“The Retarded Moral Calculus of Richard Durban [Updated],” by Mark Safranski, ZenPundit, 17 June 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/06/retarded-moral-calculus-of-richard.html.
“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Calls on US Senate to Censure Senator Richard Durban,” Newt.org Blog, 18 June 2005, http://www.newt.org/index.php?submenu=Blog&src=blog&PHPSESSID=d117fa5d57b2a24016f1180314682f29.
“Extreme Chutzpah,” by Armando, Daily Kos, 18 June 2005, http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/6/18/181222/724.
While condemnations of Senator Durban’s disturbing remarks fly…
The other day, from the Senate floor, in the midst of an overheated attack on the Bush administration’s parameters for interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, Durbin let fly with this ahistorical gem:
“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“
Now, reasonable people can disagree about whether or not al Qaida detainees should be entitled to P.O.W. status under the Geneva Convention – those who think they should, like Senator Durbin, don’t have a legal leg to stand on – but the argument can be made. Likewise, the Bush administration has invited criticism of their Guantanamo policy by keeping detainees in legal limbo instead of moving forward with military tribunals. It is perfectly legitimate to argue that the value of what tough interrogation techniques yield pales in terms the damage caused to America’s image abroad, particularly in the Muslim world. But the al Qaida terrorist detainees are not the moral equivalent of terrified Jews being herded to Auschwitz and the American guards at Guantanamo are not the SS.
That kind of analogy, that Senator Durbin fervently believes, can only be described as morally grotesque as well as profoundly ignorant. A U.S. Senator should have more sense.
Mr. Durbin has degraded the suffering of those who went through hell on Earth to survive Genocide by putting their experiences on par with the interrogation discomforts of mass-murderers like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It is the latter who is in the same moral ballpark with Heinrich Himmler or Pol Pot, not some Marine Guard at Gitmo or President Bush.
Newt Gingrich has a reasonable suggestion
In a letter sent to United States Senators on Saturday, June 18, 2005, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on the Senate to censure Senator Richard Durbin for his speech comparing U.S. servicemen serving in Guantanamo Bay to those of the Nazi Gestapo, Soviet KGB, and Pol Pot’s killers in Cambodia.
“Senator Richard Durbin has dishonored the United States and the entire U.S. Senate. Only by a vote to censure Senator Durbin for his conduct can the U.S. Senate restore its dignity and defend American honor,” Gingrich wrote.
He added, “It’s one thing for one Senator to endanger young Americans and defame America; it would the shame of the Senate if the other 99 Senators did not stand up to defend America and to defend the reputation of our young men and women in uniform.”
The Kos Kids react in their typical civility
A clear message of whaaaaat? Did he just say what I think he said? Called Durbin a traitor?!??
F you you draft-dodging, wife abandoning, philandering, unethical, lying SOB.
I demand that all decent Republicans repudiate the false ugly indefensible smear by Gingrich.
For all their talk of acceptable discourse, their silence on torture and on the New McCarthyism tells us what they really believe in – lies, the acceptability of torture and moral relativism.