June 21, 2005

Crying??!!!

Durbin apologizing. I saw this on TV and found it ... icky. What are you really crying about, Dick? Your own miserable little career?

UPDATE: A reader writes:
Durbin is of Lithuanian descent. I don't know whether he's first generation ... or whether his grandparents arrived during the World War I wave. Durbin spent great energy courting the Lithuanian community in Chicago. Many Lithuanians fell under his spell and, for the first time, voted Democratic (those who emigrated in the late 1940s and early 1950s often voted Republican because they perceived that party as more anti-Communist).

I suspect Durbin's comparison of Gitmo to the Gulag and Concentration Camps tastes particularly sour to this community, which was pinched on one side by the Russians and on the other by the Germans. My dad--who rushed to Kroch's & Brentano's in Chicago when the first bootleg Russian copies of The Gulag Archipelago became available in this country--must have rolled over in his grave. My mother, whose best friend's husband froze to death during a seventeen-year stint in Siberia, is still spitting.

62 comments:

mcg said...

"icky". Good word.

Gerry said...

He was crying, over you...

Crying over you...

Actually, politics is hardball. There's no crying in baseball!

Hm. In any case, while I would love to continue to hammer on Durbin for his asinine comments, I also think the right thing to do when someone apologizes (and not just says "I'm sorry you misunderstood") is to accept it.

Besides, the Dems are still infected with Mad How disease. They'll keep feeding off of the echo chamber of their core, and we'll be back to the same place over some other dumbass comment they'll make.

It's like they looked at the Wellstone Memorial, decided "that was great", and have tried to live it every day.

Ann Althouse said...

"No crying in baseball" -- hey, I'm watching the AFI show, so that really fits!

Goesh said...

I cried out of shame and feeling dirty and degraded when they drug Fritz Mondale out of the morgue and tried to run him.

Richard said...

Voinovich too cried inappropriately recently, you'll recall. Seems to me either the Senate is full of emotional depressants or they think tears resonate with the voters. If tears do appeal to voters, just think how lucky to be a Senator with a bona fide clinical depression. For once in your life you could go around being real for a change and get credit for it. Almost enough to cheer a person up, I'd think.

Andrew Shimmin said...

It's always icky when Durbin speaks on the Senate floor. He's addresses the camera, directly. Every one else is content to read their speeches without looking up. It feels like he's trying to steal my soul through C-Span. . .

Ann Althouse said...

Andrew: Yes, I noticed that. He was supplicating strangely.

dax said...

Is this the Senate or Oprah?
I find it insulting that these guys believe that just saying "I'm sorry" and getting misty-eyed will erase the past.
Durbin meant every word of his statement about the troops just like Dean believes that the Republican party is all white, rich, middle-age guys, and Hillary believes in nothing but Rightwing conspiracies.

Pogo said...

Non-apologies like Durbin's signal a desire to have your cake and eat it, too. For the left, he's said the magic words about the US military (Nazi's, Gulag, and even Pol Pot). And then he faux-apologizes that you stupidly took offense when his 'true feelings' were elsewhere. The words get to stay, not disavowed, just topped with a Post-It note that says "this is not meant to offend".

Whatever happened to the adults in the US? I seem to recall my parent's era, when an apology meant "I did it, and I was wrong", and tears from a guy meant "I feel horrible about it". Where'd they all go?

Durbin's words were mere ritual, it seems, from the postmodern script. All style, no substance, all meant at counting coup.
When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone," it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

L. Ron Halfelven said...

If Durbin had been younger when the Internet came along he would have been one of those guys who posts insulting comments with a smiley-face emoticon at the end to show that you're not allowed to take offense.

Freeman Hunt said...

Durbin's crying reminded me of the way that small children cry when they get into trouble.

knoxgirl said...

I don't know which is grosser: the possibility that he was acting, or the possibility that he wasn't.

Either way, his "apology" nicely encapsulates everything that's repulsive about politicians--perhaps especially congressmen.

Kathleen B. said...

I can't believe that all of these commenters (and you Prof. Althouse) could read or hear the descriptions of treatment of prisoners read by Sen. Durbin and think that it was a description of US acts. Sorry I have a little bit higher standards for my country and my military.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

We can't read Durbin's mind, Kathleen. Were we supposed to understand that he was really talking about Belgian acts? (All the hysterical comparisons he made were to the actions of other nation-states.)

