse him.

    Compromise is something you do behind the scenes. Stop doing it in public. -Atrios

    by latts on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:30:13 PM PDT

    •  How bout the link ... (none)
      Sullivan provides in his rant on Kos?

      http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/092559.php

      Love this quote by Sully's linked "expert":

      Almost all of the accusations of 'torture' are NOT REAL TORTURE. Instead, they are minor instances of harsh treatment--the kind of treatment you probably wouldn't want to be subjected to--but they aren't TORTURE.

      I love the fact that this dildo actually uses the terms 'minor' and 'harsh' when referring to the same actions.  

      WTF is a 'minor instance' of 'harsh treatment.'  Is that when they strap the electrodes to your balls only give you a few Watts of electricity?

      Can I get another Amen? (Amen!) There's a flag wrapped around a score of men (Hey!) A gag, a plastic bag on a monument

      by iowasteele on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:37:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  question (none)
    How many people are in prison in the United States?
  •  Here's an email I just sent to sully (none)
    Hi, Andrew!

    I am a regular liberal reader of your blog. Don't always agree with you, but you have a lot of great writing and insightful comments.

    Regarding the Kos comment about torture in Iraq, when I read it at first, I saw the two possible meanings and recognized it as an unfortunate ambiguous sentence. However, I know Kos's writing, and, while not always as artful as yours, I know that he does not go in for this type of hyperbole, so I dismissed the meaning that you first identified as the main one.

    It seems to me that now, having insulted Kos by assuming he would engage in that kind of factual hyperbole and putting him up on your site to humiliate with an award, now you require him to email you and explain himself. It seems you're requiring him to humiliate himself further. Why don't you just ask him what he meant, if you're sincere about being accurate and conveying the right meaning?

    Sincerely,
    Michael Ray
    Berkeley, CA

    All currency is neurotic currency. --Norman O. Brown

    by MikeRayinBerkeley on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:32:48 PM PDT

  •  Nice quote (4.00)
    But some of us have slightly higher expectations of a modern parliamentary democracy.

    With this in mind, from The New Yorker:

    On his seventy-fifth birthday, the City of New York asked him [William Dean Howells] for a statement to be read out loud at every public school in the city. What could they have been expecting? Howells said simply, with the memory of the Spanish-American War and the lies that led to it, "While I would wish you to love America most because it is your home, I would have you love the whole world and think of all the people in it as your countrymen. . . . When our country is wrong she is worse than other countries when they are wrong, for she has more light than other countries, and we somehow ought to make her feel that we are sorry and ashamed for her."

    Some of us want more from America. Still.

    The Bush Administration was derelict of duty pre-9/11.

    by thinkdouble on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:33:48 PM PDT

  •  prisons (none)
    "at its pick Soviet Gulags held an estimated 2.5 million prisoners"

    So I googled the following:

    1 in 142 US residents now in prison
    America's prison population topped 2 million inmates for the first time in history on June 30, 2002 according to a new report from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
    The 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government held 1,355,748 prisoners (two-thirds of the total incarcerated population), and local municipal and county jails held 665,475 inmates.

    By midyear 2002, America's jails held 1 in every 142 U.S. residents. Males were incarcerated at the rate of 1,309 inmates per 100,000 U.S. men, while the female incarceration rate was 113 per 100,000 women residents.

    Of the 1,200,203 state prisoners, 3,055 were younger than 18 years old. In addition, adult jails held 7,248 inmates under 18.

     - I guess when it is other people doing the imprisoning it is somehow different than when we do it.

    •  Fortress America (none)
      And don't we joke about rape being the norm in prison.  Is that not an acknowledgement of an inhuman, read, torturous, institution.  Our good soldier Graner first honed his skills on domestic inmates.  
  •  I have a question (4.00)
    How many leaders of nations have been accused of wielding dictatorial powers while in office who weren't judged by history to be dictators?

    Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

    by The past is over on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:53:17 PM PDT

  •  So we're not as bad as Hitler??? (4.00)
    By this sort of reasoning, John F. Kennedy should still be alive because, after all, he wasn't hit by nearly as many bullets as Bonnie and Clyde.

    Hey, Saddam Hussein didn't kill nearly as many people as Hitler either.  Maybe that's why Donald Rumsfeld was willing to shake his hand...  

    "Unk, the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

    by Roddy McCorley on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:08:40 PM PDT

  •  Hands off Durbin, wingnuts!!! (none)
    He is one of my favorites. And I like how he is talking. That is how I like my Democrats. No vote for bankruptcy bill, war, medicare, tax giveaways to wealthy ... And not afraid to call it like it is.

    Atta way, Dick. Keep it up! We got yer spiney spine, we do!

    oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

    by NYCee on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:46:48 PM PDT

  •  While, of course, I agree with... (none)
    ...the general sentiment, the nitpicker in me is forced to point out that what we expect of a parliamentary democracy is not strictly relevant to the United States, which is not even notionally a parliamentary democracy by the usual definition of the term.
  •  White House castigates Durbin (none)
    Latest AP story.

    It's not very long, so I'll just put the whole thing here.  I got it from my local paper's online site.

    White House castigates Durbin for remarks

    NEDRA PICKLER
    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - The White House and Senate Republicans on Thursday assailed a Democrat for comparing American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviet gulags and Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.

    It is "beyond belief" that Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin would compare the treatment of dangerous enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to the death of millions of innocent people by oppressive governments, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

    "I think the senator's remarks are reprehensible. It's a real disservice to our men and women in uniform who adhere to high standards and uphold our values and our laws," he said.

