View Full Version : What? What'd I Say? I Mean, Like... What?

06-20-05, 05:41 PM
IOWAHAWK: What? What'd I Say? I Mean, Like... What?
iowahawk blog | 6/20/05
David Burge

Iowahawk Special Guest Commentary
Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)

Okay, seriously, so help me out here.

So I get to the office this morning, pour myself a cup of coffee, and walk into the regular 8:30 staff meeting to go over the morning legislative agenda; you know, same ol'-same ol'. Anyway, I walk into the room and it's like a freaking funeral in there -- I mean, dead silent. No chatter about the weekend senate softball league games (my guys doubled up Schumer's staff 6-3, BTW), no small talk, nothing.

"Kinda quiet in here this morning," I chuckled, trying to break the ice. Well geez, I swear you'd have thought I had just took a dump on the table. The whole staff started staring down at their shoelaces. Even Jason, the annoying suckup intern from Kankakee who's always reminding me about his law school recommendation letter.

"Okay, who died?" I ask.

Two more minutes of silence. Finally my senior communications aide, Nancy Piotrowski, pipes up, real sheepish-like: "Senator, I think you should see your email inbox."

Okay, I think, some rightwing Dupage County crank sent me a nasty-gram; big whoop. Then I see it. Holy mother of Elvis on a pogo stick, I look at the subject lines and it's like an avalanche of all hatemail -- 'Disgusting,' 'Obscene,' 'Disgraceful,' 'Sick to My Stomach,' blah blah blah. Phone logs and mail, same weird thing.

So obviously, at this point, I'm completely scratching my head, and Nancy tells me it has something to do with my Senate remarks about Gitmo last week. And I'm like, "really? ... really?"

So, okay, I'm replaying this whole thing in my head, and going back over the transcripts, and I'm still like, what exactly am I missing here? I mean, seriously, can we just go back and look at this logically? According to Nancy, the big "broughaha" is supposedly about these parts of my statements:

[From FBI 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.

Now, if anybody can tell me what in the world is the least bit controversial or offensive about any of that, I would really appreciate being let in on the big freakin' secret. I mean, talk about a "bad hair day"!I mean for cripes sakes, this chained guy had freaking pooped on himself! Good lord, can you imagine the discomfort and embarrassment? Not to mention the smell? Heh-looo, people! Everybody who wants to be snatched from a holy battlefield in your home country, taken to a prison with messed up air conditioning, forced to listen to rap music, and end up pooping your trousers -- PLEASE RAISE YOUR HAND.

Chirp chirp chirp.

Yeah, I didn't think so.

And the Nazi/Gulag/Pol Pot thing? Okay, I admit maybe that was a bit over the top, but really when you think about it, you have to admit there was probably a lot of trouser-soilings going on in the death camps too, and if you think that this poor Guantanamo guy was any less embarrassed because his guards were American soldiers and not the Khmer Rouge, well, seig heil, Captain Jesusland von Patriot.

I mean, I'm honestly sitting here thinking is it just me? I tried calling a couple of Senate colleagues this morning, but everybody seems to be out for some reason. I did get a voice mail from Howard Dean, and he said to let it go, that it was probably a prank from from the rightwing blog/radio attack machine. Well, duhhhhh, Howard. But a lot of the emails were coming from .mil addresses and a few from people who sent me donations last election cycle, and I'm like, WTF?

Really, if you have any insight here, I'm all ears, because I'm just having a hard time getting it, whatever "it" is. And if you're one of my Democratic Senate colleagues, please feel free to call my cell directly, I'll be around all week. I left the number on your answering machine.