Saturday, May 28, 2005


The Amnesty International report that slams the United States human rights record is outrageously biased. It is so reality challenged that it is hard to even respond. I've already noted my absolute rejection of this insane broad attack. This article has more:

With respect to the war on terror, Amnesty’s principal complaint is that “[h]undreds of detainees continue to be held without charge or trial at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” This, of course, is the installation that Amnesty’s secretary general, Irene Khan, characterized as “the gulag of our times.” Khan is either profoundly ignorant of the actual gulag, where Communist regimes “re-educated” political dissidents through murderous hard labor, starvation diets, and exposure to the elements, or engaging in highly improvident hyperbole. It is most likely the latter. (As the Washington Post editorialized, the “modern equivalent” of the gulag can be found not at Guantanamo Bay, but in Castro’s Cuba, North Korea, China and, until recently, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.) In a calmer moment, Khan might reflect that comparing American policies with which she disagrees to genuine atrocities committed by some of the most vicious and repressive regimes in history effectively trivializes the actions of those regimes.

The last sentence gets to a more important point. Amnesty International's approach is worse than just the hysterical complaints that we store clean silverware next to dirty silverware at Guantanamo or that there is no sneeze guard over the salad bar. It enables real torture:

Amnesty International should reflect that its extravagant and unfounded claims that the United States has violated international law, and that its officials should be the subject of criminal prosecution, work to undercut its own mission. Amnesty claimed that “[w]hen the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity.” In fact, it is Amnesty International, and similar NGOs, who have granted that license. They have done this by failing to distinguish clearly between American interpretations of international law, including the Geneva Conventions and Torture Convention, with which they may disagree as a policy matter, and actual illegal conduct. It is hardly surprising that repressive regimes claim that the United States has violated the law, thus permitting them to follow suit, when groups like Amnesty persistently state that American policy at Guantanamo Bay is illegal even though this is simply not true.

In their eagerness to declare legitimate American practices consistent with our law and international law as torture, Amnesty International has given regimes that have real gulags and real torturers license to kill. If America deprives some thugs caught on the battlefield of proper sleep; why can't thug regimes pull out the fingernails of dissidents caught criticizing the government? If Amnesty treats them the same, the worst have cover by pointing to America as being in the same category.

Amnesty International should be ashamed of itself. But they aren't. Screw them.