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Senator Durbin

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Mistletoe Angel
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50 posted 06-20-2005 01:23 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Hope you all had a wonderful Fathers Day everyone! For my papa, I made some special smoothies for him and we went on a nice long walk along the riverfront!

Well, of course Durbin's response was political. The intent of his message was NOT to compare those acts of torture our administration officials allow to Pol Pot or Nazis, but rather to make a point, "Are we seeming different enough from them in the eyes of others?"

I still believe he could have expressed himself free of the use of historical comparisons just as eloquently, but I believe he makes a good point. Torture is un-American, in my heart, and when other peoples read those FBI and International Red Cross memos, it could easily strike them as though we're allowing these terrible things to happen.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/army/fm/fm34-52/index.html

The Pentagon has an extensive manual library, in where they also document intelligence interrogation. The Prohibit Against Use of Force portion especially is important to review, where it reads,

"The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. However, the use of force is not to be confused with psychological ploys, verbal trickery, or other nonviolent and noncoercive ruses used by the interrogator in questioning hesitant or uncooperative sources."

I'm not sure if it's really enforced or not, but it certainly oughta be. The CIA also has a detailed definition of "mental torture".

If you're solely concerned about Aljezeera spinning Durbin's words as to make it sound to them all Americans are torturers, look at what Rush Limbaugh's popular syndicated program and the popular right-wing blog Powerline are doing meanwhile. They've started their own line of T-shirts with messages that read "I Heart Gitmo" and "What Happens In Gitmo Stays In Gitmo":
http://powerlineblog.com/archives/010762.php http://store.rushlimbaugh.com/product.asp?ProductID=433316

According to many's own argument here, this ties in with their own argument of what words and messages like Durbin's may mean ultimately in terms of relationships with Arabs. It's hypocritical in that Limbaugh, someone who has bashed Durbin for what he's said, and also has a nationally syndicated radio program that can be streamed on-line anywhere in the world, argue its encouraging resentment and terror instincts among Arabs, when his own line of T-shirts that are being sold in his on-line store will have Arabs thinking along that same theory that any atrocity that happens to one of them behind those prison walls ain't none of their business, even if that individual isn't a terrorist, or they can do whatever they want to them.

You may say, "It's obviously just a joke!". Doesn't mean that's how Arabs are going to receive it. They'll just see Powerline's T-shirt and can come to no conclusion but that they love the abuse at Guantanamo.

And, of course, like I mentioned before, there was Bush's 2nd Inaugural address too which I'm sure heavily influenced strong intimidating feelings in many cultures.

Finally, there's something new I find most worthy of introducing:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gitmo18jun18,1,1411045.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

A U.S MP has said he's suing the Pentagon for $15 million after acknowledging he was mistaken as a prisoner there, and was beaten up by other MPS.

The MP, Sean Baker, also describes the incident, where a "five-man MP 'internal reaction force' choked him, slammed his head several times against a concrete floor and sprayed him with pepper gas."

This may be big, and if confirmed, this could shed great light on what happens behind the walls of Gitmo.

The fact is, I believe Gitmo is only embarrassing our image abroad, aside from what those like Durbin have said about it, and is a main symbol in discrediting our morals we foster here, as well as our own security. Thus, it is in this person's opinion that Gitmo SHOULD be shut down.

It also certainly doesn't help that those like Sessions (R-AL) say that some of them there should be executed either, especially when Guantanamo, despite a Supreme Court ruling last year, still doesn't have proper access to federal courts.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Mistletoe Angel
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51 posted 06-20-2005 01:31 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel



Well Juju, it ma not be the direction your heart wants to go in terms of career or field, but I did find that to be an impressive analysis!

And, yes, I do agree with you there. I believe the use of historical comparisons and adjectives were the flaws in how he expressed himself. His points were strong, it was just his language that was flawed.

