Thursday June 16 2005
DURBIN COMES UNHINGED, TRIBUNE YAWNS:
Normally, when a paper's home state Senator has an out-of-mind experience on the floor of the United States Senate it makes for good copy. Not at The Chicago Tribune. As almost everyone in America knows by now, Dick Durbin said something remarkable yesterday:

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.

The Sun-Times carries the follow up AP story saying Durbin has no intention of apologizing for his comments. On The Tribune's web site, however, we get two round-ups of the debate over detainee rights on Capitol Hill yesterday - one reprinted from The Los Angeles Times and one taken from Newsday - neither of which mention Durbin's over-the-top remarks. On the other hand, the Trib's online editors do see fit to inform us savvy news consumers this morning that three former SIU students are suing Hooters Air.

I'll have more on the substance of Durbin's remarks a little later. - T. Bevan 9:30 am Link | Email | Send To A Friend
UPDATE:
I see the Trib finally managed to link to Nedra Pickler's AP dispatch on Durbin at 1:22pm central time today - just in time to reach the 5 people in Chicago coming back from lunch who haven't already heard about the story somewhere else. Nice work.

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