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Friday, June 17, 2005

Dick Durbin's Summer Vacation

The Senate is due for summer recess, and the Democrats especially are due some rest. All those long hours of blocking judicial and United Nations nominees — exhausting! As members of the world's greatest deliberative body (read with Monty Python inflections) begin keying in on which junkets to take at taxpayer expense, I want to lend a hand to beleagured Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who's taken such a thrashing for his recent comparisons between 1) mistreatment of a single prisoner at Gitmo with 2) the larger genocidal handiwork of Hitler, Stalin, and Pot Pol. Critics, back off! Durbin worked really hard to bust Janice Rogers Brown's chops. He's obviously tired, and every schoolboy knows the accurate spinning of one's moral compass depends on adequate rest. I think Rush Limbaugh understands this as well, which is no doubt why America's Anchroman today offered to foot the bill personally to send Dick Durbin on a summer trip to various international locales geared to fine-tune the Illinois senator's capacity to make accurate distinctions. The exact itinerary isn't yet complete, but here's a quick look at how it's shaping up. Durbin will fly to Germany, where he'll get a tour of an institution that Durbin effectively compared with Gitmo. Thanks to the miracle of hyperlinks, we can go there together: Dachau. Then it's off to Cambodia for a visit to the Killing Fields. From there we go to a Soviet gulag. And since our larger teaching point concerns the logic of moral equivalence, Rush has arranged for Durbin to conclude with a Gitmo at Guantanamo Bay. What follows is a quick overview of torture conditions there, thanks to The History Channel. (Note: Italics indicate extreme brutality. Read at your own discretion, after putting the kids in front of Sesame Street.)
Camp Delta was initially a 612-unit detention facility.... Approximately 24 units make up a detention block. The facility has indoor plumbing with each unit having its own floor style flush toilet, metal bed-frame raised off the floor, and a sink with running water; none of which was available at Camp X-Ray where portable toilets were used instead. Areas at Camp Delta are also better controlled than Camp X-Ray and detainees are out of the sun more. There are also two recreation/exercise areas per detention block at Camp Delta. The Detention hospital is comparable to a full-service, medical facility with state-of-the-art equipment and professional medical staff.... Detainees receive three culturally appropriate meals a day, one of which is an MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat).... Military Police personnel are tasked with sanitizing each MRE, and removing toilet paper, the plastic wrapper off the spoon, a bag of spiced cider, and any additional material deemed to pose a potential threat. This includes salt, with each detainee allowed only one salt.
Only one salt? Oh, the horror! Senator Durbin, please take a camera and bring back photos of this atrocity. Those who do not learn from the history of minimalized sodium conditions are condemned to repeat it. When will we figure this out for good?