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Blind, Deaf, and Dumb: If Terri Schiavo had been dehydrated to death at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, would Dick Durbin be reading her autopsy report from the Senate floor?

6/19/2005 3:23:00 PM by American Spectator - George Neumayr

If Terri Schiavo had been dehydrated to death at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Dick Durbin would be reading her autopsy report from the Senate floor. It would be an occasion for great moral anguish. How did the U.S. sink so low as to adopt such Nazi-like callousness toward disabled prisoners of war? one could imagine him saying. Instead, Democrats -- even as they spent part of the week crassly celebrating, with news of Schiavo's autopsy report in hand, the human rights abuse of euthanasia against the disabled -- are in a moral lather over the paucity of proper air conditioning terrorists receive at Guantanamo Bay.

Durbin concluded his terrorists-aren't-getting-enough-AC speech on the Senate floor this week by saying: "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

This pointed up another liberal blind spot: How come Fidel Castro didn't make Durbin's cut of evildoers? Somehow Castro's gulag in our time, right next to Guantanamo Bay, didn't pop into Durbin's head. Why? Because Castro has been doing so well lately, turning up the air conditioning to a reasonable level for those noisome critics of his languishing in Havana jails?

It is worth noting that Durbin, who hails from the farm state of Illinois, home to companies like Archer-Daniels-Midland which are eager to trade with Cuba, favors lifting the embargo on Castro. If Durbin had lumped Castro in with Nazis, Pol Pot and American soldiers, powerful Illini at the supermarket to the world wouldn't have been amused. To normalize trade Castro has to be normalized.

Meanwhile, as Dick Durbin makes sure that terrorists are adequately fed with a sufficient breeze blowing through their dining halls and holds up disturbing reports on detainee mistreatment, other Democrats are waiving Schiavo's autopsy report as validation of the cruelty they pass off as liberal compassion. Perhaps the Democrats will need to redact the part of the autopsy report recording that little fact that Terri Schiavo was dehydrated to death.

In the mainstream media's reports on the autopsy I've seen, the cause of death -- one might think the most salient fact in news coverage of an autopsy -- is treated as an afterthought, an irrelevant detail, the subtext of the stories being that murder isn't murder if it turns out in the autopsy report that the victim was incurable. Can criminals henceforth use this as a defense? The New York Times could barely bring itself to mention that the doctors doing the autopsy established "marked dehydration" as the cause of death, burying it deep within the story. Before it got around to that, the paper was eagerly examining the autopsy's political fallout, which is basically that spineless Republicans are running for cover and that Democrats "cited the autopsy results as proof that critics of the federal intervention had been vindicated."

Members of the party of the Americans with Disabilities Act were thrilled to discover that they had one more reason to support starving Schiavo: it turns out she was blind. Or "completely blind," as the New York Times triumphantly put it in an editorial. Its writers, while castigating conservatives for their "judgments-from-afar" in the case, got in one last swing from afar at Schiavo's parents: "The findings will not satisfy Ms. Schiavo's parents, who remain convinced that she interacted with them before her death."

The Democrats, many of the same ones who lounge about at Special Olympics events until the photographers have left, are calling for larger portion sizes for terrorists while cutting off food and water to humans they all but call blind, deaf, and dumb. The evil always have a better chance of surviving under the ministrations of liberalism than the ill.

In fact, being evil is a good way to enhance your treatment at the hands of liberalism. Terri Schiavo had no recourse to the Geneva Conventions. But terrorists at Guantanamo Bay do. Protections extended to criminals are disappearing rapidly for the disabled as Democrats like Dick Durbin assign to an army that has saved the lives of millions a culture of death that they themselves spread.

George Neumayr is the executive editor of The American Spectator.




Copyright 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved