Thursday, June 23, 2005

Durbin Slammed for Nazi comment: Republicans used Nazi Images in 2004 Campaign!

Republican advocates have jumped all over Senator Durbin of Illinois for comparing American treatment of prisoners at Guantanmo to Nazi regime activity or the Pol Pot Regime in Cambodia.

Photo of Senator Durbin

Even Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary was flabbergasted that such a comparison was made. As reported:
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.

"Our men and women in uniform go out of their way to treat detainees humanely, and they go out of their way to uphold the values and the laws that we hold so dear in this country," McClellan said
But what did Durbin actually say? He read from an FBI report and commented on it. His statement included the following:
Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

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. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners
The Republican spin machine is at it, trying to state that Guantanamo inmates are subject to at the worst: loud rock music.

As on Editorial from the North Carolina State Technician states:
Durbin vilified our armed forces, used the senate floor as a launch-pad for treasonous exaggerations, and made an abject fool out of both himself and his party.

Durbin read a report from an FBI agent detailing the so-called extreme conditions some detainees at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to. The report alleges that detainees were denied chairs, food, access to the bathroom and were forced to endure uncomfortable temperatures in their cells.

Also, some detainees were forced to listen to really loud rap music -- kind of like when someone with a ridiculously loud sound system drives by your house in the middle of the night. Boy, I really feel sorry for those detainees
Treason? Since when is it treason to criticize possible illegal acts by our own military? Since when is it treason to ask that our government abide by the Geneva Conventions and refrain from obvious torture?

If it was so horrible for Senator Durbin to compare actions at Guantanamo with Nazi tactics, where was the outrage when the Republicans used Nazi images to condemn the Democratic leadership? How soon the Public forgets!

Why was it acceptable for the Bush/Cheney campaign to run video comparing Senator Kerry and the Democrat leadership to Hitler during the 2004 campaign? Where was the outrage then?

Does anyone else remember the "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed" video that ran for months on the official Bush/Cheney website and that was emailed to millions of Republican supporters? Even after the ADL requested them to be removed?

Play the "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed Video that was run for months on the Bush/Cheney campaign site.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the statement:
We are disappointed that the Bush-Cheney campaign has not removed Nazi images, including Adolf Hitler, from the President's re-election Web site. The campaign's rehashing of what had appeared on the site, which was removed after outcry from ADL and others, is inappropriate and offensive.

Using images of Hitler and terminology from the Nazi regime in campaign attacks is offensive and demeaning to the memory of the six million and others who died in the Holocaust. However well intentioned, the Bush-Cheney campaign's attempt to add a disclaimer to the video -- suggesting that they were only using it to show how their adversaries have used Hitler's image– does not go far enough. We urge the Bush-Cheney campaign to immediately remove the Hitler imagery from the video.

Earlier this year, after a proliferation of references to Hitler and the Nazis began appearing in the wind-up to the Presidential election season, we called on the Democratic and Republican parties to refrain from adopting Nazi imagery as a political attack tool. We had hoped then that both parties had heard our concerns. For us, this is neither a Democratic nor a Republican issue, but rather a matter of respecting the feelings of those who could be offended by such images, including Jewish Holocaust survivors and their families
The difference between what the Move-On site did was that they ran hundreds of submissions for possible Kerry ads and that they removed the offensive ad within days of a complaint. The Bush-Cheney campaign, however, prominently ran this edited form of the ad as an official video from their library, emailing it to their supporters, and refused to pull the ad after complaints from the ADL. You tell me which was the insensitive act!

As was reported by the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — Adolf Hitler’s image has surfaced again in the White House race.

President Bush’s campaign contains online video, removed from a liberal group’s Web site months ago and disavowed, that features the Nazi dictator.

The Bush Internet video, which was sent electronically to 6 million supporters, intersperses clips of speeches by Democrats John Kerry, Al Gore and Howard Dean with the footage of Hitler.

Democrats want the video pulled from the site. Campaign aides said it would remain.

Republicans had criticized the group in January because it briefly posted an ad contest entry that linked Hitler and Bush. It showed images of Bush with text saying, “God told me to strike at al-Qaida,” before turning to images of Hitler with the words, “And then He instructed me to strike at Saddam.” The submission ended with the words, “Sound familiar?” on a black and white screen. The group later said the entry was in “poor taste” and pulled it from its site.

The 77-second video on the Bush-Cheney re-election site splices footage of Kerry, the presumptive nominee, and his 2004 rival Dean along with 2000 nominee Gore and film director Michael Moore. The spot calls them Kerry’s “Coalition of the Wild-eyed.” Clips of Hitler’s image are seen throughout the spot.

“The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong,” said Kerry’s campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, who called on the GOP campaign to remove the Web video from its site.

“We’re using the video from to show our supporters the type of vitriolic rhetoric being used by the president’s opponents and John Kerry’s surrogates,” said Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

The online spot begins with clips of Gore assailing the Bush administration. “How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein’s torture prison,” Gore shouts during a public speech.

It then cuts to an image of Hitler, followed by Dean, Moore and Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., all bashing Bush. There are more clips of Hitler, Gore and then Kerry, before the screen cuts to the words, “This is not a time for pessimism and rage.” Video images of Bush follow.
I am so sick of Republican hypocrisy. Let us not simply "condemn the messenger", but let us examine what the message was! Let us not avert attention to our own failings and label anyone who brings them up as "unAmerican" or "Treasonous".

But let us fix the wrongs in America! Let us work to build a country that abides by the Geneva Conventions. That is quick to respond to attacks and yet maintains the decency and law-abiding nature of our people!

It is time for new leadership in Washington!



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