Aljazeera has quoted Illinois Senator Dick Durbin as saying this about the American military at Guantanamo, Cuba: “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.” Senator Durbin has now offered “clarification” of his Nazi-Gulag-Pol Pot comment on his home page:
“More than 1700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and our country’s standing in the world community has been badly damaged by the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. My statement in the Senate was critical of the policies of this Administration which add to the risk our soldiers face.”
“I will continue to speak out when I disagree with this Administration.”
“I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support.”
“‘My statement in the Senate was critical of the policies of this Administration which add to the risk our soldiers face.’”
“Ironic that while the US hasn’t executed anyone at Guantanamo or any of our other terrorist holding camps Durbin’s comments (carried far and wide by Al Jazeera) were tantamount to a death warrant for some US Soldiers and Iraqis involved in combat with these swine.”
A word of caution to those who would toss accusations like “Nazi” and “Gulag” about with a certain degree of nonchalance: Those death camps were actually recent history, and the survivors are still with us today.
Senator Durbin – read these are comments from an actual prisoner, Pavel Litvinov, who was a “detainee” at an “actual Gulag”.
“Several days ago I received a telephone call from an old friend who is a longtime Amnesty International staffer. He asked me whether I, as a former Soviet ‘prisoner of conscience’ adopted by Amnesty, would support the statement by Amnesty’s executive director, Irene Khan, that the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba is the ‘gulag of our time.’
‘Don’t you think that there’s an enormous difference?’ I asked him.
‘Sure,’ he said, ‘but after all, it attracts attention to the problem of Guantanamo detainees.'”