Friday June 17 2005
DICK DURBIN'S TORTUROUS ANALOGY:
Consider the following statement:

"We sat on our knees for an hour. Then they began slapping us on the back of our necks, real hard, and then they started pouring hot wax down our back.'"

If this described something that had happened at Gitmo, Dick Durbin would have decried it as a despicable form of torture that "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." Since this didn't happen at Gitmo, however, but is instead a description of a fraternity hazing incident, an analogy comparing Delta House with Auschwitz would look rather silly - just as Durbin looked on Tuesday.

The problem is that Democrats want to conduct a debate about torture without defining exactly what torture is. Republicans haven't exactly defined torture in detail either, but they've benefitted from the feeling among the public that torture is like pornography: "I'll know it when I see it." Keeping suspected terrorists awake by playing Christina Aguilera songs or by turning up or down the air conditioning simply doesn't pass that test.

Instead of trying to conduct a reasonable debate over what is or isn't torture, however, Democrats like Durbin are overrun by partisanship and a desire to humiliate this administration. The result is a massive rhetorical overreach like the one on Tuesday which defies historical fact, slanders the U.S. military, and leaves the impression that Democrats are instinctively more interested in protecting the rights of suspected terrorists than they are about protecting the country.

Dick Durbin is not revered as one of the brightest bulbs in the United States Senate, but he does have a reputation as being one of the most partisan. Steve Neal, a liberal columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, once wrote that Durbin's "mind is unburdened by original thought" and that "he seems to be more guided by the polls than anything resembling a political philosophy."

This leads me to an ironic thought: we might actually be better off fighting the War on Terror with a Democrat as president. I say this because if a Democrat occupied the White House under the same exact circumstances we find ourselves in today, the narrative on detainee rights (driven by a Republican Congress, of course) would almost certainly be that we are being too soft on suspected terrorists at Gitmo. We're serving them lemon fish! Handling their Korans with white rubber gloves! Blasting their prayers over the loudspeakers five times a day! Outrageous!

Then first -rate partisans like Durbin would be taking to the floor of the Senate to defend our treatment of prisoners at Gitmo, not condemn it - though unfortunately not out of any special love for or deep belief in the good character of our troops.

And instead of giving the enemy a propaganda coup by comparing American treatment of prisoners with some of the most murderous regimes in history, Durbin's partisanship would have him striking a much more patriotic tune, as he did in 1998 when defending the Clinton administration's decision to bomb Iraq:

"I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad.”

What a shame that to Dick Durbin the idea of presenting a united front to our enemies abroad only applies when a Democrat is in the Oval Office. - T. Bevan 9:30 am Link | Email | Send To A Friend

© 2000-2005 RealClearPolitics.com   All Rights Reserved


RCP Blogroll
Larry Kudlow
MatthewYglesias
Mickey Kaus
Belgravia Dispatch
MudvilleGazette
Blackfive MyDD
Brad DeLong Mystery Pollster
Charles Johnson
Patrick Ruffini
David Limbaugh
Donkey Rising
Ed Morrissey Radioblogger
FroggyRuminations Red State
Galley Slaves RightWingNews
GOP Bloggers
Indc Journal
TKS
Jim Miller
Josh Marshall
Juan Cole
Kevin Drum Wizbang
Archives - 2005
5/16-22 | 5/9-15 | 5/2-8 | 4/25-5/1 | 4/18-24 | 4/11-17 | 4/4-10 | 3/28-4/3 | 3/21-27 | 3/14-20 | 3/7-13 | 2/28-3/6 | 2/21-27 | 2/14-20 | 2/7-13 | 1/31-2/6 | 1/24-30 | 1/17-23 | 1/10-16 | 1/3-1/9

Archives - 2004
12/27-1/2 | 12/20-26 | 12/13-12/19 | 12/6-12/12 | 11/29-12/5 | 11/22-28 | 11/15-21 | 11/8-14 | 11/1-7 | 10/25-31 | 10/18-24 | 10/11-17 | 10/4-10 | 9/27-10/3 | 9/20-26 | 9/13-19 | 9/6-12 | 8/30-9/5 | 8/23-27 | 8/16-22 | 8/9-15 | 8/2-8 | 7/26-8/1 | 7/19-7/25 | 7/12-18 | 7/5-11 | 6/28-7/4 | 6/21-6/27 | 6/14-20 | 6/7-13 | 5/31-6/6 | 5/24-30 | 5/17-23 | 5/10-16 | 5/3-5/9 | 4/26-5/2 | 4/19-25 | 4/12-18 | 4/5-11 | 3/29-4/4 | 3/22-28 | 3/15-21 | 3/8-14 | 3/1-7 | 2/23-27 | 2/16-22 | 2/9-15 | 2/2-2/8 | 1/26-2/1 | 1/19-25 | 1/12-18 | 1/5-11 | 12/29/03-1/4/04

Archives - 2003
12/22-28 | 12/15-21 | 12/8-14 | 12/1-7 | 11/24-11/30 | 11/17-11/23 | 11/10-11/16 | 11/3-11/9 | 10/27-11/2 | 10/20-26 | 10/13-19 | 10/6-10/12 | 9/29-10/5 | 9/22-28 | 9/15-9/21 | 9/8-9/14 | 9/1-9/7 | 8/25-8/31 | 8/17-8/24 | 8/11-8/16 | 8/4-8/10 | 7/28-8/3 | 7/21-7/27 | 7/14-7/20 | 7/7-7/13 | 6/30-7/6 | 6/23-6/29 | 6/16-6/22 | 6/9-6/15 | 6/2-6/8 | 5/26-6/1 | 5/19-5/25 | 5/12-5/18 | 5/5-5/11 | 4/28-5/4 | 4/21-4/27 | 4/14-4/20 | 4/7-4/13 | 3/31-4/6 | 3/24 - 3/30 | 3/10 - 3/17 | 3/3-3/9 | 2/24-3/2 | 2/17-2/23 |
2/10-2/16 | 2/3- 2/9 | 1/27 - 2/2 | 1/20 -1/26 | 1/13-1/19 | 1/6-1/12 | 12/31/02-1/5/03

Archives - 2002
12/23-12/29 | 12/16-12/22 | 12/9-12/15 | 12/2-12/8 | 11/25-12/1 | 11/18-11/24 | 11/11-11/17 | 11/4-11/10 | 10/28-11/3 | 10/21-10/27 | 10/14 -10/20 | 10/7-10/13 | 9/30-10/6 | 9/23 -9/29 | 9/16-9/22