Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

June 21, 2005

Actual Torture

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:49 pm

Jamie Jeffords of Eye of Polyphemus points out this story in the New York Times:

Iraq, Sunday, June 19 – Marines on an operation to eliminate insurgents that began Friday broke through the outside wall of a building in this small rural village to find a torture center equipped with electric wires, a noose, handcuffs, a 574-page jihad manual – and four beaten and shackled Iraqis. [Note to Dick Durbin: They were being tortured by "insurgents" and rescued by U.S. Marines. --DR]
The manual recovered – a fat, well-thumbed Arabic paperback – listed itself as the 2005 First Edition of “The Principles of Jihadist Philosophy,” by Abdel Rahman al-Ali. Its chapters included “How to Select the Best Hostage,” and “The Legitimacy of Cutting the Infidels’ Heads.”

Three cars loaded with explosives were parked in a garage outside the house.

The article also describes the torture:

Ahmed XXXX, 19, a former member of the new Iraqi Army, said he had been held and tortured there for 22 days. All the while, he said, his face was almost entirely taped over and his hands were cuffed.

Just once, he asked if he could see his mother, and one of them said to him, “You won’t leave until you are dead.”

Mr. XXXX did not know there were other hostages. He found out only after the captors left and he was able to remove the tape from his eyes.

The others were emaciated and battered. Mr. XXXX had fared the best. The other three were taken by medical helicopter to Balad, a base near Baghdad with a hospital.

But he still had been hurt badly. Marks from beatings criss-crossed his back, and deep pocks, apparently from electric shock burns, were gouged in his skin.

The shocks, he said, felt “like my soul is being ripped out of my body.” But when he would start to scream, and his body would pull up from the shock, they would begin to beat him, he said.

Mr. XXXX has been at the Marine base south of Qaim since his release, on Saturday around noon. His mother still does not know he is alive.

When she was mentioned, he bowed and lowered his head, and began to cry softly, wiping his face with the jumpsuit given him by the marines.

He asked a reporter for help to move to another town, because it was too dangerous for his family to remain in their house. He begged not to have a photograph taken, even of the scars on his back. The captors took pictures of that, he said. [But the New York Times saw fit to publish his name, so other "insurgents" can take revenge on his family. This is called "journalistic ethics." --DR]

His town has always been a good place, he said, but the militants have made it hell.

“These few are destroying it,” he said, his face streaked with tears. “Everybody they take, they kill. It’s on a daily basis pretty much.”

Remember, Dick Durbin thinks that the Marines who rescued Mr. XXXX are like “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, … Pol Pot” — and that the “insurgents” who tortured and maimed Mr. XXXX ought to be released from Gitmo, where they are “tortured” by being forced to listen to Christina Aguilera music. Poor little things.

Jamie Jeffords notes:

That is what we are up against: barbarians willing to toture, maim, and kill their own people while celebrating the beheading of those who don’t follow their religion. Those are Nazis. Sen. Durbin may not realize it, but our armed servicemen do, the American people do, and I do. I feel proud as an American to know we have taken a stand against them.

Senator Durbin is not anti-war. He’s just on the other side.

A Senator Responds to Dick Durbin

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:06 pm

As noted previously, last week the number-two Democrat in the Senator Dick Durbin compared American soldiers to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, … Pol Pot.” And there has been an uproar in the blogosphere (and probably talk radio, but I haven’t had much time to listen lately) over this for the past week.

Now, a Senator has responded:

“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.”

Which Senator said that?

OK, I lied — that statement was also from Senator Dick Durbin. Defending the war in Iraq. In 1998. December 17, 1998. When President Clinton had just ordered a third consecutive night of air strikes against Iraq. Whose motives were questioned because the House was about to vote on articles of impeachment for perjury.

So I guess in Dick Durbin’s view:

  • When America is threatened by terrorists, the appropriate thing to do is compare American troops protecting us from them to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, … Pol Pot.”
  • When an American president is in political trouble over a sex-lies-and-real-estate scandal, the appropriate thing to do is “present[] a united front to our enemies abroad.”

Do you think maybe Senator Durbin might retract his remarks and “present a united front” with President Bush, if only President Bush were to have sex with a few interns, participate in a crooked real estate deal, and then lie about it all to a grand jury? Would that obligate Senator Durbin to is “present a united front to our enemies abroad”? Or would he still give our enemies abroad hope that they can defeat us?

(Mark at Decision ’08 had an even better headline for the abvoe quote: Durbin: We Must Support the President.)

RealClearPolitics adds (emphases in the original):

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.

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.

(Hat tip: Ed Driscoll via InstaPundit.)

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