Bayou Calvinist

A Somewhat Eclectic Discussion by a Law Student Concerning All of Today's Major Topics, as well as, a Few Not So Major Topics

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Need to Differentiate on Human Rights

As is a common refrain on most posts elsewher in the blogosphere, I agree that Amnesty International was way off base with its comparison of the treatment that terrorist suspects captured in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan recieve the same or even comparable treatment as did the political dissidents by both the Soviet Union and the dictators of Latin America. For anyone with a shred of reasonableness the fallacies in such a comparison are obvious. The point I would raise is how AI's stated purpose of not differentiating between governments with vastly differing political systems, leads it to such absurd propositions. Ignoring the difference in scale and facts (concerning the comparison), which seems to be what AI did in drawing these analogies, a problem still exists when any human rights' group fails to take into account the huge differences to be found between an open democratic society (such as the U.S.) and the many despotic regimes found throughout the world. This is the same point made throughout Natan Sharansky's book In Defense of Democracy. As Mr. Sharansky states, the inherent differences between "free" and "fear" societies mean that they should never be treated equally on human rights issues. For, as is evident in all the reported cases of abuse in Abu Ghrab and Guantonamo, the U.S. military and government had already begun investigations and have since filed criminal charges following the discovery of such abuses (in many cases prior to anyone in the public being aware such abuses had occurred). "Fear" societies on the other hand, not only fail to correct the problems before they come to light they in many cases continue with their illegal activities even after their abuses are discovered (not to mention that in many cases such acts were part of their political strategies). While all abuses should be condemned and changes made to ensure that they will not be repeated, the very systems a government is under will determine the likelihood that justice and fairness will eventually win out. For this reason alone U.S. detention facilities should not be compared to the Soviet Gulag, nor should the taking of combatants on the battlefied be compared to the "disappearings" of Latin America. The very fact that an organisation such as Amnesty Internationl is allowed to have a headquarters in the U.S., to demean the U.S. without reprisal speaks volumes about the inherent differences between the U.S. and countries like: Iran, Syria, North Korea, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and Cuba.

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