Anyway, after Durbin came out Friday to say he regrets the misunderstandings of his floor response, I believe he's acknowledged his mishaps, and I do hope he continues to address his point and just discipline and monitor his use of language more closely, addressing the issue of torture without the use of comparisons or using broad terms like "Americans" which could generate too much curiosity and misinterpretation.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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52 posted 06-20-2005 01:56 PM       View Profile for Juju   Email Juju   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Juju's Home Page   View IP for Juju


Yeah you ask that,  I ask for for the logic. I mean c'mon I hope a lawyer (I think HE is) can give  good arguments.  You know what scares me more... this guy is writing the laws!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

You can't pull that off when you write important laws. Besides he is getting payed a wopping 100,000 dollars a year and then when he retires he gets that same amount in pension. This is unexcusable.

It is his job to report... its called checks and balance.  If he is lying he will get in big trouble, one way or another.  But it is also his job to do this in a logical fashion.  Personally I think He is exanderating events. Another thing about rules and guidelines Noah is that they were put there to be interpreted. back when they were written they probably meant No cutting off finges limbs and what ever else. Like in Vietnam, if you listen to the kinds of torture that went on to the americans, you will see why there is rules. When they put those rules they probably only meant like very extreems of that torture.  Thats the problems with rules. It is hard to say the context.
-Juju

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The dictionary never lies.... I am magical (;

Mistletoe Angel
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53 posted 06-20-2005 06:41 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

You're right. He was a lawyer in East St. Louis before he was elected to the House of Representatives about twenty years ago.

I agree with the point you're making. I believe he could have been more persuasive and convincing had he just used the information in the three FBI memos or the info from the International Red Cross. I believe his point was strong nevertheless, but he could have made his findings more complete and well-rounded.

In any case, the point Durbin was making was not that "Americans" are Nazis or familiar to Pol Pot, it is that if we are advocating torture, do we appear different enough from them in the eyes of others worldwide? And I believe many in the GOP are desiring to give this story longevity in the sole purpose of treating it as a facade and hiding the reality they defend and even endorce torture practices, practices which a majority of Americans outright oppose.

On that note, a number of big GOP voices came out condemning torture over the week:

Mel Martinez (R-FL)
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=aKnKFV0F7uc8&refer=us

Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (who also slammed Bush's Iraq policy)
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/06/13/vp_says_no_plan_to_close_cuba_jail/

Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter and Colin Powell also recently spoke out of the use of torture undermining the U.S image, etc.

I'm glad they get the picture. How I wish Bush and Rice and others would get it, who defend those practices.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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54 posted 06-21-2005 03:31 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Here's my argument in point format, as I understand that I write longer responses thus it can take more patience to read my replies and it helps to be direct.

*

1) The main problem with how Durbin expressed his point that U.S must end prisoner torture and abuse to secure its good image abroad and our own security is that he wasn't as elegant as he could have been, and he should have been aware how his use of comparisons would be open to too much interpretation.

2) The GOP could have challenged and critiqued Durbin for his lack of nuance to his response, which would have been absolutely appropriate and commendable.

3) Instead, the GOP have chosen to viciously attack Durbin with vitriol; lying about what he said, calling for his censure, and spinning his message.

4) The GOP's goal is to make Durbin the story, rather than the reality of international law violations and Guantanamo human rights violations being allowed by the Bush Administration, and worse yet, all being done in the name of the American people.

5) The GOP are doing just this because they know Durbin was right and they fear the truth in that it can increase public opposition to their policies on Iraq, etc.

6) The bottom line is, Durbin was absolutely right, because his point was that we ARE better than this, and if we allow these sorts of humilating and embarrassing things to happen, in the eyes of others, we won't seem different enough from the terrorists and other infamous regimes.

7) The issue of whether Durbin went too far with what he said is a slap on the wrist compared to an unpopular, senseless war in Iraq and that the treatment of prisoners by our Administration have violated international and moral lines.

8) Several times already, we have seen the Bush Administration, rather than answering criticism, choosing to silence their critics instead, even if it's the truth, and this is their latest effort at that.

9) Durbin must continue to fight back. He should just withdraw his use of historical comparisons and just focus on the point itself, as well as monitor his words closely.

10) America IS better than that in our government allowing the unacceptable treatment of detainees. America ought to be the opposite, and to be the opposite, we must condemn these acts of abuse and respect the law of the world.

