Durbin Apologizes on Senate Floor for Nazis, Soviet Gulags Remark

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

(1st Add: Includes additional remarks by Sen. Richard Durbin.)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who sparked outrage with his controversial remarks comparing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis, Soviet gulags, and Pol Pot's killers in Cambodia, apologized on the Senate floor Tuesday.

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," Durbin said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies." Durbin also apologized directly to the U.S. military. "They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

"Mr. President, I've come to understand that was a poor choice of words," said Durbin. "Last Friday, I tried to make this very clear that I understood that those analogies - the Nazis, Soviets, and others - were poorly chosen. I issued a release, which I thought made my intentions and my innermost feelings as clear as I possibly could," added Durbin.

Durbin's apology comes after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called him in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, to formally apologize on the Senate floor.

"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," Durbin said in his controversial remarks.

Durbin was upset over an FBI memo describing the conditions of the Guantanamo facility, which included prisoners being chained to the floor, bombarded with rock music, and subjected to extreme cold or extreme heat, depending on whether the air conditioner was turned on or off.
Senior Editor Susan Jones contributed to this report.

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