Update [2005-6-17 20:29:58 by Armando]: Bumped because of this
On Friday, Durbin tried to clarify the issue. "My statement in the Senate was critical of the policies of this Administration, which add to the risk our soldiers face," he said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."
Now to the real issue, not whether we are like the Nazis, but rather why are we not different enough
Senator Richard Durbin utters these words and outrage has resulted:
When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [at Guantanamo Bay]--I almost hesitate to put them in the [Congressional] 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:
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.
And the outrage is? Why the mention of Nazis and gulags of course. Now let me say what others may not - I think Durbin's choice of words was unfortunate. The Nazi reference lacks perspective in my opinion, though the techniques described were used by Nazis and the Soviets. That said, Durbin's point, the REAL point, is this, in my opinion:
A quote by Avi Schlaim, an Israeli historian, on the issue of comparisons to Nazi Germany (in this instance referring to Israeli government and military leaders, but the parallel works here as well):
The issue isn't whether or not we are the same as the Nazis, the issue is that we aren't different enough.
This is Durbin's concern; we aren't different enough right now.
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