Thursday, June 16, 2005
On this day:

Senator Durbin Compares US Soldiers to Nazis, Soviets

The Rodney Dangerfield of the Senate runs his mouth. The Guardian: White House Castigates Durbin for Remarks By NEDRA PICKLER
The White House said a senator's comparison of American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviet gulags and Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was reprehensible and a disservice to those serving in the military. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said it is "beyond belief" that Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin would compare treatment of dangerous enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to the death of millions of innocent people by oppressive regimes. [...] "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," Durbin said. Said McClellan:"I think the senator's remarks are reprehensible. It's a real disservice to our men and women in uniform who adhere to high standards and uphold our values and our laws."
This next paragraph should be obvious:
A Durbin spokesman said Wednesday that the senator did not plan to apologize for the comments. The senator issued a statement saying it's the administration that should apologize "for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure."
James Taranto at Opinion Journal writes:
Combatants who pose as civilians (i.e., do not wear uniforms) or who target civilians are spies and terrorists respectively and are not entitled to protection as prisoners of war. Indeed, Durbin acknowledged in his Senate speech that "the Geneva Conventions do not give POW status to terrorists." But he went on to insist that the conventions "protect everyone captured during wartime." He bases this on the "official commentary on the convention," which states that "nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law." Durbin is unclear as to just what protection he thinks al Qaeda terrorists should get. And little wonder, because the implication of his comments is that terrorists are entitled to protection as civilians.