Friday, June 17, 2005

Public Opinion

I'm pleasantly surprised that Lt Gen James Conway and pentagon spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, might think that public opinion on the war in Iraq matters. Yesterday they appeared in a press conference describing the progress in Iraq. The DOD press release quotes:

Di Rita and Conway spoke about recent polls that show a drop-off of American support for operations in Iraq. "Obviously, the public support of these kinds of operations is critical," Di Rita said.
Angry, but not surprised, that Senator Warner (R-VA) and others think Senator Durbin's (D-IL)rhetoric about the torture of detainees at Guantanamo is more shocking than the torture itself. From the Washington Post:

During a speech Tuesday, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat quoted from an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.

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," Durbin said.

Edited 6/18/05 to add link to Durbin's full statement.

From the New York Times:

Leading Republicans demanded an apology from Senator Richard J. Durbin on Thursday, two days after he compared abusive treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to the war crimes of oppressive regimes like the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge.

Maggy just sent me the link to this story about a 16 year old girl detained by the FBI and eventually deported as a terrorist suspect. the first terror investigation in the United States known to involve minors, the case reveals how deeply concerned the government is that a teenager might become a terrorist, and the lengths to which federal agents will go if they get even a whiff of that possibility. And it has drawn widespread attention, stoking the debate over the right balance between government vigilance and the protection of individual freedoms.

...An F.B.I. agent, posing as a youth counselor, first confronted Tashnuba in her bedroom, going through her school papers and questioning everything from her views on jihad to her posterless walls, she said. Sent to a center for delinquents in Pennsylvania, Tashnuba said she was interrogated without a lawyer or parent present, about her beliefs and those of her friends, mainly American girls she had met at city mosques.

I guess you have to be grateful, on some level, that she wasn't sent to Guantanamo.

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