groveling and wipe your nose
By Allen Quicke
"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
- US Democrat
Senator Richard Durbin (Ilinois), on the Senate
floor on June 14, citing an FBI account of how
Guantanamo prisoners had been chained to their
cell walls in extreme temperatures and deprived of
food and water.
As we are not beholden
to the American mainstream media or the voters who
are swayed by them, we can fearlessly admit that
the chaining of prisoners to walls in extreme
temperatures and depriving them of food and water
does indeed remind us of Nazis and gulags.
But, of course, Senator Durbin, as a politician,
should have known better than to use the word
"Nazis": doing so simply provided
his opponent with a stick to beat one with
while all critical faculties, on all sides, are
automatically suspended. And beat him they did,
with mindless fury. As Durbin admitted later,
"more than most people, a senator lives by his
"Some may believe that
my remarks crossed the line. To them, I extend my
- Durbin, in
tears on the Senate floor on June 21, apologizing
for his June 14 remarks.
Durbin apologize? He had compared the practice of
chaining Guantanamo prisoners to their cell walls
in extreme temperatures and depriving them of food
and water, to the practices of Nazi and Soviet
jailers. Not one of his critics claimed that such
practices had not occurred at Guantanamo, or that
Nazis and Soviets did not employ such practices.
What Durbin was really crying about was
his political error of using the words "Americans"
and "Nazis" in the same sentence. For this was
precisely what gave his opponents in the Senate
and the media the opportunity to lambast him
while, incidentally, any discussion about the real
issue - maltreatment of prisoners - became moot.
When the media, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh
and Fox News leading the rabid pack, started
howling, Durbin must have seen his political
future sinking like a stone. Clutching at straws
and jettisoning priciples, he saw a sniveling
apology as his salvation.
Well, we have
news for you, Senator. Rush Limbaugh, for one, is
not at all happy with your apology. Limbaugh
devotes over 5,500 words on his website,
transcribed from one of his broadcasts, to
"analyzing" the apology. His main problem is
semantic: "Basically, folks," Limbaugh hectors,
"he's apologizing 'if' you were offended. He's not
apologizing for what he said ... He doesn't
retract the remarks and he doesn't say, 'I was
wrong.'" Quite so, Rush. How clever of you to spot
"I promise you that I
will continue to speak out on the issues that I
think are important to the people of Illinois and
to the nation."
- Durbin in his
Senate apology, assuring everybody that he really
is a man of principle.
sticks in Limbaugh's craw: "He [Durbin] gets to
the point here ... 'I promise you I'm going to
continue to speak out on issues that I think are
important to the people of Illinois and the
nation,' and if your feelings get hurt I may
apologize again, but I'm going to keep speaking.'"
Well, it's hard to believe that Durbin
"will continue to speak out on the issues that I
think are important". His grovelling indicates
that he will not if he risks upsetting his
political opponents (heaven forbid - we're all on
the same side here) or generating negative
publicity. Such, sadly, appears to be the nature
of American "democracy" since it was hijacked by
the media, from tame politicians and a cowed
electorate, on September 11, 2001.
do believe that Limbaugh means it when he implies
that anyone who has an opinion that differs from
his own has no right to express it. This is
fascism - or Nazism, if you like - Mr Limbaugh.
Incidentally, Limbaugh, in the same transcript,
boasts that he popularized the term "feminazi".
Obviously it's fine to associate feminists with
Nazis, just do not insult the saintly US
military (or even its "rogue elements"?).
This has been an illuminating fortnight in
US domestic politics. The light does not reveal a
pretty picture. There is only one thing left to
ponder: when, if ever, is anyone going to stand up
to the political thugs and media bullies who now
apparently run the US and its foreign policies?
Don't expect it anytime soon from the Democrats:
they had a chance to nail George W Bush to the
wall for lying to the American people over Iraq,
but decided that would not be a vote winner. Bush
was reelected anyway, despite the Democrats'
concerted focus on their man's Vietnam War medals.
Don't expect it from the mainstream US media
either: all the evidence that proves Bush lied is
largely ignored as "an old story".
one can only laugh in resignation at Limbaugh's
professed outrage over the whole Durbin saga,
expressed at the conclusion of his broadcast:
"That's what happens when the culture of
Washington, DC, is dominated by the left."
is Asia Times Online Managing Editor
and Thailand Bureau Chief.
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