Dave said...

Durbin's a dirtbag.

Simon Kenton said...

The standard for self and kids has been that you don't apologize unless you intend to make a real effort to change future conduct.

By this standard, Durbin will fail soon. He never intended to change thought or behavior, only to grease himself morally so as to slither through a narrow place.

It's an interesting modernism how much value is placed on apologies. This is a real boon to encrusted, cynical vested interests. For instance, when the feminists demanded that the University of Colorado apologize for its treatment of soi-disant rape victims (I'm not trying to be snotty here; even a female district attorney would not bring charges), the University apologized. It's a wonderful thing. Two or three words, and you are miraculously absolved of doing anything, don't have to pay anything, don't go to court, and get some good press.

I think it's backscratching. Let me off with an apology and I'll let you off in return and we both don't have to do anything. Big with bureaucrats and some academics, too; I'll maintain silence about your crappy policies or scholarship if you won't expose mine. Nobody wants to be found out. This kind of oleaginous 'repentence' is a growth industry for the '00s.

I spoke at the sentencing hearing of a young man (felony menacing, ADW; a sort of a drive-by incident). EVERY defendant that morning announced that they were heartily sorry, and had Found Jesus in the slammer. And looked expectantly at the judge. It was that expectant look that revealed they were part of the larger culture: "I've SAID I'm sorry. What more can you want? What would be the purpose of punishing me, now I've said the magic words? All it would do is barbarize you. I'm rehabilitated."

He sent them up. They looked aggreived.

jeff said...

Anybody notice that other than the TV camera (which may have been a C-Span remote for all I know), there wasn't anyone else in the room when he made his "apology?"

Not Happy said...

Excuse me, folks, but did you people bother to read what Durbin actually said? Really, given the facts about the soldiers' behavior, if you were asked if you thought that the people engaging in it were U.S. troops or Nazis, what would you say?

What is disgusting is that Durbin caved in to the demands for an apology for his simple factual remarks. What is disgusting is how happily you right-wing idiots wallow in self-righteous indignation. You refuse to look the facts in the face and resort to puerile name-calling. This blog has devolved to the moronic level of FreeRepublic.

Enjoy your own unpleasant company.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

A glimpse of your future, Mr. Happy. (Link via Captain Ed.)

Joseph Angier said...

"Not Happy" is way over-heated, but is making a valid point that's been lost. Durbin's original statement was not that simple-minded "Gitmo = gulag" nonsense. He cited a specific FBI report describing specific actions used by some American soldiers against their prisoners ... then asked whether those methods might be more likely used by totalitarian regimes, rather than the actions of an Army that was presumably sent to overthrow a brutal dictatorship. Like most of you, I'm sick of glib Nazi/Hitler comparisons, and I wish that Durbin had avoided them. But you seem to be implying that even questioning our Army's interrogation methods makes you miserable, despicable, and guilty of spinning ancestors in their graves.
PS --- Did not see "the crying scene," and probably won't. I hate seeing tears on camera.

Not Happy said...

What wit! Why don't you try replying to the substance of my remarks? Why don't you try to refute what I said? Because you can't, idiot.

Not Happy said...

My comments were not overheated, they were quite appropriate given how fraudulent this attack on Durbin is. I don't see how the point I made could've gotten lost. My post was quite brief and devoid of fluff. If people fail to get the point it is because they refuse to do so.

Ann Althouse said...

Kathleen: I've never written anything about the substance of Durbin's original comment, just that he was creepy and pathetic in his apology. I think it's important to avoid treating prisoners abusively, but those who have a motive to score political points by criticizing our treatment of prisoners have an obligation to criticize competely. That there is a basis for criticism doesn't mean you can put all other concerns aside and swing freely. Durbin made a miserable mush out of his attempt at criticism, and it only empowered the other side to make it all about him. I'm disgusted by his incompetence. He should go home and cry about that in private, not on TV.

Not Happy said...

One last word... Zimsrek, where do you get off comparing me to that person whose obituary you linked to, or comparing me to anyone else for that matter? What do you know about me? I make a couple remarks about a very specific issue and you feel that you can pigeon-hole me as being whatever it is that you expect anyone who doesn't accept your political dogma to be. In the future, try looking the facts in the face and engaging in intelligent debate, if you're capable of it.

