Role of Human Rights in the War on Terror
Does the New York Times actually support US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton in his insistance on reform? That's how it appears in this morning's New York Times Editorial, The Shame of the United Nations.
When it comes to reforming the disgraceful United Nations Human Rights Commission, America's ambassador, John Bolton, is right; Secretary General Kofi Annan is wrong; and leading international human rights groups have unwisely put their preference for multilateral consensus ahead of their duty to fight for the strongest possible human rights protection. A once-promising reform proposal has been so watered down that it has become an ugly sham, offering cover to an unacceptable status quo. It should be renegotiated or rejected.
Marc Schulman at American Future asks, "When was the last time (if ever) that the Times called into question the wisdom of the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International?"
Well, Mr. Bolton (who similarly holds my disdain for 'nuance') did not escape without a swipe in closing.
Mr. Bolton, representing an administration whose record is stained by Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, is awkwardly placed to defend basic human rights principles. But he also represents the United States, with its long and proud human rights tradition. We hope that his refusal to go along with this shameful charade can produce something better.
Abu Ghraib was an anomaly created by individuals, not policy. How is Mr. Bolton somehow attached ownership? Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo Bay is a prison where fabrications of abuse have been discredited yet conveniently ignored. In fact, it is a documented fact that many of the prisoners who were eventually released have been re-captured or killed firing yet again from the other direction. Yet, both are stains affixed to John Bolton's lapel, even in support.
The assertion that he is awkwardly placed to defend basic human rights principles is stunning. Is one of the central components of the War on Terror not also the recognition of basic human rights?
Was not the elimination of the Taliban's ritual of stadium executions as a national sport not an advancement of a basic human right? The inclusion of women (both as voters and elected officials) in successful elections in Afghanistan? Was the cessation of the torture and execution of thousands and thousands of Kurds and Shiia in Hussein's Iraq not the restoration of basic human rights? The mass graves continue to be unearthed in Iraq.
The New York Times editorial board's transparent belief that only those who think like them, politically and socially, can possibly stand for basic human rights is absurd, shallow, insulting, and very, very wrong.