Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune carried the terrific column by John Kass: “On serious note, Gitmo tactics far from torture.” The column followed up on Kass’s Thursday column: “Guantanamo is no place for a pop princess.”
In the earlier column Kass had some fun with the use of the music of Christina Aguilera to induce cooperation from Guantanamo detainees. Kass thought that Aguilera’s music was insufficiently atrocious and offered his own suggestion. “[W]hat’s needed at Guantanamo is the Worst Song in the World, something so bad it would drive bin Laden to church, and not just so he could blow it up.” Kass nominated Vaughn Monroe’s “Ballerina” as the Worst Song in the World, and the Tribune thoughtfully posted an audio clip of the song next to Kass’s column. The Tribune has also posted its readers’ nominations for the “World’s Worst Songs.”
Kass’s column on Aguilera provoked the infantile leftists such as the Kos Kidz who confuse the interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo with “torture.” In the eyes of these folks, if you support the detention of the terrorists at Guantanamo and the efforts that our guys have undertaken to interrogate them, you support “torture.” The ability to differentiate between interrogation techniques appropriate for enemy combatants and “torture” has eluded Senator Durbin, whom the Kos Kidz have celebrated for the oration that made him al Jazeera’s most popular United States Senator.
In yesterday’s column Kass returned to the subject that he explored Thursday:
I’d like to thank all those who sent in their favorite songs to be offered as new Guantanamo musical interrogation tools, now to be referred to as “Interro-Tunes.”
According to my quick look at the Tribune Web site, the Interro-Tune leader appeared to be “Muskrat Love” by the Captain & Tennille.
But I remain loyal to “Ballerina,” and the chorus “Dance, ballerina, dance,” as the best musical breaker of terrorist will. Yet I also had hoped to explore the musical stylings of the noted Calypso singers the Rev. Louis Farrakhan and Harry “Shut your mouth, go away; Mama look a Boo-Boo” Belafonte.
Kass then proceeds to respond to the supporters of Turban Durbin and his friends among the Kos Kidz:
Still, some folks thought it was in poor taste, and I got letters warning of a letter-writing campaign. A colleague forwarded the following letter to me, representative of others I received.
“There is nothing funny about torture. Torture is what the bad guys do. Torture negates our common humanity. Torture is what the Nazis did. Torture is what Stalin did. Torture is what Saddam did. Why is the U.S. torturing prisoners?”
Yes, torture is not funny. But I don’t consider what is going on at Guantanamo worthy of the Hitler tag. Interestingly, the letter mirrors what Durbin recently said on the Senate floor. He complained that detainees were kept in chairs to soil themselves and subjected to “extremely loud rap music” while chained in a fetal position on the floor. Durbin said:
“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 the 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.”
“It is not too late,” Durbin said. “I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course.”
We’re at war, Senator. How can you possibly justify that statement?
And you know what? We have learned from history. The reason buildings at Guantanamo are full is because there are two big holes in the ground in New York.
Senator, weren’t you one of those legitimately complaining that U.S. intelligence dropped the ball and something had to be done so it wouldn’t happen again?
It is being done. Much of it isn’t polite or civilized and some of it upsets me, like the abuse of the Koran. Suspects have been pushed around, hurt, and enemies have been given propaganda fodder.
Clearly, Americans don’t like it when others get hurt. But Americans really don’t like it when Americans get hurt.
At any rate, this is not the kind of torture I’ve heard about. In World War II in Greece, my father was handed over to the Germans on the suspicion he aided downed British airmen. They beat him, day after day, making him dig his own grave. He played dumb to survive and it worked. An uncle was forced into a labor camp. The Nazis didn’t use Christina Aguilera music on him, though luckily, he too survived.
Sen. Durbin, in other places, suspected terrorists have their feet flayed with rods, their families raped; they’re force-fed a quart of olive oil, then tied, seated, to a block of ice. By your own words, Senator, Guantanamo isn’t remotely like that.
You don’t have to apologize to the Republicans in the White House. But Senator, you should apologize to the nation.
And if you don’t have the stomach for the work, please have the guts not to play partisan politics with what has to be done.
(Courtesy of RealClearPolitics.)
JOHN adds: If you’re the sort of person who enjoys contemplating whether Muskrat Love was or was not the worst song in the history of popular music–and who isn’t?–you really should read Dave Barry’s hilarious Book of Bad Songs.