Joseph Angier said...

To "Not Happy": I was agreeing with you, and "the point that got lost" was the point that you brought up: that Durbin was asking a valid question about the US Army's interrogation methods, and that those who refused to address those concerns glommed on to his Nazi/Pol Pot references.

R C Dean said...

Really, given the facts about the soldiers' behavior, if you were asked if you thought that the people engaging in it were U.S. troops or Nazis, what would you say?

Since many of the unique indicators of Soviet or Nazi behavior (such as shoveling people into ovens, gassing them by the tens of thousands, machine gunning them into trenches, working them to death under brutal conditions, or just all around killing them) are missing from any description of what goes on, or even is alleged, at Gitmo -

I have to say that those descriptions do not bring Soviets or Nazis to mind.

Teresa said...

Durbin was reading an email... NOT a report... an email from an FBI agent. We have no idea when this was written, who wrote it, or even its veracity.

Talk about not addressing the matter at hand. Durbin says... if I read this to you what would you think? My first thought is - have you verified it? Is it true? When did it occur? Have any steps been taken since the email was sent? You know... procedure.

According to the people at Gitmo - Mr. Durbin has not been there - has not been in contact with them - has not tried to find out anything else about the situation. So, he fails on all counts. And crying just makes it worse.

reliapundit said...

I watched (on C-SPAN) Icky-Dicky Durbin apologize on the Senate floor for comparing GITMO to NAZI, Soviet and POL POT death camps.

He WAS choked up - TRULY NEAR TEARS (like Voinovich!), and I think he understands he crossed the line, and has learned his lesson. GOOD.

Now he must RESIGN FROM LEADERSHIP.

After all, Trent Lott APOLOGIZED FOUR TIMES, AND THEN STILL HAD TO RESIGN AS LEADER.

If Icky-Dicky Durbin fails to resign, it tarnishes the entire Democrat Party.

That the Dems are putting no pressure on Icky-Dicky Durbin says EVERYTHING you need to know about the dems: they are beholden to their loony Left base (which believes Icky-Dicky Durbin's comments about Gitmo were ok); and the Dems are spineless.

BTW: I have been a registered Dem since 1974, but that will change before the next election. AND: I voted for BUSH in the last election!

Open minded said...

Let's face it Not Happy is Not Happy. But then again if you were an idiot would you be happy? Durbin's an idiot, did he look happy?

Steve White said...

Not happy wrote: Excuse me, folks, but did you people bother to read what Durbin actually said? Really, given the facts about the soldiers' behavior, if you were asked if you thought that the people engaging in it were U.S. troops or Nazis, what would you say?

Given the facts? The facts about Gitmo are that 1) the Koran occasionally was mishandled accidently, 2) once in a great while it was mishandled intentionally, 3) on occasion we've pressured inmates to talk by using techniques that can be considered coercive but not torture, and 4) the inmates at Gitmo live and are treated far better than inmates in 99% of the world's prisons.

Remember who gave them their Korans in the first place? We did.

Number of deaths in the Gulag --> 15 million.

Number of deaths at Gimo --> zero.

Our troops have not behaved as Nazis. They have not treated Gitmo inmates as if they were in a gulag. They have not behaved as Pol Pot.

Mr. Durbin suggested otherwise. That's why he's wrong, that's why he has to apologize.

Sandra C. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve White said...

Joseph Angier wrote: ... Durbin was asking a valid question about the US Army's interrogation methods, and that those who refused to address those concerns glommed on to his Nazi/Pol Pot references.

We didn't "glom" on to them, they were right out in the open. They were a prominent part of what he said. It was hard to miss.

The Army's interrogation methods are a fair subject for commentary, critique and debate. One can fairly ask if playing bad, loud music, or making an inmate stand in a given position for hours, is proper. That's a fair question.

Shouting that doing such things makes one similar to a Nazi, to a Pol Pot goon, or a trusted gulag prison guard is not just improper, but way out of bounds.

I have a friend who survived nine years in a Soviet 'corrective-labor' camp. He also survived several years in an East German prison. He knows the difference. Too bad Sen. Durbin doesn't.

Jon Cohen said...