    Sen. John Warner, R-Va., criticized Durbin for spouting "loose comments" and comparisons that "have no basis of fact or history." Durbin's remarks in a speech Tuesday in the Senate were "a most egregious misjudgment," Warner said.

    Defending himself, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat said Thursday it was "just plain wrong" to say he was diminishing past horrors.

    He said he was comparing interrogation techniques that the FBI report said were used at Guantanamo with those in foreign detainee camps.

    "This is the type of thing you would expect from a repressive regime. This is not the type of thing you would expect from the United States," Durbin said.

    Durbin made the comparison after reading an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.

    "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," Durbin said Tuesday.

    Sens. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pointing out that millions of people died in the camps that Durbin cited, while no one has died at Guantanamo.

    Human-rights groups and other congressional Democrats have accused the Bush administration of unjustly detaining suspects at Guantanamo. Amnesty International recently called the prison "the gulag of our time." Some lawmakers - including at least one Republican - have questioned whether it should remain open.

  •  Billmon (none)
    is very compelling on the idiocy of Sullivan, but I have one small disagreement. It is totally unfair to braying jackasses to have them compared to a gormless lightweight like Andrew Sullivan - with proper apologies to other gormless lightweights out there.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 09:08:03 PM PDT

  •  Buyer demands apology (none)
    According to an Indianapolis Television Station (WISH Channel 8, but the story is not yet on their website) Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) is DEMANDING that Durbin apologize.  And, according to the talking head "investigative reporter" who reported the story, "Al-Jazzera has picked up the story and is using it against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Then the entire news team all had a good chuckle when the talking head ended her story with footage that she said showed Durbin was "backpedeling" on his statement (it was footage of him justifying his remarks).  
  •  Bravo (none)
    When are these conservatives going to have the moral clarity to admit that their Dear Leader simply screwed up?

    Durbin was 100% correct.  Best of all, I love the way he refused to apologize and attacked on the radio instead.  He's fantastic.

    Is there any state better represented in the Senate than Illinois?

    •  Bush needs psychiatric care. (none)
      Bush did not screw up. He did this intentionally. He is disturbed. He's a sick person who needs help. He should be hospitalized.
      He is punishing his father through destruction of as much of the world and it's organzations as he is capable of doing. He is being indulged by the American people to carry out this very personalized psychodynamic exercize in hate.
  •  All Americans are to Blame for Iraq and Torture (none)
    Durbin did not go far enough. It's about time. Many of our soldiers are completely mad. They have been driven mad. Many are shooting innocent people out of rage, anger and selfish stupidiy. Many are torturing prisoners as it now appears to be the rule rather than the exception. The soldiers should be condemned for this. The Hell with romanticizing them. Soldiers are people who get used. That's what they are for. To be used and abused and they are allowed by their superiors to do the same to others. When someone gets caught or exposed they blame the lowest person on the totem pole.

    This must stop. If you want to know who is to blame for what the soldiers are doing we, the American people only have to look at ourselfes.We are to blame all of us. Soldiers, Policticians and citizens.

    There is no protest by the American people on the streets over the torture, rape, pillaging and the utterly pointless presence of US Troops in Iraq.

    America is a shameful place. With many of the elements of NAZI Germany in place, flourishing. This is a fascist nation unforgiving of ti's slavery of it's own people and their torture, lynchings.

  •  Just a little aside on the initial sentence (none)
    or two:

    • There is no "Greater" Dachau. It's a town of about 30,000 inhabitants and wasn't any bigger 60 years ago.

    • Dachau was a concentration camp, but it wasn't a death camp. Those weren't close to any major cities. It's true there were crematoria and there were gas chambers, but they were only used in the final months of the Nazi regime and nowhere near the scale of the death camps.
  •  Everytime that I get into a conversation with (none)
    someone about how we treat prisoners I always make the point that we are Americans and we should do better.

    The argument is always about how "they" don't follow the Geneva COnventions so why should we? And my answer is, "we signed those agreements and as Americans we have an obligation to do the right thing even if it is difficult to do.

    Information obtained by torture is tainted and is more than likely not usfull, because when a person is feeling intense pain they will do anything to make it stop. As Americans I would hope that we have enough intelligent people to come up with methods of interogations that do not require "stress positions" to get information. I can always dream right?

    Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

    by p a roberson on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 05:39:43 AM PDT

  •  Durbin poll (none)
    Please feel free to visit News Gazette and vote on the following poll question: "Should Senator Dick Durbin apologize for comparing U.S. troops guarding prisoners to Nazis, Stalinists, or Pol Pot?" Thanks!
  •  Solzhenitsyn (none)
    But Billmon quotes Solzhenitsyn. How can you trust his accounts? He was probably trained to lie! No, the only accounts you can trust about conditions in the Soviet gulags are from official sources.

    Three Way News Your source. For everything. Really.

    by jimdscott on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 06:17:37 AM PDT

  •  Durbin's language was right (none)
    For some people the only atrocity that can be compared to those of the Nazis (1) have to be directed at Jews(2) have to had taken place between 1942 and 1945 and (3) have to be perpetrated by Germans.
    That means that NOTHING can ever be compared to Nazi crimes.
    And, accordingly, the Holocaust has no relevance.
    But it does have relevance.  Visit the Holocaust museum and you'll see the constant "Never Again" message.
    That does not mean "Never Again" will the Jews of 1939-1945 Europe be slaughtered BUT never again will anyone be treated as if they are subhuman.
    The only good to come out of the Shoah is the understanding of what crimes against humanity are.
    Thank you, Sen. Durbin.

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