The Electric Commentary

Monday, June 27, 2005

Where was Amnesty?

Ever since Amnesty International made a few over-the-top condemnations of the US and specifically Gitmo, many conservatives have responded with the question above. The problem with this strategy is that the correct answer is "everywhere." Paul Brewer first noted this trend here, and again here. This past weekend it went "conservative mainstream" when classical scholar and right wing pundit Victor Davis Hanson picked up on this theme:

Few mention there really are monsters and mass killers living among us -- the North Koreans who have starved 1 million of their own, Saddam's reign of terror that may have killed as many, and, of course, the Islamicist murderers who behead, blow up and torture. "Mein Kampf" still sells well in some Arab capitals, not in Washington or New York.

So cowards such as officials of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and, yes, American politicians, prefer to showboat the purported misdemeanors of people who are civilized and will listen to them, rather than to condemn the horrendous felonies of those who are barbaric and will pay them no heed.


Professor Brewer helpfully compiled a list of links of Amnesty condemnations of totalitarian dictators. This truly is the most-easily-refuted-argument about Amnesty International ever. While Amnesty debatably screwed up here (and I suspect that their mistake was largely in their rhetoric, not their substance), they have performed admirably in drawing the world's attention to troubled spots, and in providing relief when possible. Conservatives should let this one go.

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