To the uninitiated, there is a misconception of the degree of difficulty involved in being a conservative talk show host, despite a fertile climate of Democratic inanity from which to draw inspiration (Howard Dean and Harry Reid immediately come to mind). Having been in radio, I appreciate fully how much hard work and dedication must be invested. As a chef friend of mine says, “Just because you have a bowl of big beautiful tomatoes, doesn’t mean you can make a great red sauce.” How right he is.
Beginning with allegations in Newsweek that Korans were being desecrated in G’itmo, the latest assault on President Bush (and America) from the left in the form of alleged mistreatment of enemy prisoners by the American military has come to a head. This week, in the wake of all this, legendary talker Rush Limbaugh has been particularly effective, arguably as good as he’s ever been. Like him or not, he is the most enigmatic and compelling raconteur on radio, and if you take him at his word, accepting his contention that he is correct better than 98% of the time, then this week, his batting average has surely been bumped up enough to flirt with perfection.
Limbaugh understands that the situation at Guantanamo Bay is not a political issue – nor should it be. It’s an American issue. He has been spot on.
Unfortunately, all hell has broken loose from the left. Apparently, it has now become accepted practice to not only openly criticize, accuse and condemn the United States military in a time of war, but to equate it with the most murderous regimes the world has ever known. Focus and concern from the blue wing rests not with the defeat and elimination of those who murdered three thousand innocents almost four years ago on American soil, but — astonishingly — with the treatment and so-called abuses of those enemy combatants whose purpose is to see the destruction of America. Such practices by the US military were detailed in Time’s story on the twentieth hijacker, Mohammed al Qahtani. Among the unspeakable: The horrific Christina Aguilera music torture technique, the terrifying standing-for-prolonged-periods torment, and the petrifying shaving-of-the-facial hair ordeal. (I don’t even want to get into the anguish of lowering the air conditioner in the middle of the tropics.)
Almost commonplace now are the tedious comparisons of Bush’s America to Hitler’s Germany, and more recently to Stalin’s gulags. The sheer stupidity of such comparisons should be obvious to even the modestly informed. Yet, right on cue, a new old voice has emerged, the latest unapologetic spokesperson for the ever-growing anti-American wing of the Democratic party – Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Predictably leafing through his Vietnam-era playbook, reflexively affording the enemy the benefit of the doubt, choosing to condemn the United States with the most outlandish, ill-informed, hateful ramblings imaginable, he has reached new lows. He’s made the anti-American campus-burning dope smoking rejects of the sixties seem like amateurs.
Of course, the issue at hand is not freedom of speech. It is about lending aid and comfort to those who are at war with us and wish us infinite harm.
Rush Limbaugh, to his great credit, hasn’t put up with this. On Wednesday’s show, he unremittingly condemned Durbin for his comments wherein the Senator enumerated so-called torture techniques employed by the Americans – including the playing of rap music, the fluctuating of enemy prisoner’s room temperatures, and (unbelievably) keeping prisoners in chains. In an historical context, one shudders to think of the unimaginable brutality that would have been inflicted on captured Nazis should they have been subjected to lethal doses of Bing Crosby during World War Two, or even the Andrews Sisters. (Perhaps the backs of the Japanese could have been broken without having to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Perhaps we just needed to tinker with the thermostat a bit.)
Durbin then concluded: “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.”
Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and the American military – a veritable fab four of despotism.
Well done, Mr. Durbin.
If this doesn’t qualify as aid and comfort to the enemy, what exactly does?
Meanwhile, Limbaugh was unforgiving. He angrily ripped into Durbin, saying, “We don’t deserve to win this war as long as we have people like Dick Durbin in the US Senate.”
He’s absolutely right.
“If we’re going to be led by such idiocy and such ignorance as this, we deserve to lose it, folks. There’s a price to pay for having this kind of thinking at the highest levels of government.”
He’s absolutely right.
“This is what you get when you have a political party that’s so obsessed with hatred for the sitting president that they’ll do anything they can to beat him … they’ll do anything to get their power back.”
He’s absolutely right.
Limbaugh’s website also offers Club G’itmo merchandise, including a t-shirt that reads, “Your tropical retreat from the stress of jihad” and “My Mullah went to Club G’itmo and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
Here, too, Limbaugh is absolutely right. The absurdity of all of this cannot be overstated.
Predictably, rather than be outraged at the accusations of torture being leveled at our military, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) chose to make Limbaugh’s “Club G’itmo” campaign the issue at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Meeting by saying, “This idea of changing the focus … seeming to argue (G’itmo) is more a Club Med than a prison. Let’s get real. These people have been locked up for three years, no end in sight, and no process to lead us out of there.”
Lest we forget, “these people,” as Senator Leahy refers to them, are our enemies – not rounded up from innocent summertime picnics, universities and private homes, but captured on the field of battle in the process of attempting to kill Americans. Indeed, most human beings have a better-than-reasonable idea of what constitutes genuine torture. Understanding the ravages the Nazis inflicted on human bodies is to understand torture. Knowing what really went on in the Soviet gulags under Stalin is to understand torture. Pol Pot, for the most part, didn’t even afford his victims torture. He simply eliminated them, about two million souls.
If the United States military can obtain critical intelligence from enemy combatants (which they have) by implementing techniques that most reasonably informed people would see as benign – such as blaring rap music or having someone withstand discomfort by standing for hours on end or even denying air conditioning (as opposed to something like, say, applying electrodes to human genitals) then what exactly is the problem? Doesn’t America benefit by not having to inflict on enemy combatants what most people would define as genuine torture? If, indeed, the enemy can be “broken” by such relatively innocuous methods as loud music, being chained up in fetal positions, having scantily-clad woman encroach on their personal space, and being forced to shiver in overly air conditioned rooms, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that every proponent of human rights, from whatever corner of the globe they come from, would be, at the very least, supporting our efforts? In other words, if the enemy feels tortured and compelled to relinquish vital information, even though it is clear by most reasonable standards that torture is not taking place, aren’t we actuality demonstrating for the world the civility of America and our dedication to human rights?
Let’s not forget, this is war, not a college campus. War is ugly. That’s why we try to avoid it at all costs.
When the rhetoric of America’s enemies becomes indistinguishable from that of a United States Senator, it is time for something to be done. The arena of public opinion must now exercise its power.
On Thursday’s program, Limbaugh made it clear that he had no desire to hear Senator Durbin apologize for his remarks, even after other pundits were outraged when the Senator steadfastly refused to retract his statements. Instead, Limbaugh called for Senator Durbin to resign in disgrace.
Again, Limbaugh is right.