There has been lots of activity in the blog world lately about words thrown around regarding Senator Dick Durbin's (D-Ill.) remarks about the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
"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. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
Nashville Scene blog Pith in the Wind has highlighted some of the fallout comments from this remark, including Dick Cheney's remarks on a morning radio show and Fox News' Chris Wallace's remarks on yet another radio show.
Ah yes, lets all get sententious and holier than thou attitudes about Durbin's comparison. And in reply to Wallace's comments, I believe the concentration camps actually had toilets, so they wouldn't have had to defecate on themselves. But see, that is not the point. It is as if these people are simply weighing levels of evil, as if there is some sort of "human rights barometer" that tells us as long as we don't treat people as bad as these others did, we are ok. Unfortunately, thats not the case. America should be the beacon of human rights, of justice, of all that is good and right with the world. The treatment of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo shows the world just how evil Americans can be. And even if one should deem that this level of treatment isn't as bad as a gulag or a concentration camp, it is still wrong.
One of the main characters in Atlas Shrugged (ok, I know its Ayn Rand, but don't judge me on this, its a valid point here) says:
"If you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all."
I think U.S. politicians need to give some serious thought to that statement, and how it applies both to Americans and prisoners.