Written by Felix Minderbinder
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Topics: Republicans, Prison

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

image for Senator Durbin Persuaded to Apologize for Gitmo Remarks
Prisoners being tortured by U.S. soldiers at Gitmo

WASHINGTON, DC--(Reuters)--Under fire from Republicans, Senator Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American torturers at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other infamous users of torture.

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said, as he was strung up on piano wire by Pentagon torturers on loan from Gitmo, and subjected to repeated electroshocks. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies. Ouch! Ouch!"

His voice cracking and tears welling in his eyes, the no. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

"They're the best. Ouch! I never, ever intended any disrespect for them, Arrrggghhh!" he screamed. The apology came a week after Durbin, the Senate minority whip, quoted from an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the Naval base in a U.S.-controlled portion of Cuba as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.

"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," the Senator said June 14.

The comment created a sensation on the Internet and among conservative Republican talk radio hosts. Durbin initially refused to apologize.

"This administration should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure," he said the next day. Later, Durbin clarified his comments, yet the White House and top Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist insisted on an apology, and threatened to send in the "experts."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview broadcast on Fox News radio's "The Tony Snow Show" tried to equate the comment with actress Jane Fonda calling U.S. soldiers war criminals during a visit to North Vietnam in 1972. Of course, the consensus of the rest of the world is that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were war criminals, as were Nixon and Kissinger, just as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are war criminals today.

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley added his voice to the criticism, saying, "I think it's a disgrace to say that any man or woman in the military would act like that. They should have tortured Durban even more, I think. Really given him the works. We know how to do things like that here in Chicago."

Durbin said in his apology: "I made reference to Nazis, to Soviets, and other repressive regimes. Jesus that hurts! Mr. President, thanks to your Gitmo persuaders, I've come to understand that's a very poor choice of words. Ouch! Please stop! I know we need that oil for Exxon Mobil and Chevron Texaco!"

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