Illinois Senator Dick Durbin had this to say recently about our facilities in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib:
When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here — I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. 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.
Of course, now he’s been branded a traitor. In modern America, we don’t point out problems so they can be fixed, we simply castigate whoever points out the problems. Here’s a joke I made up recently:
Have you read the new Republican murder mystery novel? Nobody did it, I can’t believe anyone’s suggesting there was a murder in the first place, that detective is a traitor to the country, and everyone knew that guy was killed anyway, that’s old news.
It’s not very funny, I know, but there’s a lot of not funny going around.
If you are a person who, unlike the moral relativists on the Right, think that torture — any amount of torture — is wrong and do not want it done in your or America’s name, Amnesty International has a petition (and probably wouldn’t mind some cash), and it might be nice to contact Senator Durbin with some support, since I’m sure he’s getting a lot of hate mail and death threats at the moment.