GITMO Prisoner Abuse Reality Check

by on June 17th, 2005

When ranking members on one side of a war send out video for news outlets to air that is really nothing more than propaganda what happens? Well if the video comes from an agency of the Bush White House there is a great uproar and the media drips with righteous indignation. When the video is an Al Qaeda snuff film from Iraq, if it gets covered at all, it’s just news.

When Al Qaeda captures an enemy, or even a civilian, they release a video of the terrified detainee reading a statement at gunpoint pleading for their lives. The next time the detainee is seen, the hooded guards read the statement for the camera and then their leader invades the detainee’s personal space with a knife and cuts his head off.

When the U.S. captures an enemy combatant and review determines that he should be sent to Cuba for interrogation, they make him uncomfortable. First they turn up the AIR CONDITIONING really high and make the detainee cold. Then they have sadistic cruelty to turn the AIR CONDITIONING off and make the detainee hot. Think about that contrast for a moment. One side will cut you head off on camera while you scream in agony, the other side will mess with your AIR CONDITIONING.


The enemy captured four civilian contractors in Falujah. They killed them. They burned and mutilated the bodies and hung the remains from a bridge.

The U.S. left a detainee chained to the floor and and he soiled himself. Then we played loud music and messed with his AIR CONDITIONING.

And who are the bad guys in this comparison? Well according to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, we are the bad guys. Earlier this week he said

Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18–24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

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.

In trying to defend and justify his comments, Durbin said

What I said is you might conclude this was done by one of those repressive regimes.

Yeah right. You might conclude that before the detainees at Auschwitz were lead off to the gas chamber their Nazi guards played loud music and messed with the AIR CONDITIONING. But beyond that his defense amounts to saying I read a list of things that American personnel did and and concluded that it was no different than the Khmer Rouge. The American Military is no different than the Nazs, the Soviets or the Khmer Rouge. If you ever wondered what was meant by the expression moral equivalence – there it is.

Dick Durbin compared American personnel messing with a detainee’s AIR CONDITIONING the most brutally barbaric regimes in recent history. This man has to go. He needs to be removed from the Senate and it needs to happen before the next election. There is no excuse for the comments he made. There is no excuse to refuse to apologize. And were he to offer an apology now, it would be too little to late.


Cross posted from Hold The Mayo

Stephen Macklin