Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Hits Keep Coming

Frankly, the Amnesty International story has a lot more legs than I had expected. I'm on my fourth post on the subject (in reverse chronological order, here, here, and here for my prior thoughts). President Bush himself has jumped into the fray, saying:
"It's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world"

This, of course, is entirely besides the point. The US is a country that promotes freedom around the world--a fact that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not right-thinking human beings should be appalled by our actions in Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere is splitting badly on the issue. The Moderate Voice has come down hard on the US for Gitmo et al, but seems to be buying the Adnesik line that Amnesty has just bought into America-hatred, which is blinding it to the true human rights monsters out there.

Obsidian Wings, by contrast, is having a mini-war of its co-bloggers. Edward started off by saying that the US was an example to the rest of the world and thus needed to be held to tighter scrutiny (a sentiment I've echoed). Charles thinks the bias is lethal to Amnesty's case and that it the US should not be held to a higher standard than other countries:
There's no cherry-picking here, and there's no singling out a particular nation because that nation happens to be really, really powerful. The vision of Amnesty International is one standard applied to every person. To the extent that the leadership of Amnesty International has focused its ire on a country that has done more than any other on earth to advance freedom and human rights, it is an organization that has lost its bearings. To put it more forthrightly, the perspective of the leadership of Amnesty International is so whacked and so skewed that it's credibility as a human rights organization is in mortal peril.

Most recently, Edward responded that as long as the allegations are true (which I think they are), then we should respond not by crying about Amnesty's "bias" but by fixing the problem.

Andrew Sullivan is claiming victory, and has a prestigious feather in his cap now that Glenn Reynolds is starting to take the deal seriously.

As for me, I stand by my original position. The US has been and remains one of the greatest beacons of human rights the world has ever known--and its wrong to suggest otherwise. But while recognizing our triumphs, we cannot be afraid to deal with our failings. A US that even appears to be backsliding on its protection for basic legal and moral protections will cause more damage to global stability and human decency than anyone could possibly imagine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats, you're now my homepage.
Let me know when you're back in town. I'm awaiting your post on Deep Throat.
Love, the Talmudic scholar.