Dick Durbin's ApologySomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Dick Durbin's Apology
 


21 June 2005 at 11:56:14 PM
salon

Chicago Tribune

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than most people, a Senator lives by his words, words are the coin of the realm in our profession. Occasionally words will fail us and occasionally we will fail words.

On June 14, I took the floor of the Senate to speak about genuine heartfelt concerns about the treatment of prisoners and detainees at Guantanamo and other places. I raised legitimate concerns that others have raised, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, about the policies of this administration and whether they truly do serve our needs to make America safer and more secure, whether, in fact, some of the policies might, in fact, endanger our troops, or in some ways disparage the image of America around the world.

During the course of that presentation, I read an e-mail from the federal bureau of investigation that was discovered to exist last August, and has now been produced as part of the Freedom of Information Act. After reading the horrible details in that memo, which characterized the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, I then, on my own, my own words, made some characterizations about that memo. I made reference to the Nazis, to the Soviets and other repressive regimes.

Mr. President, I have come to understand that was a very poor choice of words. I tried to make this very clear last Friday that I understood to those analogies to the nazis, soviets and others were poorly chosen. I issued a release which I thought made my intentions and my inner-most feeling as clear as I possibly could.

Let me read to you what I said. "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said causes anybody to misunderstand my true feelings. Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."

Mr. President, it is very clear that even though I thought I had said something that clarified the situation, to many people it was still unclear. I'm sorry if anything that I said caused any offense or pain to those who have such bitter memories of the Holocaust, the greatest moral tragedy of our time. Nothing, nothing should ever be said to demean or diminish that moral tragedy.

I'm also sorry if anything I said in any way cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military. I went to Iraq just a few months ago with Senator Harry Reid and a bipartisan Senate delegation. When you look in the eyes of the soldiers you see your son and daughter. They are the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them.

Some may believe that my remarks crossed line. To them, I extend my heartfelt apologies.

There's usually a quote from Abraham Lincoln that you can turn to in moments like this. Maybe this is the right one. Lincoln said, "If the end brings me out right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, 10,000 angels swearing I was right wouldn't make any difference."

In the end, I don't want anything that I may have said detract from the love for my country, my respect for those who bravely risk their lives each day for our security, and this Senate which I am so honored to serve as a member. I offer my apology for those offended by my words. I promise to speak out on the issues that I think are important to the people of Illinois and to the nation.

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