Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Koran Abuse III

John Hinderaker at Powerline puts this article up at the Weekly Standard about the report on the alleged abuse of terrorists at Gitmo. I could write a full lecture on it, but Hinderaker does a great job. Read the whole thing.

In that vein falls the Amnesty International claim that the U.S. is a serial human rights violator running gulags across the globe. Of course, their USA Executive Director, William Schultz tried to give the appearance that Amnesty had backed off of that smear on Fox News Sunday, but his words indicated that he intended no such retraction:

WALLACE: Mr. Schulz, the Soviet gulag was a system of slave labor camps that went on for more than 30 years. More than 1.6 million deaths were documented. Whatever has happened at Guantanamo, do you stand by the comparison to the Soviet gulag?

SCHULZ: Well, Chris, clearly this is not an exact or a literal analogy. And the secretary general has acknowledged that.

There's no question. But what in size and in duration, there are not similarities between U.S. detention facilities and the gulag. People are not being starved in those facilities. They're not being subjected to forced labor.

But there are some similarities. The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared -- held in indefinite incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or a judicial system or to their families.

And in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused,
tortured and even killed.

And those are similar at least in character if not in size to what happened in the gulag and in many other prison systems in world history.


Schultz's remarks reveal no small measure of liberal arrogance. He views himself as the final court of arbitration as to whether detention conditions are acceptable. His inability to inspect them is his prima facie evidence for declaring that the U.S. is engaged in torture. If he can't see it, it must be bad--the absence of evidence of a conspiracy being the very evidence of it, after all. The other part that I found interesting were the "secret" prisons, and in fact "many" secret prisons. But, if they are so secret, how does Schultz know about them? He has no evidence. Prisoners are most certainly being kept at undisclosed locations, as it might not be the wisest thing to let their comrades in arms know their mailing addresses, but that does not translate into a regime of torture camps. And, of course, who could miss the literary irony in Schultz's choice of words. He uses the term "archipelago", a reference, intentional or otherwise, to Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago". Cute.

But Schultz digs a deeper grave for himself with this exchange:

WALLACE: Now, Secretary Rumsfeld did, we believe, approve putting prisoners in stress positions for prolonged periods of time, stripping them naked and even using dogs to frighten them.

Mr. Schulz, do you have any evidence whatsoever that he ever approved beating of prisoners, ever approved starving of prisoners, the kinds of things we normally think of as torture?

SCHULZ: It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea...

WALLACE: Well, wait a minute. When you say fascinating to find out, you mean you don't...

SCHULZ: But I do know that what you've just described, the use of dogs, stress position, that constitutes a violation of the convention against torture. That in and of itself is a clear violation.

He has no evidence, and it seems that he had never even heard of Chris Wallace's well-known example of duress under which these non-Geneva Convention prisoners are placed. I suppose it would be fascinating to find out whether the U.S. sanctions this kind of thing. Especially if you plan to accuse them of being "architects of torture." But the fact that their U.S. Executive Director essentially admitted in so many words that Amnesty didn't bother to let a detail like evidence prevent them from making such a serious conclusion lends significant credence to the theory that Amnesty is more about politics and enabling the world's bad guys than anything else.

This kind of nonsense does no good to either Amnesty or the U.S., but really does do great favors to the morale of terrorists. Of course, the Amnesty folks may want to remember that they are just as much a target of the terrorists as anyone else. The terrorists are much like a rabid pit bull--it will treat its liberator as viciously as it would its captor, but such things leave the confused political operatives of Amnesty undeterred. Amnesty is not so much about human rights as it is about furthering the now clear left wing policy of excusing terrorist violence and justifying same as legitimate political expression.

So to avoid any further controversy, let us dispense with concerns that the extraordinary sensibilities of uncivilized murdering brigands need any respect at all. Enjoy the cold floor, enjoy insipid food offered for nutritional value only. Enjoy the hours a day with nothing to do, and no reading material, religious or otherwise, to fill the endless void of time. Because really, that's all we have to do, and we won't be criticized for the way we give gracious undeserved courtesies to ungrateful pigs who respect and appreciate nothing and no one other than themselves and the pure undiluted hate which drives their existence. After all, to insult them with the indecorous delivery of kindness would be inhumane, wouldn't it?

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