Dick Durbin, a Democrat Senator from Illinois, has compared the prisoner-of-war conditions at Guantanamo to Pol Pot’s murder of about 1.5 million Cambodians, Adolf Hitler’s genocidal madness that left 9 million dead throughout Europe, and Stalin’s Gulag where about 20 million met their death in order to bring about a more equitable society. These were not enemy combatants hell-bent on destroying Americans and America. They were victims of pure evil. Senator Durbin believes that it is fair to compare the isolation and harassment of a few detainees being held at Guantanamo with these genocidal murderers whose names engender immediate revulsion. As prisoners of war, these terrorists caught on the battlefield in Afghanistan, can be held indefinitely. Prisoners of war during World War II weren’t given access to attorneys. Civil trials weren’t held. Because they were combatants, they were held, in most cases, until the war was over. Such is the nature of war.
It’s hard for me to believe that a Senator of Mr. Durbin’s obvious intelligence could make such a public relations blunder, but this seems to be the nature of politics today. He must have just finished watching a rerun of Hogan’s Heroes when he called on his research staff to locate the FBI file that describes the mistreatment of a few detainees. For liberals, prisoner of war camps should be run by the likes of Colonel Klink, with the barracks under the watchful eye of Sergeant Schultz. POWs should have unescorted access to the commandant’s office anytime of the day or night and given tools to plant a garden
Hogan’s Heroes (1965–1971) was a multi-season popular TV spoof of Stalag 17 (1953), an Academy Award winning movie which starred William Holden (Best Actor), Otto Preminger, Neville Brand, and Peter Graves. Stalag 17, even with its scenes of sleep deprivation and the killing of a few escapees, didn’t tell the true story of what happened in German POW camps. Sleep deprivation was the least of it. The POWs in Stalag 17 looked well fed and seemed to be afforded basic humanitarian treatment. Hogan’s Heroes trivialized camp conditions and made the Nazis look like buffoons. The gas chambers and ovens of Hitler’s holocaust were nowhere mentioned. Of course, the show was a comedy. The protests from POW’s who survived the German camps protested the TV series from the beginning. The real story of Nazi POW atrocities was not being told. Starvation, deprivation, and abuse were common.
Senator Durbin has his priorities out of whack. Why isn’t he reminding the world what followers of Osama Bin Laden did on September 11, 2001? It might be helpful if we saw the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers. A few pictures of people jumping to their deaths from open windows might help to refresh our memories what we are fighting for. Why doesn’t Senator Durbin present a list of the more than 3000 victims and their families who lost their lives and loved ones on that fateful day? Instead, he stands in the well of the Senate and pummels American soldiers who are trying to keep us safe. They know that the Muslim extremists they are guarding want us dead.
I feel a lot safer knowing that Sergeant Shultz is not guarding the POWs at Guantanamo.