Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, June 13, 2005

THE WASHINGTON POST VS. AMNESTY

Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post defends what could be called a double standard, namely that they are far more harsh on Donald Rumsfeld than on, say, Zarqawi. This defense seems on-target to me. The Post balances their criticism with this:

The United States and this administration in particular continually assert the moral right to behave differently than other nations. We will not be bound by the International Criminal Court. We insist that other nations give up their nuclear weapons while we keep our own. We wage war without U.N. Security Council approval. We publish annual report cards on everyone else's human rights records.

The premise of this highhandedness is that the United States is, on balance, a force for good in the world -- a superpower that uses its might not to subjugate others but to allow them to live freely. This is a premise that The Post's editorial page on the whole accepts -- to the dismay of many readers.


The Post is an honorable contrast with Amnesty International, with its now-famous "gulag" quote:

The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law.


Amnesty's gross exaggeration, in using the word "gulag," shows contempt not only for history and truth, nor merely for the victims of the real Gulag, but above all for the ideals to which Amnesty is, or rather plays at being, committed. By showing what serious advocacy of human rights looks like, the Post puts Amnesty to shame more eloquently than any conservative critic.

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