Friday, June 17, 2005

Speaking Of "Reprehensible"...

Yesterday CNN ran a story headlined White House: Durbin's remarks 'reprehensible'. Here's the meat of it:
[Dick] Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, made the comparison during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday after reading an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.

"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," Durbin said.

Said 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."
Sorry, Scottie. You're lying again and everyone knows it. We've seen the photos, you know. Your bullshit doesn't fly anymore, unless the "high standards" include stripping people naked and smearing shit all over them. [Funny! That's kind of like what happens in White House press conferences, except that all the people are dressed -- and of course in press conferences the shit is slung rather than smeared.]

Listen, Scottie: The policy is reprehensible, not the Senator's remarks. There is no good reason to chain anyone to the floor of a cage with no food or water, regardless of the weather. And especially if the person in chains is there because he was sold into captivity.

Those who lie to protect torturers are reprehensible too. This includes you, Scottie.

But that's not news. We knew that about you already.

Aljazeera also ran a story about Senator Durbin, his comments, the flak they drew and his courageous decision to stand by his remarks. Ironically, considering that it comes from an alleged propaganda outlet, the article in Aljazeera is very similar to that which ran on CNN. Not surprisingly to those of us who have been following both sources, the Aljazeera piece is more detailed. Read it yourself if you don't believe me.

As usual, Aljazeera provides context not provided by CNN, for instance:
Since the camp was set up after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US, 167 detainees have been freed and 67 others released to the custody of their home governments.

About 520 detainees from about 40 countries remain at Guantanamo. Only 12 have been handed over to military commissions for investigation of possible war crimes and four have been charged.
Some lawmakers want the facility closed, saying it has become a liability that inflames Muslims against the United States.

"Guantanamo is an international embarrassment to our nation, to our ideals and it remains a festering threat to our security," Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said.
A Pew Research Centre poll, taken over the weekend, indicated most Americans agree that reports of abuse at Guantanamo are isolated incidents, and 39% think the news media is paying too much attention to the issue.
Clearly the American people have not slaked their thirst for government bullshit. At least not all of them. And that's too bad. But at least there's a Senator who can still see clearly:
"This administration should apologise to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorising torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure."
Right on, Senator! This administration has a great deal to "apologise to the American people for", but "abandoning the Geneva Conventions" would be a great place to start.