From Lt. Peter Hegseth, a Minnesota native who has just returned after a year at Guantanamo Bay. Today, Lt. Hegseth sent the following letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which editorially endorsed Dick Durbin's comparison of our troops to Nazis, Communists and Khmer Rouge killers:
As a recent veteran of Guantanamo Bay, I've been troubled by the willingness of some (namely this editorial page) to make uninformed inflammatory statements about the detention operations at GTMO. I believe that if any one of them had the opportunity to visit GTMO and witness the operation first hand, they would change their tone, if not their minds altogether.
Not only are the detainees treated humanely (top-notch medical care, hearty meals, recreational facilities, full access to religious observance, etc..) but I personally witnessed instances when detainees did not want to leave. It was not uncommon for my platoon to guard an airfield for hours in preparation for sending a detainee home, only to turn around and bring him back to the detention facility because he refused to leave! These detainees are not stupid they know that real torture and inhumane treatment await them at home. And while I know they are not happy to be in GTMO, they rest assured that they will be treated well because Americans play by the rules.
I feel sheepish even having to defend this issue. While our servicemen (and innocent Iraqi citizens) are being blown-up and tortured overseas, the media obsesses over a handful of "mishandled" Korans and excessive air conditioning. (It is also worth noting that these so-called instances of "abuse" at GTMO were all uncovered by internal Army investigations! Its not as if the Army is torturing people and covering it up. On the contrary, the minute the Army gets wind of minor misconduct it swiftly removes and prosecutes those involved. This is an institution upholding the highest moral traditions of our country.) Would the terrorists do the same? No, I think they'd just wink at us and then cut our heads off.
LT Peter Hegseth
Forest Lake, MN
U.S. Army National Guard, Infantry
Meanwhile, a Rasmussen Reports survey has shown that the MSM and the despicable Senator Durbin have overplayed their hand and it has blown up in their smarmy faces.
20% of Americans believe prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been treated unfairly. Seven-out-of-ten adults believe the prisoners are being treated "better than they deserve" (36%) or "about right" (34%).
The survey also found that just 14% agree with people who say that prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay is similar to Nazi tactics. Sixty-nine percent disagree with that comparison. This helps explain why Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apologized for making such a comparison.
Partisan differences concerning prisoner treatment are huge. Only 7% of Republicans believe Guantanamo prisoners are treated unfairly. Thirty percent (30%) of Democrats hold that view along with 22% of those not affiliated with either major party.
Forty-five percent (45%) of Republicans say the prisoners are treated better than they deserve. That view is shared by 28% of Democrats.
Seventeen percent (17%) of men say that the prisoners are treated unfairly along with 22% of women. Eighteen percent (18%) of married Americans hold that view along with 22% of those who are not married.
Among white Americans, 18% believe the prisoners are treated unfairly, a view shared by 23% of other Americans.
I'm not much for polls but these figures show such a small percentage that actually agree with Senator