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In Their Own Words, “Totally Out of Line for Even Thinking Such Thoughts” edition

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 18 years ago, in 2006, on the World Wide Web.

Dick Durbin:

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.

— Dick Durbin, on the Senate floor (14 June 2005)

Scott McClellan, White House press flack:

Q Thank you. Scott, Senator Durbin compares the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo with the way Nazis abused prisoners during World War II. How is the President reacting to these accusations?

MR. McCLELLAN: 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. To compare the way our military treats detainees with the Soviet gulags, the Nazi concentration camps, and Pol Pot’s regime is simply reprehensible. … And so I just think those remarks are reprehensible and they are a real disservice to our men and women in uniform. Our men and women in uniform go out of their way to treat detainees humanely, and they go out of their way to hold the values and the laws that we hold so dear in this country. And when you talk about the gulags and the concentration camps in Pol Pot’s regime, millions of people, innocent people, were killed by those regimes.

— Scott McClellan, White House press briefing (16 June 2006)

Commenter PPJ, aka Jim:

His comments are beyond the pale of rational political debate. His false, over the top, comments are demeaning to himself, the Senate, our military and his fellow citizens. He should be censored [sic] by the Senate. He should then apologize to the country and resign.

— PPJ, aka Jim, commenting at TalkLeft (16 June 2005)

Paul at Powerline:

What possessed Durbin to do it? How, after harping constantly on the importance of our image to winning the war on terrorism, could he cast the U.S. in such a false light? It’s not likely that he intentionally set out to injure his country. Until I hear a better explanation, I’ll put it down to a kind of sickness or derangement brought on by hatred — of President Bush, the military, etc. — coupled with a very weak immune system (i.e. intellect).

— Paul @ PowerLine (16 June 2005): Senator Durbin’s trifecta

Michelle Malkin, defender of Japanese internment:

What America needs is for President Bush himself to directly challenge Durbin on his treachery. What President Bush should do is to call on Durbin to retract his remarks (not just apologize) and ask forgiveness from our troops and the American people.

— Michelle Malkin (16 June 2005): THE TREACHEROUS DICK DURBIN

John Furgess, Veterans of Foreign Wars commander-in-chief:

The senator was totally out of line for even thinking such thoughts, and we demand he apologize to every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform of our country, and to their families.

— John Furgess, quoted for Veterans of Foreign Wars press release (16 June 2005)

Lee P. Butler, columnist and GOP apparatchik:

Throughout many sectors of the country Senator Durbin’s name is now synonymous with that of Hanoi Jane Fonda or Baghdad Jim McDermott. He decided he would use outlandish and completely absurd language of equating American soldiers in Guantanamo Bay with Nazis, Stalinist Soviets, and Pol Pot as a way of disagreeing with this administration. It seems as though he may have been emboldened to follow this tact, because of the outrageous allegation spewed by Amnesty International who earlier had labeled Gitmo as the gulag of our time … It’s a pretty big exaggeration for Amnesty International to compare Guantanamo Bay or even Abu Ghraib, for that matter, to a gulag and it’s reprehensible for an American Senator to equate our soldiers to torturous despots, even if they are just trying to malign President Bush.

— Lee P. Butler, OpinionEditorials.com, Senator Durbin’s Gulag Is A Liberal Crescendo Of Rhetorical Absurdity (20 June 2005)

Josh Dwyer, expert columnist from Texas A&M:

Sen. Dick Durbin, R-Ill., desperately needs a history lesson.

— Joshua Dwyer, The Batallion (30 June 2005): Durbin erred grossly in calling Gitmo a gulag

Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press (link thanks to DED Space (2006-01-27) and Hammer of Truth (2006-01-27); more at Echidne of the Snakes (2006-01-28)):

The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of leveraging their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family’s door telling him to come get his wife.

… The U.S. military on Thursday freed five of what it said were 11 women among the 14,000 detainees currently held in the 2 1/2-year-old insurgency. All were accused of aiding terrorists or planting explosives, but an Iraqi government commission found that evidence was lacking.

Iraqi human rights activist Hind al-Salehi contends that U.S. anti-insurgent units, coming up empty-handed in raids on suspects’ houses, have at times detained wives to pressure men into turning themselves in.

— Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press (28 January 2006): Documents Show Army Seized Wives as Tactic

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, prisoner of the Soviet gulag and author of The Gulag Archipelago:

9. Playing on one’s affection for those one loved was a game that worked beautifully on the accused as well. It was the most effective of all methods of intimidation. One could break even a totally fearless person through his concern for those he loved. (Oh, how foresighted was the saying: A man’s family are his enemies.) Remember the Tatar who bore his sufferings–his own and those of his wife-but could not endure his daughter’s! In 1930, Rimalis, a woman interrogator, used to threaten: We’ll arrest your daughter and lock her in a cell with syphilitics! And that was a woman!

— Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (1973–1978), Chapter 3: The Interrogation

1 reply to In Their Own Words, “Totally Out of Line for Even Thinking Such Thoughts” edition Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Laura J.

    God forbid Americans have Unauthorized Opinions.

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