*

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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55 posted 06-21-2005 04:25 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Noah (and Mike):

I think the stand-up thing for Durbin to have done is take a copy of the memo to the Bush Administration and demand appropriate action be taken OR he would go public with the info.  At least then, he could have said, "I gave them this info and they did nothing with it."

But politicians are all opportunists (left and right alike).  Rub elbows with enough of them over time and anyone can see that.

What needs to stop is torture, if it is indeed happening.  I think we can all agree that comparing Gitmo to Nazi Germany or PolPot is hyberbole.  But that doesn't necessarily mean that what is taking place is not torture.  I think I can problably agree with Mike that the Senate floor is not the first place the subject of torture should be broached.  I think I can agree with Noah that the full context of Durbin's remarks should be given fair treatment.

For what it's worth, I think Durbin and the rest of the Senate should demand that the allegations in the memo be investigated thoroughly and, if wrongdoing is found, that those who ordered and carried out the wrongs be punished.  

Demanding that Durbin retract what he said accomplishes nothing.  Criticizing vitriolic Republicans accomplishes nothing.  Allowing torture to occur, at best, prolongs the war against terrorists and, at worst, will cause us to lose the war.

Jim
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56 posted 06-21-2005 05:15 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Well said, Jim. And believe me, I never enjoy going on the offensive or on an aggressive defensive, but I'm certain by the intent of his message and when his message is being distorted, I must provide that point of view.

For many months now I've believed we're already losing the war badly and this war cannot be won, but beyond that, I believe Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are representative of exactly what's harming the image of our good nation abroad and sending out the wrong message of what our values and ideals are all about.

The bottom line is this: the Senate MUST look into how Guantanamo is being run. We can't just be expected to move on, we must acknowledge these types of things shouldn't be allowed to happen and we must address these issues together as a nation.

If anything, we ought to be much more outraged about what the report says than what Durbin or Frist or Gingrich said. We ought to join the worldwide discussion on the issue of torture, as just keeping silent could send an unfortunate message out to other cultures that we just don't care of the issue, and that could strike others as though we're taking one step down the same street those who harm us walk, and that thought only makes us look worse.

I hope we can get more out of Durbin's words than just our personal opinion of the man himself. I hope we also get the reminder of how important these issues are and not let them shy off into the sunset.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
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57 posted 06-21-2005 05:38 PM       View Profile for Juju   Email Juju   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Juju's Home Page   View IP for Juju

Yes... I agree with Jim.  To a certain agree.  I think if he would of done that Things would of came out better.  I think it would of been more progressive.  I think I agree with your point.  What he did wasn't constructive at all really. I take back the checks and balence thing, because your right there were better ways to go about it.

-Juju

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The dictionary never lies.... I am magical (;

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58 posted 06-21-2005 07:38 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

And he finally apologized on the Senate Floor for his remarks which many thought went too far in their comparisons.  And that's good enough for me.

I respect his Freedom of Speech, but freedoms aren't really free.  There's always a price, and Senator Durbin learned that.  I'm positive he's known this for most of his life and I know he didn't mean what he said in the way he said it.  Howsoever, that's how many took it, on both sides of the aisle and in other countries.  Maybe now everyone there can get back to their real jobs: legislating and representing.  That's what they're supposed to be paid for, not slinging stuff that floats.
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59 posted 06-21-2005 09:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Jim, your comment was very well thought out and said. I doubt, however, that Durbin or even the Democrats who backed his words want an investigation to get to the truth of the matter. They run the risk of having it be untrue and added to the list of the national guard allegations, Dan rather and Newsweek. I don't think they are willing to take that risk. They think they have gotten what they wanted out of this (still oblivious to how the general public regards these tactics) and will quietly hope that it fades away.

Time will tell....
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60 posted 06-22-2005 05:45 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I am glad Durbin has publicly apologized for the way his message was illustrated.

I also hope he doesn't apologize in the context of his point itself and he continues to reinforce and make that point loud and clear on torture from here on out and that he doesn't back off in the struggle for truth.

In the lack of nuance and eloquence in speaking, he was at fault and it was right for him to apologize. As far as the point itself, I hope he continues to fight and reinforce the truth on these issues, for any less would just be selling out in my opinion or buying in, and would only hurt nothing less than the American people and the world.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

 
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