OK, Buster, Get In That La-Z-Boy

By: Michael M. Bates

Richard Durbin should be relieved. Last year the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat compared U.S. treatment of an accused al Qaeda terrorist to that accorded to prisoners in the Soviet gulags, the Nazi concentration camps and Pol Pot’s killing fields.
Guantanamo Bay lacked ample amenities to satisfy Illinois’ No. 1 bleeding heart. The Dickster may take comfort in what three of his colleagues who visited the detention camp last week found.

As reported by Fox News, the senators were satisfied with their inspection. Inmates have access to a pharmacy, an operating room and a dentist. Five thousand vaccinations have been provided, as well as 22 prosthetic limbs. Almost 300 operations have been have been performed on prisoners.

One interrogation room the senators saw included a La-Z-Boy recliner. This isn’t for camp personnel. It’s for detainees being questioned.

Fox News didn’t mention if prisoners can send out to Starbucks for a latte, but maybe Durbin and his ideological soul mate Kennedy will sponsor legislation mandating that.

Last year Durbin complained about the air conditioning being adjusted to too cold or too hot for the prisoners. He also grumbled about loud rap music played at them.

Those methods are a continuing affront to liberal sensibilities. Just last week, the New York Times wrote of the 2002 apprehension of a bin Laden “henchman.” The article noted the terrorist was “subjected to coercive interrogation techniques – he was stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music. . .”

Former KGB operative Vladimir Putin would laugh to hear those depicted as coercive interrogation techniques. Compared to his Communist predecessors and their Nazi counterparts, Putin’s own KGB was running a spa. And his organization didn’t even provide comfy chairs and dental care.

It’s probable that a few of our military personnel in Guantanamo Bay have sometimes gone too far in their treatment of detainees. That doesn’t mean, though, that mistreatment is the norm.

Certainly, there are constant provocations. One of the commanders mentioned that last year guards were pelted with spit, urine or fecal material more than 900 times, or about twice per prisoner. The Associated Press recently reported that fans, shower sandals, radios and parts of toilets and sinks have all been fashioned into weapons to attack guards.

Yet Durbin and other liberals prefer to focus on how the prisoners are treated.

The Fox News report was consistent with earlier ones indicating the detainees at Guantanamo Bay aren’t likely to be mistaken for concentration camp victims.

Right around the same time that Durbin started fretting over how we’re treating these poor folks obsessed with the thought of killing us, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.) held a press conference detailing the many horrors to which the inmates are routinely subjected.

A not atypical meal for them consists of lemon chicken, rice, broccoli, carrots, bread, and two types of fruit.

Prisoners are given prayer rugs and beads. Copies of the Quran are provided in more than a dozen languages.

They have a library. According to a BBC account last month, the library has more than 4,000 books. Harry Potter is a favorite.

Five times a day a prayer call is made over the loud speaker system. Hundreds of directional signs pointing to Mecca are posted. Yellow cones are placed in corridors as a reminder not to disturb prisoners while they’re praying.

In July Senator Durbin visited Guantanamo to see for himself what’s going on there. He told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about a session he observed:

“The interrogator sat down, opened a bag, handed the detainee a Subway sandwich. He lit up, and started eating the sandwich and started talking.”

Still Dick is not satisfied. Even after his visit, Durbin wants the facility shut down quickly. He speaks of “the powerful negative image of Guantanamo around the world.”

It’s too bad that he can’t see the powerful negative image of the barbaric terrorists who want to kill us. La-Z-Boys and Subways aren’t going to win over their hearts and minds.

Marquis of Queensberry rules simply don’t apply. September 11th changed all that.

This Michael M. Bates column appeared in the September 14, 2006 Reporter Newspapers.

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