Jonah Goldberg wonders why during the current hysteria over Guantanamo Bay, no one has brought up the names of Louis Pepe or Mamdouh Mahmud Salim:
Salim, a reputed top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high security federal jail in lower Manhattan. Pepe was a guard there. On November 1, 2000, Salim plunged a sharpened comb into Pepe’s left eye and three inches into his brain. Salim and a compatriot also beat Pepe savagely, in their effort to get the guard’s keys and orchestrate an escape for himself and two fellow terrorists awaiting trial. Believing Pepe was dead, the attackers used his own blood to paint a Christian cross on his torso. Pepe was an experienced correctional officer, a member of the elite MCC Enforcers Disturbance Control, and he weighed in at 300 pounds. He survived the attack with brain damage, crippling disabilities, and an unending stream of surgeries.
The reason Pepe and Salim are relevant should be obvious. There are good guys and bad guys in this story, and as much as it pains some to hear it, we are the good guys. We are not talking about confused teenagers caught up in events larger than themselves. We aren’t talking about mistaken identities. We’re talking about the cream of our enemy’s crop in the war on terror.
Maybe somebody should email that link to Dick Durbin’s office.
Update: Speaking of Durbin, Hugh Hewitt’s producer Duane Patterson writes:
From my recollection, the Jews in Nazi Germany were not at war with Hitler or the German government when the concentration camps started. The people killed in the Soviet gulags were not suicide-bombing insurgents. Pol Pot’s palaces of the skulls were not built with the skeletal remains of armed militias within his country. In northern Iraq, I don’t believe that the Kurds were even throwing rocks at Saddam Hussein’s military when they got gassed with chemical weapons.
These were all instances of genocide, where the leaders of each country mass murdered their own citizenry, sometimes in graphically cruel ways.
At Gitmo, with one or two exceptions of an American citizen renouncing their citizenship and going on the battlefield to fight against us, every detainee there is a foreign national, who was an armed enemy combatant, that was caught in the process of either shooting against our troops, or plotting to kill Americans here. So before you even get to what the proper definition of the treatment being applied at Guantanemo, the comparison of Durbin is sickingly inappropriate, and is rather disqualifying for a United States Senator, especially one in a position of party leadership that Durbin enjoys.
Now, regarding the treatment, being that these combatants were not caught in the United States, but rather on the battlefield, and being that they are not United States citizens, they do not enjoy the Constitutional rights that our citizens enjoy. There is international law to follow, and from what I’ve been able to discern, our conduct at Guantanemo, by and large, has stayed well within those limits. If a detainee is brought in, that is believed to be high up in the Al Qaeda heirarchy, that may have information as to how to locate Osama and shorten the duration of the war, I just don’t have a problem with a broken toe here, or a few nights of 30 minutes of sleep, followed by three hours of Barry Manilow records at 130 decibles, complete with strobe lights.
This isn’t the movies. Information gathering is a messy business sometimes. There is obviously a line to be drawn when it comes to treatment of detainees. And this is the other reason Durbin’s comparison is so despicable. Our soldiers are using methods and procedures to entice the flow of information that Erwin obviously objects to. But we’re not killing all of the detainees. In fact, we haven’t killed one that I’m aware of. That kind of defeats the purpose of intelligence gathering, does it not? How much intelligence gathering, using Durbin’s comparison again, did Hitler do in Nazi Germany? Was he using torture to gather enemy stronghold positions? What about the gulags? Were they being used as an information gathering vehicle? How much did Pol Pot learn after stacks and stacks of bodies built up?
The bottom line is there is no comparison between these very low points in world history, and what’s going on at Guantanemo. And those people who would try to make that comparison not only have no respect for the evil that did happen during those periods, but they cheapen the level of evil that occurred by making the comparison. Genocidal maniacs should remain examples of ultimate evil, not a convenient reference point to make whatever cause of the day important.
I wonder how many Jewish-Americans, many of whom still vote Democratic, appreciate the second-most senior Democrat in the United States Senate? Dick Durbin is a man who apparently sees no difference between any of the six million unarmed, innocent, and peaceful Jews that were slaughtered in Nazi Germany, and any of the armed jihadists that were captured during open warfare, willing to fight to the death in support of a leader who has declared war on this country, largely because of our country’s long history of friendship and support with the state of Israel. It’s so offensive on so many levels, that it literally boggles the mind that the Democrats have any support from the Jewish community anymore. The Democratic leadership has become so embittered towards George W. Bush that they have let their anger ruin the historic, moral high-ground their party enjoyed after World War II.
With regard to Guantanemo, it’s high time we as a nation realize the world is not a perfect place, and as is sometimes necessary with law enforcement, espionage or the military, there are times when you have to get your fingernails dirty, in order to serve the public good. There are mechanisms in place to make sure Gitmo doesn’t get out of line. But outside of that, let them do their job.