is devoting another show on Dick Durbin's remarks and the charges about Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.
I typed some random thoughts about the FBI Agent's "report," and Durbin's apology and this whole issue in general: First email sent to HH:
Durbin's "apology" sounds like Bill Clinton biting his lip and feeling our pain. It's the gift of politicians, apparently, to be bold and indignant, then insulted and resolute, then heartbroken and emotional, as the situation requires.
His reference to Abraham Lincoln is really slimey considering his tasteless joke about Lincoln's assassination. He says "I apologize," but he never really retracts his original statement.
I've never understood this idea that apologizing shifts the burden of indignation. "I apologized. Now you have to forgive me!"
The real problem here is his zeal for finding fault with the military and the administration, and the Democrats' reflexive turning of everything into an occasion for more loathing and bitterness not just for their political opponents, but for the military, the independents who voted for the opposition and ultimately for America. If Durbin really loves America as deeply has he says, why was his first impulse to compare our military police to the most unimaginably cruel and murderous crimes against humanity in history? One has to wonder if he's really sorry for what he thought and said, or just sorry he got caught. I tend to think that his real beliefs are what he said in his first response to this--that it was manufactured by the vast right wing conspiracy, whereas real people understood what he meant. The objections were not just to his words, but to his meaning as well. He clearly thinks that there is no atrocity Bush, Rumsfeld, et al. wouldn't sink to.
"My words were badly chosen," is a cop out. What he should be saying is that he forgot that politics stops at the country's borders, and that he has resolved to not allow his political impulses to rule his love for his country and his respect for its people.
The Democrats are in a deep, dark place. Unable to accept the fact that they no longer appeal to the majority of the people, they are full of denial, resentment, paranoia and hatred. Hate is like acid. It attacks the vessel that carries it. Somebody in their party needs to play the grown up and bring them back to the realization that just because they're not in power, the country hasn't turned evil. Too many of them were baptized in that pool of anger and hate during the Vietnam era. They need to realize that we did learn from that experience, that there is such a thing as a just war and that America is not the imperialistic threat to the world they were taught by their Marxist professors in college.
I think that the party has come loose from its progressive moorings, in which it was able to appeal to working men and women, immigrants and the poor and middle class. The new majority of the party consider themselves intellectual elites, who are entitled to rule and dictate to the rest of us. They don't really believe that the people are smart enough to govern themselves, as their characterizations of Red State voters illustrates.Second email:
Why do they assume that a detainee pulling out his hair is solely the result of mistreatment by guards? I would imagine that a prisoner who's been indoctrinated and trained by Al Qaeda, and has a fixed set of ideas about what Americans and Christians are like, goes through some cognitive dissonance when he finds that he's being treated better in a U.S. prison than he was before he was captured. He may also be under great mental stress from a feeling of having failed in his mission or in having doubts about his faith. A lot of these men are little more than boys, and they've all been brain-washed.
That doesn't explain why he was chained up on the floor of an interview room, which suggests that he was being punished for some reason. However, the agent's report cries out for cross examination.
Was he trained in dealing with captured illegal combatants or just with criminal suspects who are citizens? Does he know what legal rights illegal combatants have under international or military law?
He obviously didn't observe all of the details he reports since he reports that some detainees had been left in interview rooms for 18 to 24 hours. How much of his report was hearsay? Did he rely on written reports or files? Who prepared them? Where are they?
Did he ask his informant why the detainee was treated like this. Does he know how the detainee had behaved himself while in custody?
If he had only seen this shackling on "a couple of occasions" how could he say what happened "most times?"
How did he know the detainee was "almost unconsious?" Did it occur to him that he might have been sleepy?
Is this report dealing with a single detainee or multiple detainees? And how does he know that all detainees were treated like this?
Has he ever been in Iraq in summer or Afghanistan in winter?
Before I'd read this statement into the Congressional Record, I'd want a lot of questions answered. But Durbin can't be bothered with the questions that would have to occur to someone who really supports our troops, or is even fair minded. This is nothing more than the Democrats' talking points run amuck.
It doesn't take much imagination to guess what his response would have been had the political shoes been on other feet. Third email:
We don't know anything about the FBI agent who made this report. Why was he there? What was he investigating? Was it an official investigation or something else? What were his sources? How much of the material did he personally witness?
FBI agents are trained to afford criminal suspects the rights they have before civilian courts. A detention facility for illegal combatants is a different animal. Did this agent understand the distinctions?
He also seems to have combined a number of different instances to paint a picture that implies that this treatment was routine and widespread, and doesn't offer any background to understand when this treatment was applied.
Personally, I find his report unprofessional and confusing. It is not a good investigation report even for a civil court for the reasons stated above.
These questions don't even reach the question of whether this treatment constitutes inhumane treatment. Since these detainees could have just been shot as illegal combatants, I have to wonder where they acquired additional rights by being detained instead. To me the issue is whether these measures created a danger that the subjects would make up false information merely to avoid them. In a civilian court the test might be what a ordinary, reasonable person could endure without being permanently injured or confirming suggestions that weren't fact. The interrogations are not made for the purpose of obtaining a confession, after all, as many tortures in totalitarian regimes are for. They are made to obtain reliable intelligence. Therefore, the measures taken should be calibrated to the individual with that goal in mind.
Nakedness, lack of access to toilets, cold and heat, loud noise, lack of sleep and personal humiliation are all ways to weaken a person's resolve, but they are not remotely in the league of breaking bones, burning, mayhem, or infliction of real pain.
I think that treatment that induces symptoms of shock would be counterproductive for an interrogator, because the person's body would become less able to feel pain.
Did the FBI agent consider any of these issues? Did Durbin?