Hiding Behind Human Rights
Amnesty International wants to take on the United States of America. Why do we always take the bait? To be perfectly honest, western democracies should not get a free pass when it comes to human rights violations. When we break the rules, it looks the worst and leaves an awful taste in the mouth because we know better. But you know what? We don't get that free pass, we self regulate. Not perfeclty, I understand, but we strive for the machinations of justice; due process of law and the right (and responsibility) to seek redress of grievances from our government. That is why we have organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Center for Law and Justice. That's what they do. You want American human rights violations, go to those three pages and start the tally.
The good folks over at Amnesty International should be doing, in my opinion, is focusing on human rights violations in the places that redress of grievance is called blood debt. But what they are doing is kicking up a stink about the United States, because going after the big target is the easy way to raise money from folks who hate Ol' Dubya and his ilk, or are angry at anything American and want to put us on a guilt trip.
Publius Pundit makes an excellent point of this disparity here, and follows it up with just about the most eloquent words on the matter I've read in a long time.
When researching human rights and their violations, one really has to keep their eye on the ball. This should not be a political issue that red and blue teams spend time scoring points off one another with. Words like genocide and gulag deserve far more weight than a 30 second soundbite can give them.
There are, of course, ways powerful western democracies (like the United States of America) can and should take an active role in encouraging allies and enemies to reform. Our biggest crime against human rights is that we don't use more of our economic, social and diplomatic leverage where it can be applied the easiest and where it can be the most effective.
And while we are on this particular subject, hurricane_radio is now part of the blogosphere that supports Real Democracy in Iran. No more theocracy, no more western-style juntas, just homegrown self determination style democracy - growing pains and all. Iran for Iranians, let freedom ring.