SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Monday, June 06, 2005

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL LOSING GROUND ON GITMO/GULAG COMPARISON. AI leadership had recently equated grabbed headlines for ridiculously equating the U.S. military-operated prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a Soviet gulag. Since those outrageous public pronouncements, AI has found its reputation tarnished and undermined.

First, as Kenneth Anderson pointed out in the recent Weekly Standard article "An American Gulag?", AI's recent human rights report is devoid of such a comparison or conclusion:

With the release of its 2005 human rights report, Amnesty International got all the headlines that even an organization that lives for press attention could possibly hope to get. It did so by lobbing rhetorical hand grenades--each delivered in press statements but, revealingly and characteristically, not found in the text of the report itself...

And now, leadership of AI has found itself having to backtrack on its earlier, baseless public statements about Gitmo. Tuesday's editorial in OpinionJournal notes the recent retraction of certain remarks:

"Clearly, this is not an exact or a literal analogy," said William Schulz. "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."

Like Anderson, the editorial writers goes on to take AI to task for the absurd statements of its leaders. It comes as little surprise that the editorial would mention Natan Sharansky. It is people like Sharansky and Jean Bethke Elshtain who have carefully argued that when someone loses moral clarity and ends up equating the forces of the Ameriacn military with anti-western democracy jihaddists, that same someone simply gets the facts WRONG. And these are important facts to get RIGHT--especially when you're working in the area of human rights...

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)


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