Durbin was not being called to apologize for overheated rhetoric, that much is expected. What is an outrage is that he gave propoganda ammunition to our enemies while our soldiers are dying everyday. How many little madrassa tykes have now been told about how the American soldiers have been equated to Nazis or Soviets by one of their own Senators?

Durbin's puny little attempt at publicity was at the cost of establishing that turning off the AC is torture, while at the same time it's summer in Iraq and our soldiers are putting up with vastly worse conditions in the field. The results of the interogations are vital for saving the lives of our soldiers and successfully completing their mission.

Ace said...

"not happy" said:
"Really, given the facts about the soldiers' behavior, if you were asked if you thought that the people engaging in it were U.S. troops or Nazis, what would you say?"

---I'd say, that someone being cold or pulling their own hair out (even if true) would have not been possible by the Nazi's, Pol Pot, or at the Gulags as there would have been no "report" and the said subject would be dead. This isn't a difficult concept to grasp. Gitmo doesn't = gulag. There is no torture, there are no deaths.

Electronic Bubba said...

'at durbins feller 'minds me of floyd dobbins, whut got sent to the p-farm fer getin to frenly with his nabors chikens!

Freeman Hunt said...

Too much air conditioning, no air conditioning, having to sit in the same position for hours, having to stand for a long time, pouring water on people's heads. . .

Uh, no. This in no way reminds me of Nazi death camps or Soviet gulags.

It does remind me of long family road trips taken when I was a kid though.

AJ Lynch said...

Re "Not Happy- that is an accurate and appropriate name for the liberal Dems. They are uterly humorless and strident. I didn't see Durbin bawling but this insincere apology business has to stop. The American people are too smart to buy it.

michael a litscher said...

Those who don't study history are doomed to misrepresent it.

michael a litscher said...

It does remind me of long family road trips taken when I was a kid though.

Add in loud music and inadequate toilet facilities, and you could compare it to an evening at a night club.

mcSey said...

'Cause you know... being a Representative and then Senator is such a pathetic career as opposed to say pundit and blogger.

Old Dad said...

Ann, please show some cultural sensitivity. I, too, am of Lithuanian descent, and Lithuanians are never "icky." There are some really wonderful Lithuanian adjectives that are much more appropriate, but also not printable.

Let's just say that Senator Durbin's performance was multiculturally offensive, even to the French.

M said...

i've about had it with the legislature. who are these guys? bunch of losers if you ask me.

Parker said...

Ironically, Durbin's comments are likely to cause the deaths of more people than the treatment of the Gitmo prisoners have done.

Specifically, the wrong people. Us.

anonymous said...

Oh Poor Not Happy... so unhappy is she/he... about cruel Amerika's treatment of fanatic killers. Boo hoo!

But seriously, Not Happy is apparently some cloistered pointed-headed handwringer who's never studied history in depth, nor seriously examined what conditions are in the rest of the world prisons, and has no grasp of proper context and comparison.

Interrogation need not be free from pain, and can be downright unpleasant. For those who love to throw international feelings and international law in bin, the ICJ, expressly said so in a decision years ago dealing with IRA terrorists in British custody. They found no torture in very circumstance similar to that depicted in Gitmo.

Robert said...

Trying to be positive about the current situation of the Democrats -- including the angst of people like Not Happy -- I have drafted a "Contract with America" for them that might convey their sensitivities more artfully than Durbin, Dean et all have been able to: http://www.instapunk.com/archives/InstaPunkArchiveV2.php3?a=562

David said...

I want to know when blubbering over just about anything became politically okay. When I was a kid politicians only cried at funerals and memorials. I want to know the SPOT that this all changed and who is responsible. (My own version of a spot resolution). By the by, it is appropriate to discuss whether our interrogation methods are correct. I am not uncomfortable with the methods I have seen described, I mean its not like they are getting 24 hours of "Dancing Queen".

BigDirigible said...

Durb's performance sounds like it made for a real gala occasion. I'm sorry I missed it.

M. Simon said...

Depression is no laughing matter.

It is a good reason to take drugs.

Lithium any one?

Freeman Hunt said...

Gee, the detainees will have great stories when they eventually do leave.

