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June 17, 2005

Dickie Durban's Hometown Newspaper Smacks Him Up

Getting out the word:

Here we thought Sen. Dick Durbin had a cushy job that he likes. Truth told, he's auditioning for the job of Speechwriter/Silly Similes at Amnesty International.

Last month the human rights group called on the U.S. to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But it was the organization's breathy rhetoric--it called the prison "the gulag of our times"--that got all the attention. Amnesty was roundly criticized for likening a prison for terrorists to Soviet concentration camps. Even Jimmy Carter said the group went too far--eventually its executive director admitted the exaggeration was "not an exact or literal analogy."

So Amnesty looked clever--until it looked clumsy. But the group got what it wanted: a lot of attention. Indeed, leaders of Amnesty acknowledged that that was the goal all along.

Enter Durbin, second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate. In a Senate speech Tuesday, Durbin raked Bush administration officials over the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. He read an account by an unnamed FBI agent of the alleged treatment of a prisoner who was "chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water." The prisoner, the agent said, had been subject to extremely hot and cold temperatures, and loud rap music.

And then Durbin said this: "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."

Nazis? Soviets? Pol Pot? Mad regimes?

Durbin's comparison of U.S. interrogators to governments that together killed millions of people makes him look desperate for attention. Well, he's created a lot of discussion about Dick Durbin. We suspect that was the goal all along.

Perhaps, though, citizens should be grateful. At least Durbin has stopped repeating that odd little joke about President Lincoln--that he must have been Jewish because his first name was Abraham and he was shot in the temple.

We know what Durbin thinks about the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners. So what's the proper treatment of our coverage-hungry senior senator when he displaces the ever-present microphone long enough to insert his foot in his mouth? Ignore him. That would be torture.



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posted by Ace at 06:26 PM

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