Elizabeth L. King must have felt utterly astonished when she received a letter from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) inquiring about military benefits for Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Somehow Spencer Ackerman from Wired just got hold of McConnell’s letter to the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, in which he forwarded concerns expressed by one of his constituents. Turns out, the constituent had gotten his information from the Duffel Blog — the military’s satirical news site — which ran an article titled “Guantanamo Prisoners To Receive GI Bill Benefits” back in October.
The article was meant to lambaste the Obama administration (these conservative military folks blame everything on President Barack Obama instead of where it rightfully belongs — on their idol, George W. Bush) for delays. And, as Ackerman points out, the humor wasn’t even particularly subtle, and included a fake quote from a fictitious Pentagon spokesman stating, ““By allowing the detainees to use the Department of Veterans Affairs, we hope to completely crush their souls with bureaucracy.”
It’s not surprising that a conservative constituent of McConnell’s would be easily bamboozled, but you’d think someone from McConnell’s office in Washington, DC would have quickly figured out the satirical nature of this humorous ‘news report.’ Then again, McConnell and his fellow Republicans have never been known for their sense of humor.
The email from Mitchell’s constituent (also obtained by Ackerman) reads as follows:
I read an article on the Duffel Blog web site (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/mcconnell-duffel-blog/) that concerned me immensely. Below is the opening portion of the article:
GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - In a controversial move praised by the international community as a promotion of human rights, the Department of Defense has begun allowing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to seek Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. While these benefits have traditionally been restricted to veterans of the United States Military to use in pursuit of a degree, the Pentagon has seen fit to begin allowing GTMO prisoners to enroll in the program.
DoD Spokesman Wesley Manheim said that it was all a matter of fairness.
I couldn’t find any reference to the article searching the DoD website nor in searching the web in general except for the article found on Duffel Blog.
Please help me confirm or refute the accuracy of this article.
McConnell’s letter to King reads as follows:
“I am writing on behalf of a constituent who has contacted me regarding Guantanamo Bay prisoners receiving post 9/11 GI bill benefits. I would appreciate your review and response to my constituent’s concerns.
I have enclosed a copy of my constituent’s correspondence, for your information. Please direct any inquiries and all relevant information to Nancy McKinstry in my Washington D.C. office.
Thank you for all your time and assistance. Iwill look forward to receiving your response.
United States Senator
Here’s the image of McConnell’s original letter, as obtained by Wired’s “Danger Room” blog:
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