Gitmo - if I were a judge

By Michael Benge

Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt testified before a Senate Armed Services Committee on July 13 on the conclusions of a military investigation that no torture occurred at the Guantanamo Bay prison; however, one high-value Al-Qaeda operative was forced to wear a brassiere, do dog tricks and stay awake for 20 hours a day. However, this was not nearly as humiliating as a statement by a U.S. senator.

On June 14, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, provided aid and comfort to the enemy and slandered our military while speaking on the Senate floor by comparing U.S. treatment of terrorists at Guantanamo Naval Base (Gitmo) to Hitler, the Soviet gulags and Cambodian mass murderer Pol Pot. This is a stain on America that won't fade easily.

If I were a judge, I would sentence Durbin and his fellow travelers and comrades in the Gitmo Flat Earth Society to:

- Endless hours of sleep-deprived filibustering watching continued reruns of documented terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and their murder of thousands; the beheadings of journalist Daniel Pearl, Nicolas Berg and others; the films of Uday and Qusay, Saddam Hussein's sons, depicting the systematic torture and murder of hundreds of Iraqis; Hitler's concentration camps in Germany and the starvation, gassing, burning of millions of Jews; the carnage of Pol Pot's systematic fratricide of 2 to 3 million Cambodians; Stalin's gulags where millions were murdered, died of starvation, froze or worked to death, and other depravation of the gulag system.

- A second part of the sentences, and further enlightenment, would entail the memorization of the "Black Book of Communism."

- Last, Durbin and his comrades in the Gitmo Flat Earth Society would each be required to write a comparative analytical treatment of the treatment of terrorists at Gitmo verses that of the millions who were murdered, died and dehumanized under Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, and defend their thesis before panels of survivors of these systems.

Having spent long periods of deep thought, silent meditation and serious introspection, interspersed by torture and starvation during my five years as a hostage of the North Vietnamese, held in prison camps in South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam, spending 27 months in solitary confinement in windowless rooms, one year in a cage in Cambodia and one year in a black box, at one time weighing less than 90 pounds (normal weight 175), I, and other Vietnam POWs who suffered real relentless torture, would have loved to be so blessed as to have had to suffer under conditions like those in Gitmo.

Durbin must be reminded that U.S. in U.S. senator does not mean utterly stupid.

Michael Benge spent 11 years in Vietnam, more than five years as a prisoner of war (1968-1973). While serving as a civilian Foreign Service Officer, he was captured in South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese and held in numerous camps in South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam. For efforts in rescuing several Americans prior to capture, he received the State Department's highest award for heroism and a second one for valor.

Guest View
Michael Benge
The Augusta Free Press - 7/21/05
The views expressed by op-ed writers do not necessarily reflect those of management of The Augusta Free Press.

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