Durbin & Dems--Soft on Terror, Hard on Soldiers
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il), the Senate Minority Whip, yesterday stood up for terrorists and compared our soldiers to the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, The SS under Hitler, and the KGB under Stalin. All in the same breath. Quite an accomplishment.
Here's what he said:
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 regimeÂPol Pot or othersÂthat had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.Cute. Here's the full text from the Congressional Record which describes the human tragedy of these non-national enemy combatants. Chained up, forced to listen to rap music (which may indeed justify Durbin's position), sitting in the Cuban heat, having the air turned up too much, and generally denied evening bed turndown service and chocolates on their pillows. And someone probably looked at a Koran the wrong way too. Even better, Durbin has refused to apologize (courtesy Drudge), and mistakenly claims that the Geneva Convention applies to these people. But it stands to reason that these Democrats are going to make the waging of any war impossible for Republicans by accusing them of mistreatment when a prisoner's feelings are hurt.
There is just an absolute ton of problems with all of this, which I will try to tackle very briefly.
First, this is more of the party of "no". They oppose keeping these people at Guantanamo Bay but have never once proposed an alternate location for a prison, nor explained what is so insufficient or inappropriate about Gitmo, save for the mental images it raises as a result of the media flap that they have caused over it. Opposition of the Bush administration without offering alternatives--a modern Democrat mainstay.
Second, these prisoners have no rights, except those which a civilized captor like the United States believes are appropriate. The Constitution does not establish the rights and treatment of foreigners captured in war. That is governed by treaty, and the Geneva Convention is as close as it comes, but not close enough, as that treaty deals only with the treatment of captured members of a nation's military, not the treatment of non-military enemy combatants. These people were fighting the U.S. military outside of the protections of the Geneva Convention. They were not part of any nation's military, but rather were members of a clandestine international terrorist organization. If Iran planned to attack us, for example, we could deal with them appropriately. They have an address. Al Qaida is not so easy to locate. They are wherever they can hide, and they seek to destroy America by staging unconventional sneak attacks. It is in the interests of our civilian population to extract information from these people in order to prevent future attacks and to undermine their organizations. We owe them nothing, yet we feed and appropriately shelter them. We have made grand accommodations for their religion to the point that our greatest fear is offending their cultural sensibilities. But if they are upset about the air conditioning not working or it being too cold, their concerns ring hollow. It's a prison. Enjoy.
Third, this is a scandalous way to speak of one's own soldiers who are fighting and dying in the far reaches of the world to keep us safe. And to a very significant degree, this kind of hyperbolic talk gives aid and comfort to our enemies. Not that they would pick up on it. If Durbin disagrees with the Administration, let him just say so. Cite the law or treaty by specific sections and language that stands against what the Administration is doing. Otherwise, he just proves that he is little more than an unintellectual partisan demagogue.
Fourth, we were attacked (check the link & don't close it down. It's a great reminder of what this war is all about). We helplessly watched our friends and relatives be murdered. If Durbin is suggesting that we release these people he may want to remember that released terrorists have a surprisingly high recidivism rate. This is the cousin the Democrats' other penchant, which is a very soft approach towards violent crime. This time, rather than giving a murderer a break, they would do so to people who would seek to unleash cataclysmic destruction on our nation.
Dick Durbin and the members of his party, who through silence tacitly approve of his statements, have once again demonstrated that they are not serious about the very real threats that face our nation. Far from simply being wrong on the issue of national security, they consistently demonstrate what can only be described as an opportunistic, irresponsible and immoral position on terror, for the sole purpose of political gain.
The fact that this comes out of the mouth of the Democrats' second in command should escape nobody's attention. And I would urge everyone from Illinois to keep in mind that Dick Durbin looks out for terrorists before his own nation's safety.