Today on its front newspage, with the title, “Rights group report calls U.S. abuse deliberate,” Yahoo highlighted an article on a Human Rights Watch (HRW) World Report 2006 which claimed that, “In 2005 it became disturbingly clear that the abuse of detainees had become a deliberate, central part of the Bush administration’s strategy of interrogating terrorist suspects.” This AP article seemed more interested in presenting the spin of this group than in telling the truth as it called water-boarding, an interogation technique used by CIA investigations to get information from captured terrorists as “an age-old torture technique.” Other MSM outlets will pick up this group’s report and will continue to promote a distorted view of U.S. policy–given the inherent anti-American bias of HRW.
It is not a report based on solid evidence, but on bias. And its conclusion that the alleged abuse was deliberate is at odds with more serious investigations.
Not only did the report misrepresent the Bush Administration’s record on torture, repeating discredited allegations featured on left-wing web-sites and in the MSM, it also seethed with contempt for policies of a past Republican administration. It reads more like an anti-Republican screed from some left-wing blog than a dispassionate account of a non-partisan human rights watchdog.
Thus, it did not surprise me when I did a google search of Executive Director Kenneth Roth to learn that he had written for the left-wing magazine The Nation, was featured as a speaker on Alternative Radio’s web-site (which, on its right side-bar includes an archive of programs by America-hater Noam Chomsky) and had been named a Pravda Personality of the Week.
While his group does look into some of the serious violations of human rights around the word, notably in the Sudanese province of Darfur, it dwells on those committed in the U.S. Even after the Schlesinger report found that abuses at Abu Ghraib “were not part of authorized interrogations nor were they even directed at intelligence targets“, HRW, like Andrew Sullivan, is obsessed with what happened on one night at that prison.
Indeed, the sexual degradation glimpsed in the Abu Ghraib photos was so outlandish that it made it easier for the Bush administration to deny having had anything to do with itï¿½to pretend that the abuse erupted spontaneously at the lowest levels of the military chain of command and could be corrected with the prosecution of a handful of privates and sergeants.Â
Um, the abuse there did “erupt spontaneously” as the trials and convictions of those involved prove.
But, non-partisan invtestigations and trials of the perpetrators of those abuses haven’t stopped HRW from condemning the Bush Administration. Indeed, it even blames the U.S. for terrorists groups which target civilians, noting that they “took place in the context of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the ensuing military occupation that resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths and sparked the emergence of insurgent groups.” This is absurd. Suggesting the U.S. is responsible for the conduct of its enemies. One would hope that these words would cause most serious reporters to dismiss HRW as a crank outfit. Instead, AP uses the quote in its article.
The U.S. didn’t cause the so-called “insurgent” groups to murder the people for whom they are ostensibly fighting. They themselves chose to target civilians. Most insurgent groups limit themselves to attacking the troops of the “occupying” power. And yet, HRW blames America suggesting that our supposedly nefarious actions somehow excuse terrorists for murdering children.
Thus, so caught up is Human Rights’ Watch with its hatred for America (at least an America governed by a Republican Administration) that, they, like others on the left, blame us for everything. Even the tactics of our enemies. It is as if they believe that America is responsible for most, if not all, of the world’s ills.
And so great is their contempt for Republicans that they even attack Reagan’s successful policies in El Salvador. While that once-troubled Central American nation has enjoyed democracy for more than two decades, HRW sneers that the Reagan Administration misused the concepts of “‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ in places like El Salvador.”
And even when they acknowledge that our policies have achieved some success of the Bush Administration’s policies, they have to qualify theier praise:
The limited pressure it brought to bear helped create more space for some dissidents and genuinely independent political and civic organizations. But its success was circumscribed by its own human rights record.Â
HRW makes much of the admistration’s general avoidance of the term “human rights,” yet itself largely ignores the development of democratic instituations, including a free press and free elections, in Iraq.
The very tone of this report suggests an animosity to the U.S. and the policies of not only the current Republican Administration, but also of past Republican Administration, that it is clear its authors, notably Executive Director Kenneth Roth, are more interested in attacking partisan adversaries than in offering a non-partisan analysis of the human rights situation.
Simply put, it is impossible to take seriously a human rights’ group where the Introduction to its annual World Report includes more references to American human rights’ abuses than to those in Zimbabwe, Iran or North Korea. This is not a serious report on human rights, but another attempt for a left-wing outfits to dress up its criticism of the Bush Administration in general and the war in Iraq in particular in noble rhetoric.
There are sound reasons to criticize the war in Iraq. But, when a group relies on long-discredited theories and blames the U.S. for the murderous behavior of its enemies, those who want to engage in a serious debate on the war should dimiss it — and any reports it issues — out of hand. It’s unfortunate that instead of ignoring this very partisan report, the MSM will highlight it. And it will be up to bloggers and others in the alternative media to challenge not only so we can defend the policies of this Adminstration to promote democracy around the world but also so that we can better defend human rights — both at home and abroad.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com