Hot Debate

Sure sounds to me like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is getting more blowback than he bargained for with his comments this week about Gitmo and U.S. soldiers. You all heard the two members of Congress debating it today on DaySide (THAT was interesting, eh? — I know you know what I'm referring to .…).

A number of you e-mailed me after the show suggesting the Senator's words were treasonous. Here are some provocative comments that have come in:

"I am a soldier from New Jersey who served in Guantanamo Bay from April 2004 til April 2005. I was a witness to the exceptional treatment these prisoners received. They received constant medical care, food, Islamic religious items. I also noticed how these prisoners treated us soldiers and caregivers. They cursed, spit, threw fecal matter and semen on us. They also verbally threatened and physically assaulted us. They degraded America, disrespected our beliefs. They treated female personnel with disrespect, calling them pigs, sluts and whores. And we are trained to sit back and take it all in. When politicians come [to visit] they say hello and take a tour and then they are back on a jet to go home. I challenge any politician to pick: Either stay at Guantanamo Bay in a cell or fall hostage to some radical group in Iraq .... Linda, I urge you to try to request documentation of prisoner-on-soldier and relief worker abuse. Soldiers go to work inside the wire one day and come out with broken arms. Red Cross workers also have been assaulted. Why don't the politicians ask THOSE questions? One final thought: I wish all those pompous politicians would put on a uniform and do what we do every day ...."
— C., U.S. Army Sergeant, New Jersey

"Democrats seem to be acting irresponsibly .... If they want to look foolish, okay, but their foolishness is causing our nation to be divided and hindering Congress from getting business done ...."
— John V., New Mexico

"Everyone is missing the point of what Senator Durbin stated. He is saying that the PERCEPTION of Guantanamo Bay to the Muslim world is equal to the Nazis, gulags and Pol Pot. If listened to carefully, he said that if he had read the report without prefacing where it came from, one would think that it came from one of those regimes. All of those Americans who sit in judgment and have never left the USA do not have the exact understanding of how the world perceives us."
— Eliot Winecour, LCDR, U.S. Navy (retired), Veteran of Vietnam Era, Beirut 1983, Desert Shield and Desert Storm

My response goes to "C", who wrote that first email: I certainly will check out what you're describing. If it can be proved, it's an important story to be told.

Now to the debate over Florida law enforcement possibly banning convicted sex offenders from public shelters during a hurricane:

"Shelters which are cramped, lots of confusion ... would be a perfect place for sex offenders to continue their deviant, sick behavior .... And we should not have to put our children in harm's way ...."
— Gail, Florida

"No, sex offenders should not be given a separate shelter. They are not thinking of sex and rape in a hurricane. There are a lot of people in that shelter at that time, and they cannot do anything to anyone ...."
— Ashtik Zeynalan, Peotone, Ill.

Ashtik, how can you be so sure that these predators are not thinking about sex during a hurricane? My experience as a reporter interviewing victims of these crimes is that it only takes a MINUTE for a predator to commit an assault that will scar his victim for life. And, having been in shelters during hurricanes, it's more chaotic than you think. All it takes is one child going to the restroom unescorted for 3 minutes ....

Just a thought.

See you all Monday.

Watch "DaySide with Linda Vester" weekdays at 1 p.m. ET

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