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Guantanamo detainees aren't getting GI Bill benefits

Associated Press

I suspect most folks have, at least once, accidentally mistaken satirical news for real news. But Spencer Ackerman's report on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) misstep is a doozy.

On November 14, 2012, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote to Elizabeth King, the Pentagon’s congressional liaison, with a an unusually credulous query. “I am writing on behalf of a constituent who has contacted me regarding Guantanamo Bay prisoners receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits,” McConnell wrote in a letter acquired by Danger Room. “I would appreciate your review and response to my constituent’s concerns.” 

Um, Guantanamo detainees getting GI Bill benefits? Yes, that’s from the Duffel Blog, as McConnell’s constituent clearly states, complete with the reference URL. Said constituent even notes that he or she can’t find any information about the alleged government payouts to suspected insurgents and terrorists.

The constituent couldn't find any information because there's no information to find -- the United States government is not providing GI Bill benefits to detainees at the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay. What McConnell forwarded to the Pentagon was a satirical piece, published by a terrific online humor outlet. Picture The Onion with a sole focus on the military.

Even if McConnell's office wasn't familiar with Duffel Blog, it's a shame it didn't occur to the Senate Minority Leader's staff to think, "Wait, this doesn't sound quite right."

Indeed, the report itself includes "quotes" from a fake Pentagon spokesperson saying, "By allowing the detainees to use the Department of Veterans Affairs, we hope to completely crush their souls with bureaucracy." Someone thought this was real?

Spencer added, "At the risk of explaining the joke, the Duffel Blog's real objective is to send up the inadequate, molasses-slow benefits the government provides to the nation's veterans."

And all of this, incidentally, ties together nicely with last night's D block.