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The "So-Called Fuss" about Guantanamo

June 28, 2005

In a tactic apparently designed to offset all evidence to the contrary,
“Senators from both sides of the aisle competed on Monday to extol the humane treatment of detainees whom they said they saw on a weekend trip to the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay”–the senators traveled to Guantánamo for the day on Sunday “‘to see for ourselves what all the so-called fuss is about down there,’ as Mr. Bunning [Republican, Kentucky] put it.” [As the New York Times reports this morning.]

Ignoring a steadily mounting pile of evidence, from interviews with detainees to reports on the systematic violation of medical
information used in interrogation in the New England Journal of Medicine to the
International Committee of the Red Cross report, leaked after their June 2004 visit to the
prison camp, the senators, in their wisdom, oppose closing the center.

Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon): “I feel very good” about the detainees’ treatment.”

Ben Nelson (Democrat, Nebraska): Ditto.

Jim Bunning (Republican, Kentucky): some detainees “even have air-conditioning and semiprivate showers.”

Michael D. Crapo (Republican, Idaho): soldiers and sailors at the camp “get more abuse from the detainees than they give to the detainees.”

The jocular positions taken by these senators indicate one of two things: (1) a mindboggling ignorance of current events and a total lack of attention to the presentation of evidence regarding torture at the prison camp; or (2) a deliberate rhetorical/media strategy to offset the negative impact that recent coverage in the media has produced in the constituency.

  1. June 29, 2005 8:43 PM

    Jim Bunning (Republican, Kentucky): some detainees “even have air-conditioning and semiprivate showers.”

    Heheh. This one reminds me of the FBI report Senator Durbin read from just before he made those oh-so-controversial remarks back on June 14.

    Quoting Durbin from the Congressional Record:

    ..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..

    [Updated 6.30.05 to pare down the quote to just the part referring to air-conditioning. –M]

  2. MarkC permalink
    November 10, 2005 6:06 AM

    On visiting the People’s Communal Farm at Dazhai, the Senators all complimented the effort their comrades were making on behalf of the Glorious Leader:

    Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon): “The harvest is above quota in every respect!”

    Ben Nelson (Democrat, Nebraska): “Ditto.”

    Jim Bunning (Republican, Kentucky): “The peasants here live like kings do in other, more objectionable countries.”

    Michael D. Crapo (Republican, Idaho): “I am confident that the face that the commune showed to visiting senators accurately reflects the actual conditions in every way.”

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