"It was back in oh-five, and the infidels had me locked up in Cuba. Those infidels were some hard-assed sons of bitches. I remember one of them, particularly cruel. He had little eyes and a tight smile. He had no mercy, this guy. He used to turn up the air conditioning--you could hear the screams for hours. I remember him taking away a man in another cell. The man was returned several hours later. His hair was wet. He didn't have to tell us. We all knew what they did in "the room." If you went back there, you knew what you were in for. These infidels would pour water on your head. No remorse, no sliver of humanity. They'd just do it. I still have nightmares."

Jason Coleman said...

When I saw Durbins first attempt at an "apology" the only thing that came to mind was:

"Well, that depends on what your definition of IS is."

When I viewed the second "apology" I couldn't help but think what was really going through his mind was:

"Well, I couldn't get out of it the first time with wordplay, so I'll try crying for the cameras and looking very sorry about it. But nevertheless I meant every word of it."

The guy's playing the Democrats standard game now, he's getting pats on the back and comparing our troops and America in General to Soviets, Nazis and the KR has elevated him to the top slots of the Democrat party.

The guys introducing Howard Dean tonight, I'm sure in the back rooms and echo chambers of the party, he's the new golden boy, promised great Democrat wealth and prestige for the way he's successfully slandered this nation.

--Jason

Beldar said...

Watching the replay of Durbin choking up, I'm persuaded that he was, at that moment, feeling some powerful and genuine emotion.

That it may have been powerful and subjectively genuine in his own heart and mind, however, doesn't mean that the feeling corresponded with the words he was mouthing.

My hunch is that Prof. Althouse's pithy and satiric suggestion is actually at least on the right track. No, Sen. Durbin almost certainly doesn't think of himself as having a "miserable little career." But it's easy to imagine him, or any other moderately competent hard-left actor or politician, tearing up over just how doggone unfair it is that he — a paragon of virtue and reason — should have to mouth apologetic words (when, after all, Bush is Hitler, etc.)

A calculating actor or pol might quickly conclude that summoning up some (misdirected and unjustified) emotion will add to the emotional impact of what he's saying. And it's far preferable to actually saying "I screwed up very, very badly." ("Poor choice of words" [previous text, and continuing subtext: "which you morons misinterpreted"] is the closest that Sen. Durbin has yet come to that.)

Ann Althouse said...

Beldar: "miserable" is more what I think of his career. He's feeling sorry for himself and cares about his career -- the thing I call miserable. He's sad that things aren't going well for him when he imagined that his bold words would advance his career. What I find so disgusting is that he's so obviously crying -- crying! -- for himself.

Will Allen said...

Disregarding all the subsequent obfuscation, what Durbin said was this: that an account of a prisoner being chained to the floor for 24 hours, in very hot or very cold rooms, sometimes urinating or defecating on themsleves, brought to mind Nazism, the gulags, or Pol Pot. One can only make this statement if one is a dishonest twit, or a ignorant twit, regarding Nazism, the gulags, or Pol Pot. Durbin is a U.S. Senator, so it is quite likely that he both kinds of twit.

Also, lest I be accused of apologizing for the mistreatment of prisoners (although I'd have to know a lot more before drawing any conclusions. For instance, prisoners have been known to fling feces and urine at guards in many places of incarceration. Chaining such a prisoner to the floor, in an effort to modify behavior that threatened the health of others, would be perfectly reasonable), let it be noted that one can denounce activities at Guantanamo without idiotically invoking Nazis, the Gulag, or Pol Pot. That is , it can be done if one isn't the particular sort of dolt known as Senator Dick Durbin.

Doug said...

Kathleen B.: Monster that I must be, I'm going to declare outright that when it comes to interrogation of people thought to be withholding information on terrorism directed against us, my "high standards for my country and my military" pertain to nothing other than effect, effect, and effect. In the extreme case of terrorists capable of the sort of feats we saw on 9/11, I don't think there's any natural or divine support for the decent limits we set for ourselves in ordinary, civil life. It seems to be completely fortuitous that on 9/11 the jets weren't all concentrated on the White House and the Capitol, and that they weren't brought crashing down during a State of the Union address. There are mistakes one can only make once, and sleepwalking into 9/11 could have been our one, deadly mistake. I can't take our random, ridiculous reprieve from the destruction of our government and way of life as anything other than an opportunity to take lawlessly effective steps to make sure our enemies don't have another chance. Torturing terrorists is one of those steps, and I'm just sorry that we seem not to be very good at it. I blush to say this on the Althouse blog, but your mincing, flouncing moralism is one of the reasons I've come to doubt the wisdom of our indiscriminate "women's suffrage."

