The senior U.S. senator from Illinois, now widely known as “Dustbin Durbin,” has been widely and articulately denounced by Vice President Cheney, by Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, by his state’s own largest newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, and by leaders of both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Mayor Kelley of Chicago called on him to apologize – which Durbin finally did.
At first, Durbin was defiant in re-reading his outrageous comparison of our Armed Forces at Guantanamo Bay to the soldiers of Pol Pot, Nazi Germany and the gulag guards of the Soviet Union.
This alleged Gentleman From Illinois even attacked one of the greatest of all our war leaders, his own party’s four-time elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for FDR’s “decision to authorize the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.”
Sen. Durbin really ought to do some research on this subject. He should read the book “Magic,” the story of how our U.S. intelligence broke the Japanese code – which helped us win the very decisive Battle of Midway.
This code breaking revealed the fact that there were Japanese alien spies who held dual citizenship in Imperial Japan.
They were all over the West Coast, spotting and reporting all our naval shipping, and infiltrating the work forces in our defense plants.
Had our FBI begun arresting them, this would have been immediately noted by Japanese intelligence.
So, in a decision that was ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, President Roosevelt authorized not the internment – but the relocation of all Japanese-Americans from our three West Coast states and southern Arizona.
The only Japanese-Americans ever interned were rightfully categorized as enemies because as holders of dual citizenship, they were demanding to be returned to Japan.
The huge majority of Japanese-Americans were merely relocated. Thousands of them left the relocation centers to take jobs in the other 44 states – including thousands who attended college at government expense.
Some Japanese-Americans – including the parents of Iva Toguri (the convicted traitor “Tokyo Rose”) did not even have to go to the relocation centers. They just relocated to Chicago, where they opened a market in Sen. Durbin’s state.
Sen. Durbin’s (almost) apology was notable:
“I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood.”
Note that. It wasn’t his fault. No, it was that his words were “misused and misunderstood”!
(It’s their fault, not mine!)
Durbin went on to declare:
“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.”
Right, senator! And that’s why you compared our armed forces at Gitmo to the soldiers of Nazi Germany, Cambodian genocidist Pol Pot and Stalin’s gulag guards!
The following are well-deserved denunciations of Sen. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois:
“Sen. Durbin’s remarks could very well make him the ‘Hanoi Jane’ of this conflict,” said American Legion Commander Thomas P. Cadmus. His reference was to actress Jane Fonda, who visited North Vietnam during the war and posed for photographs in an anti-aircraft battery. “I am totally outraged by his hideous slight of those he should be honoring for their selfless devotion to this nation,” said Mr. Cadmus, who leads the 2.7 million-member, non-partisan group.
Vice President Dick Cheney: “For him to make those comparisons was one of the most egregious things I’d ever heard on the floor of the United States Senate.” The Vice President told Nashville’s “Steve Gill Mornings” radio show that the 520 detainees at Guantanamo are “very violent and evil people. … They’re out to kill Americans and if you put them back on the street, that’s exactly what they’ll do. All the hand-wringing that we’ve heard from Durbin and others strikes me as totally inappropriate.”
Asked by Mr. Gill why Democrats are largely silent, Mr. Cheney said, “I think they’re swallowing hard.”
The Washington Times quotes retired Navy Cmdr. Paul Galanti, a former prisoner of war, who has been inundated with correspondence after firing off a letter to Mr. Durbin that, in turn, got posted on bulletin boards from West Point to the Pentagon.
“I just got mad,” Cmdr. Galanti said in a telephone interview. “If [Mr. Durbin] wanted to state his case, he should have called [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld. Instead, he decided to make political hay, hitting the [U.S. military] when they’re down.”
The retired Navy commander wrote to the senator:
“As one who was held in a North Vietnamese prison for nearly seven years and whose definition of torture and bad treatment is somewhat at variance with yours, I deplore your senseless comments about alleged ‘barbaric treatment’ at our terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo.
“Your remarks comparing Guantanamo to the regimes of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are outrageous. I tried to think of why a rational human being could make such an outlandish statement, but I keep coming up short,” Cmdr. Galanti wrote, adding, “your moment of pique will be infinitely more damaging to members of our Armed Forces serving in harm’s way.”
He also drew Mr. Durbin’s attention to “al Jazeera’s joy at your comments.”
“You, sir, for having aided and abetted the enemy in time of war, have been relegated in my mind to the status of Jane Fonda and your colleague, John Kerry, as contemptible traitors.”