Sunday, June 19, 2005


Gingrich: Senate Should Censure Durbin

Newt Gingrich sent a letter to all U.S. Senators which calls on them to censure Dick Durbin for his slanderous comments on the Senate floor last week. I agree with John Hinderacker:
Gingrich puts the case very well, I think. The argument is a compelling one: if the Senate censures Durbin, it will largely undo the damage that he has done by demonstrating to the terrorists and their allies that Durbin's misguided attack on the U.S. military was an aberration. Moreover, the American people deserve to know who, if anyone, agrees with Durbin's slander of our armed forces, so that when those Senators run for re-election, they can be defeated. Senators should not be able to hide behind a discreet "no comment," as Hillary Clinton has done. This is not a time for our elected officials to be neutral as between the terrorists and the armed forces of the United States.
It is despicable that Democrats are silent on the matter. Durbin should be censured, the sooner the better. The whole country should know how each and every Senator feels about this. And the whole world should know exactly what the Senate thinks of this.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewett analyzes Durbin's remarks in a column entitled Breaking the Durbin Code:
Durbin's argument, coming in this context, implies that the American military has built a global network of Abu Ghraibs/Gitmos, wherein systematic torture of prisoners is taking place, all of it under the control of the United States military. On Tuesday, Durbin referred to the "torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and elsewhere" and by Friday, Durbin was making the argument that Abu Ghraib equals Gitmo openly: "This FBI memo points to it. It is the kind of thing that happened at Abu Ghraib."

Of course Durbin will not segregate the criminal conduct by a handful of out-of-control G.I.'s not acting under orders--and already prosecuted and punished--from the authorized conduct at Gitmo and elsewhere. To do so would be to protect the military's reputation, but it would damage Durbin's agenda of demonizing the war effort. To advance that agenda, Durbin takes a single report from an FBI investigator, inflates its allegations to Abu Ghraib-level criminal conduct, and attributes it to every detention facility used in the war on terror. This is not the simple slander of one interrogator, or one facility.
The election of 2004 might have been the occasion when the Democratic leadership took account of where American public opinion stands on this war. That leadership rejected the results of November because those results rejected them. In response they have upped the rhetoric, intent on a replay of the anti-war movement and rhetoric of the late '60s and early '70s, hopeful of converting Bush to Nixon, and of driving American power back to its own shores. The tactic of demonizing the American military worked then, so it is being replayed now. If this rhetoric is not checked, it is only a matter of time until we have a new John Kerry discussing the "Genghis Khan" tactics of the American military operating in the Middle East.

Durbin's slander was simply a rhetorical bridge too far, but for both the man and his party there are no regrets and no apology. Not one senior Democrat has condemned Durbin's statement. Not one Democratic senator has asked for a caucus meeting.

The difference between 2005 and the Vietnam era, however, lies in the public's appreciation of its soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, founded in no small part on the public's recognition that the consequences of a collapse of American will in the new millennium will not be millions dead in Europe or Asia, but more Americans dead in America.


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