I can understand the Democrats’ angst over enemy combatants being detained at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). Somewhere in the dark recesses of the Democrat mind, the thought no doubt exists that had they been free, there would have been more votes in their column.

But what Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., purposefully miss in their prevarications is what these detainees are and why they are at Gitmo in the first place.

The first detainees were al-Qaida and Taliban forces moved in January 2002 to Gitmo from near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, home of the prison riot that resulted in America’s first casualty of the war – CIA agent Johnny Michael Spann. (Does anyone believe Durbin in any way acknowledges Spann’s wife or three children with even a card on holidays or birthdays? I digress).

They are murderers and terrorists in the truest sense of these words. They are not freedom fighters; they are not honorable courageous men being held illegally. They are oppressors and killers who deprived men, women and children of the most basic rights and freedoms. They are also part and parcel of the evil that terrorized America and American interests at sea and internationally for eight documented years before their capture.

They are enemy combatants and, as such, under the laws and customs of war may be detained for the duration of an armed conflict. This includes a member, agent or associate of al-Qaida or the Taliban. (See Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, 37-38, 1942.)

“Enemy combatants” is a general category that subsumes two sub-categories: Lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants receive prisoner of war status and the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. Unlawful combatants do not receive POW status and do not receive [said] full protections …

The president has determined that al-Qaida and Taliban members are unlawful combatants because (among other reasons) they are members of a non state terrorist group that does not receive the protection of the Third Geneva Convention.

– Memorandum from William J. Haynes II, general counsel of the Department of Defense

In a word, the “Gitmo-ites” are not under sovereign flag or country. They are a marauding infestation whose sole purpose is to inflict pain, suffering and anarchy, combined with a visceral hatred of the United States.

Haynes points out that “presidents have detained enemy combatants in every major conflict in the Nation’s history, including … The Gulf, Vietnam and Korean Wars.”

Patrick Leahy can try to downplay Durbin’s remarks as being misquotes of the Wall Street Journal, but as Richard Nixon found out, White House and Capitol tape recorders don’t lie.

No one should be surprised or shocked by Durbin’s recent comments. They were baneful and morally opprobrious, but not out of character for him.

After all, it was Durbin who embarrassed and humiliated all concerned when he “Defamed America’s great Emancipator” at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, with a crude anti-Semitic joke. It was Durbin and “The Great Sot,” aka Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who pooled their limited integrities in “Memogate.”

No one can reasonably question Durbin’s proclivity to make a fool of himself and humiliate those around him, but prefabrications of how our brave men and women are treating terrorists at Guantanamo Bay is beneath contempt. His sensitivity and concern for the climatic inconvenience of enemy combatants (in an area where the average year round temperature is 80 degrees) far exceeds his concern for same pursuant to American and coalition forces serving in 111-degree average daily temperatures. And as always his absurd allegations against our troops and the president come from unnamed anonymous sources.

So a few observations for Durbin and the anonymous sources he says hello to every morning in the mirror: Prisoners who are freezing or suffering from heat exposure do not pull their hair out, but unstable psychotics do. If temperature extremes were as Durbin invented, why were not more prisoners and our troops affected on some level? Also, if the military aggressively prosecuted offending parties at Abu-Ghraib, why would offenses be ignored at Gitmo?

Another question would be: How many torture cells, gulags, etc. give out Qurans, have specially prepared food according to their religious practices and have picture compasses under their mattresses – so when the loud speakers call prayers five times a day, these directionally challenged genius’ know which way to turn to pray.

A final question would be: Why are Durbin and his kind always more willing to believe our enemies over us? Why in their eyes is the U.S. military always at fault? But then again, I answer my own question – enemies of the State always share values, if not goals, in common.

Durbin is without question a disgrace to America, but I’ll bet his brothers in Gitmo are glad he’s on their side.

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