Words vs. Deeds

According to CNN, White House press secretary Scott McClellan called Senator Dick Dubrin’s recent remarks “reprehensible”. The remark in question was, “If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, 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.”

What’s odd is that people in the Bush administration seem to think that Durbin’s words are reprehensible while at the same time believing their own actions are proper. Torture is never justified. Humane treatment of prisoners is always to be expected. Senator Durbin’s remarks are entirely reasonable and the White House response shows just how deluded the administration is.


  1. Ben makes a good point. There certainly is a huge difference between genocide and the detention camps. However, there is one place where the similarity between the actions of the Nazis and the Bush Administration is similar. Both detained people without giving them any recourse to the legal system.

    This is so fundamentally against the American system of justice that I think the comparison is to some degree deserved.

    However, I also agree that even if I’m right, it may not (yet) be the time to make the comparison. It does distract from the real issue of whether the White House has to work within the Constitution or not.

  2. I certainly don’t approve of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo or elsewhere and don’t agree with McClellan’s characterization of things, but at the same time I don’t believe that Durbin’s words were “entirely reasonable”. When you dredge up the Nazis in comparisons, you are doing yourself and your cause a disservice. You make it incredibly easy for your opponent to shrug off.

    It’s unfortunate that so many politicians believe it appropriate and necessary to make Hitler and similar comparisons just to get attention (members of both parties do it all the time). These are stupid comparisons! While events occurring at Gitmo may be bad, unjust, and/or illegal, it is decidedly *NOT* another Holocaust. By making it so, you’re giving your opponent an easy way out of an honest discussion.

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