Ged of Earthsea said...

Cognitive dissonance hurts.

michael a litscher said...

I was born in 1963, so I was too young to appreciate America's culture war during the Vietnam War.

Sure, I've seen video of hippies burning draft cards, read about the bombing of Sterling Hall, Mao's little red book, the SDS, the Weathermen, Jane Fonda, "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh is going to win!", etc..

However, never in my wildest nightmares could I have imagined that these were the acts of anything but the very thin fringe of a very minor minority which had, in a time of war, loudly and violently taken the side of our enemies.

That is, until 9/11. The long, sad parade of nutcases – and politicians! - from the near-left to the far-left who have demonstrated, beyond any shadow of doubt, where their sympathies and loyalties lie, is astonishing.

Kathleen B. said...

nothing makes me doubt the legitimacy of a democracy more than reading comments like your Doug. But after a deep breath, it is nice to know that you only get one vote, the same as mine. Happily for the rest of my life your vote won't be counting.

Terrorists are surely destroying America's way of life right now, and it is traitors like you Doug who are helping them. and I am happy to be going down as one who is saying that America is better than this, and America is better than you Doug.

michael a litscher said...

Kathleen B.> nothing makes me doubt the legitimacy of a democracy more than reading comments like your Doug.

So, to improve your faith in the legitimacy of our democracy, we should, what, exactly?

1) Filter out Doug's opinions, and anyone else who has similar opinions?

2) Outlaw opinions, such as Doug's?

3) Doug should be tried at the Hauge for thought-crimes? Perhaps sentenced re-education in room 101 at the Ministry of Love?

Personally, Doug's - and your - ability to freely express your opinions only reenforces my faith in our democracy, but that's just me.

Daddy Warbucks said...

Perhaps as a law professor, Ann can answer this one for me.

A number of folks posting comments here seem to think that the prisoners being held in Gitmo are terrorists or are likely terrorists determined to attack America. I think that there is probably some percentage of prisoners that are. However, there have also been reports that a number of the prisoners are there because they were "turned in" by their neighbors, or some other person who didn't want them around Kabul or Tora Bora or wherever, for the handsome bounty being offered by the U.S. for all "terrorists". There have been groups of prisoners who have been released by the military and repatriated. Either we are expressing a death wish by releasing those prisoners, or they were truly innocent and/or posed no threat.

My question to Ann is this: If the prisoners in Gitmo are truly dangerous, and we know them to be dangerous, and we have set up tribunals with procedural and evidentiary rules that no U.S. court would ever uphold under our notions of due process, why haven't any of these people been convicted by the tribunals after years of detention?

Ann Althouse said...

Daddy Warbuck: I believe the tribunals are designed to determine whether they are properly classified as "enemy combattants," which then justifies holding them for the duration of the conflict.

Daddy Warbucks said...

If that's the case, how many "enemy combatants" (as determined by the tribunals) are there? I can't seem to find the "conviction" statistics anywhere.

If memory serves, the petitioners in Rasul v. Bush had been held for several years "without access to a tribunal." Shouldn't this process of determining who is and who isn't an enemy combatant be a relatively quick and easy one for the government given the rules we have set up down there?

It seems to me that if we had determined that all or at least some or maybe even a handful of the Gitmo prisoners were enemy combatants, we could save a lot of this angst over their treatment. Then we wouldn't have to worry about whether the music is too loud for them and we could serve them one kind of fruit rather than two and completely cut off their rice pilaf which is probably more than these likely almost probably certain terrorist killers deserve.

Then again, if we can't figure out whther these people are enemy combatants after years of detention using questionable interrogation methods and under completely lopsided tribunal rules, and we keep "accidently urinating" on their prayer books, then maybe we need to re-think whether the resulting PR is really helping us win the war on terror.

As a former student of yours, I am wondering what do you think?

Kathleen B. said...

michael a litscher: sorry you didn't understand what I was saying.

I would die to defend Doug's right to vote. Too bad he wouldn't return the favor.