I thought it was pretty outrageous that Dick Durbin compared our interrogation methods for detainees at Guantanamo to the massacres of the Nazis, the Soviets, and the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Like others, I was calling for censure. Comparing our troops to Nazis is OK for MoveOn.org, I guess, but not for a U.S. senator.

But now, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post sets me straight. He writes: 

“Those of us who have read accounts of the gulag or of the interrogation methods of the Nazis and similar barbaric regimes are familiar with the infinite varieties of torture. Maybe for that reason I did not feel it was anything of a stretch for Sen. Dick Durbin to refer to those regimes when reciting what an FBI agent had seen at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: detainees ‘chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water,’ or deprived of a bathroom, or kept in extreme heat or cold.”


See, only some prisoners at the German death camps–oh, say, 6 million or so–were gassed or had their genitals wired to electrodes or were sent to forced-labor gangs in the icy winter to freeze, starve, and work themselves to death. And some got chained to the floor with the air-conditioning and the Cristina Aguilera CD on. Ah, the “infinite varieties of torture.” Now I understand.

So if you’re teed off at Dick Durbin and you think the Senate ought to do something about him, Richard says you’re too cruel:

“The practice of the Bush White House and its supporters is to go right at its critics — to hell with fairness — and shout them down. This is what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to John Kerry and this is what the White House itself did to Newsweek. That magazine’s story about reported abuses of the Koran at Guantanamo was admittedly wrong on one specific, but we did learn later that the military itself had investigated reports of Koran abuse. There’s smoke, if not fire, there.”

“Smoke, not fire,” huh? As in: No Korans flushed down the toilet, none whatsoever. So who cares if 15 people get killed in a riot? Newsweek got only “one” teeny-weeny li’l “specific” wrong.

And I love that “Koran abuse.” At Gitmo, that means forgetting to put on your infidel gloves when passing the U.S. government-supplied holy book to a detainee. After you’ve painted a helpful arrow on his cell floor so that he can properly pray facing east.

And finally, there’s this from Richard:

“The vitriol being heaped on Durbin would be almost funny if it weren’t so mean.”

“Mean”? Richard, we’re grown-ups here. This isn’t grade-school, where the playground bully is “mean” to the nerds who wear glasses. If you want us to take you serious, Richardl, please use an adult vocabulary.

Hope I don’t sound too mean!

Meanwhile, let’s all us winger females chip in to buy Sen. Durbin (and maybe Richard Cohen, too) a copy of the Gitmo Cookbook: actual recipes for the food served to the detainees. The dishes include Tandouri Chicken Breast, Mustard-Dill Baked Fish, Lyonnaise Rice, and Fish Amandine: exactly what they ate every night at the gulag.