When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here — I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:
"On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold... On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor."
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.
This is the statement that Senator Durbin of Illinois made recently on the floor. The full statement is here (pdf).
Look at what the Senator said. He did NOT say that our guards are Nazis or Stalinists. He did NOT say that Gitmo is a death camp. He said that if you read the account of the torture that prisoners are being put through at Gitmo without knowing who was committing it, or where it was taking place, you would not believe that Americans had done it. This is because such torture is so completely unAmerican that it is nearly unthinkable, and yet IT IS HAPPENING. And worst of all, AMERICANS ARE COMMITTING THIS TORTURE.
Think about it. People are being tortured in our name. In your name. In my name. People are being tortured and the current government not only isn't condemning it, they condone it and are even making excuses for it. We, as Americans, should not be allowing this to happen.
Senator Durbin was speaking out of pure disbelief and disgust, and if you aren't just as disgusted and angry as Durbin is that these acts are being committed in your name, I find it hard to accept that you were raised in the same free country that I was raised in.
Torture is wrong. If you believe that torture is wrong, then stand with Senator Durbin. Call your senators and representative and let them know that Senator Durbin speaks for you, that you are every bit as disgusted and horrified at the torture being committed as he is. I just did. And I wrote to Durbin to let him know that I fully support his statement.
If you think that torture is good, then I pray that you never fall into the hands of someone who thinks the same way you do, because I don't wish such a fate even on people who deserve it.
There is no excuse for torture. It does not yield reliable results. It makes people resent the torturers even more, leading to more terrorists. It creates a culture of fear and hate. It is demeaning to both the tortured and the torturers. Torture is wrong.
I stand with Senator Durbin.