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Amnesty International: The moral idiots of our time

Yahoo News reports:

Amnesty Takes Aim at ‘Gulag’ in Guantanamo

LONDON – Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, calling it “the gulag of our time” as it released a report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centers around the world.

This sort of nonsense is the same kind of moral idiocy we hear from the “Bush equals Hitler” left every day. Those on the left tend to think of themselves as being more intellectual, complex, “nuanced,” than all those toothless rustics on the right. But here’s a quick tip: it doesn’t show any nuance to simply compare anything or anyone you dislike to Hitler or the gulag. (It is a pleasant surprise to learn that some on the left now think of the gulag as a bad thing.) It’s just mindless hyperbole to compare whatever it is you’re against to the worst thing you can think of. However they’re not trying to promote thought, but emotional reaction.

The Soviets imprisoned and murdered millions and of their own citizens who were guilty of nothing more than peaceful political disagreement. That is the legacy of the gulag. There’s just no comparison between that systematic oppression and the detainment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. Just ask yourself – would Lynndie England have been prosecuted for her actions if they had been committed in a Soviet gulag? Of course not.

All Amnesty International accomplishes with these silly comparisons is to trivialize the real oppression and systematic abuse that occurred in the gulags. They’ve lost credibility because they have a long history of making these kinds of statements of gross moral equivalence. One can find instances of individuals breaking the rules in any organization; human institutions are all imperfect. In totalitarian regimes such as the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, (was Amnesty International in favor of liberating Iraq? Just asking) on the other hand, torture, murder, and oppression are the rules. That the leaders of Amnesty International can’t make this simple but important distinction is not to their credit, to put it mildly.

Chrenkoff has more.

Update – Austin Bay provides a good quote on the subject here:

An organization with genuine moral principles and genuine respect for human rights must be able to distinguish between scattered crime and focused genocide, between criminal actions at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (on the one hand) and 9/11, the Taliban, Bali, Saddam, suicide bombers (etc) on the other. Koran flushing? Does anyone remember the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddas of Bubiyan? Does Amnesty? Amnesty has cheapened the language of suffering, and for an organization espousing Amnesty’s principles, this is a grievous error.

posted by: The Editors @ 8:12 am May 25, 2005


  1. Could not agree with you more. It seems that Amnesty International bitches about the US all the time because they can. If they bitched about some of those other countries they would be shunned by the other moonbat organizations and we couldn’t have that, could we. They are reprehensible. These days they have about as much credibility as MoveOn does.

    Comment by dick — May 25, 2005 @ 5:12 pm May 25, 2005

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Less than a thousand people are detained at Gitmo. But the total number of people “detained in violation of their fundamental human rights” or unfairly executed, or possibly tortured by China according to Amnesty’s own records is more than 10,000. And the preface to AI’s 2005 report singles out the US as having caused the most damage to human rights.

    So, let me get this straight: Less than a thousand people detained because they were caught in a war zone and might be members of a shadowy organization dedicated to killing as many American civilians as possible. That’s what’s really destroying human rights. Not a major world power which detains and tortures thousands of political prisoners, and forces women to have abortions, and runs tanks over protesters, and practically annihilated the nation of Tibet. No, not that. It’s us that’s the problem.


    Comment by Paul Bibeau — May 25, 2005 @ 6:14 pm May 25, 2005

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