Another Perspective

What Could Be Worse Than Gitmo?

How about Army basic training...

By 6.22.05

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For those of us -- and there are millions -- who have gone through U.S. Army basic training or Marine Corps boot camp the complaints of Senator Richard Durbin regarding the treatment of the prisoners at Camp Delta in Guantanamo are laughable.

One wonders what Durbin and the folks at Amnesty International would say if their little darlings had been forced to stand at attention in 100-degree heat for two or more hours at Fort Jackson or Camp Lejeune in full combat gear, with 60 pounds of ammo and equipment, waiting for a general inspection. "What time did you get up, soldier?" the inspecting officer invariably asks the first trooper in line. The answer is always the same. "Reveille, sir." As long as you said that, you didn't have to admit you and your buddies had been up for 36 hours straight "G I-ing" the barracks, the company street, your weapons and everything that moved or stood in the area.

"Drop down and give me 20, 30, 50," the training cadre would demand, and the shaved head recruit falls to the ground and completes his push-ups -- sometimes to the point of exhaustion for those not in top condition. The heel of the corporal on your back tends to make the task a bit more difficult. Gosh, we should have had some of those ACLU lawyers.

Another fine element of training occurs when a drill sergeant's mouth is so close to yours his shouts spit saliva till it runs down your face. One flinch brings an order for 30 perfect push-ups or an evening of jogging around the company area with a rifle held with both hands above one's head while the miscreant shouts the General Orders.

Definitely too tough for those unfortunate terrorists.

Senator Durbin, whose biography shows he spent the Vietnam War in law school, knows nothing of an American soldier's training life -- and we are talking about only those first eight weeks of basic training, not the far tougher regimen for Ranger, SEAL, Recon or Special Forces.

He says he's appalled the Gitmo terrorists had to sit or stand in stress positions while under interrogation. What about crawling into and cleaning out an eight-foot deep grease pit attached to each mess hall. That's a nice little punishment for arriving late to formation. Or what about a 25-mile march with a full field pack, your weapon and ammo, and only one canteen of water?

Senator Durbin is deeply worried about the impression that is caused internationally when a terrorist prisoner complains his "space" has been invaded by a female interrogator. Oh, dear me, did that female make the poor prisoner feel badly? An American soldier yearns for such "intimidation." A recruit has no "space." He or she is government property.

From what type of mental illness does Senator Durbin suffer? What country has Durbin been inhabiting? From what planet does this civilian feather merchant come? Senator, don't insult the hundreds of thousands of on-duty servicemen and women and the millions of veterans by your politically inspired pettifogging complaints.

Perhaps Senator Durbin doesn't understand what it takes to be an American soldier or Marine. Perhaps he thinks the families of the terrorists should be thought of before the families of the victims of 9/11 or those of our fallen warriors. He speaks of Guantanamo as an embarrassment. It is he who embarrasses those who have served.

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About the Author
George H. Wittman writes a weekly column on international affairs for The American Spectator online. He was the founding chairman of the National Institute for Public Policy.