The crying game

The Chicago Sun Times’s Lynn Sweet purports to get inside the deep thoughts and decision making of Dick Durbin in a column that reads like a cross between a press release and an outburst from the Krazy Kos Kidz: “Offhand Daley comment spurred Durbin turnaround.” Sweet advises, “For the record, Durbin never accused the military of the mistreatment at Guantanamo. Durbin said he did not know who to blame: the military, CIA or private contractors.” For the record, Lynn, the detention operation at Guantanamo is a military operation. The imputation of atrocities or torture to the operation bears rather closely on the discharge of their duty.
You see, Lynn, that’s why the Senator’s statement was such a big hit over at Aljazeera: “U.S. Senator stands by Nazi remark.” According to Aljazeera, “A US senator has refused to apologise for comparing the actions of US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazis.” Say what you will about your journalistic colleagues over at Aljazeera, Lynn, but they got the Senator’s point even though you may have missed it. And they also loved it when the Senator offered the defense of his initial statement: “This administration should apologise to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorising torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure.”
And Lynn, we appreciate your explanation of the difficulties created for Senator Durbin by Mayor Daley’s reference to Durbin’s statement as a disgrace: “Handling an attack from the White House, GOP senators and the rabid right wing was one thing for Durbin’s team. A slam by one of the nation’s most prominent Democrats — the mayor of the largest city in Durbin’s state — was another.” Lynn, I wonder if you’ve ever explained for your readers whom you consider “the rabid right wing.” Does that include the gentlemen such as Lt. Hegseth who took issue with the Senator’s statement based on their own knowledge and experience at Guantanamo? Does it include Senator Warner and Newt Gingrich? Does it include those of us generally thought of or referred to as “conservative” on the political spectrum?
And Lynn, you might want to take a closer look at the Senator’s “apology” to consider whether it is the kind of apology ordinary people make when they want to confess that they made an error and ask forgiveness, or whether it is the kind of “apology” politicians make when they want to stand on their words and put the mess they have made behind them. To get some insight on that score, Lynn, you might want to ask Senator Durbin whether he agrees with Mayor Daley that his statement on the Senate floor was a “disgrace.” A real reporter, even the Washington bureau chief of a major newspaper, might find the answer interesting, or think that her readers would.
And Lynn, when you attribute causal effect for Senator Durbin’s phony apology to Mayor Daley’s genuine indictment, you might want to introduce some evidence. I’ve read your article three times and I can’t find it.
Lynn, one more thought. I’m not sure whether you consider Hugh Hewitt a member of “the rabid right wing.” You probably do. But you might be able to learn something from his Daily Standard column this morning: “The Durbin effect.” You’ll see he pays a little closer attention to the words spoken by Senator Durbin than you do.


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