Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Amnesty International

Anne Applebaum criticizes Amnesty International today for being anti-American. For my part, I fail to see how identifying injustice is anything but anti-injustice. America is not immune from perpetrating injustice, and pointing this out doesn’t not mean that one is anti-American. Perhaps the use of the word gulag seems excessive. But that it “equates” our leaders with Stalin? That’s a pretty huge intellectual jump there. Certainly the modern day U.S. is a way way way to the nth degree way better place to be than Stalin’s Russia. But I’m not sure that a solitary person, deprived of freedom indefinitely without having been charged, really cares where the leaders of the country that imprisoned him stand on the spectrum of world pariahs. From his lone perspective, how big the overall operation is, whether it’s limited to one prison in Cuba or all of Siberia, whether it is national policy or a national embarrassment, really doesn’t matter. All he knows is that he can’t get out. Amnesty is a prisoners’ rights group. Truly shocking that they would have taken a prisoner’s point of view. Gulag may be a loaded word, but its excess is mainly in contrast to many conservatives’ dismissiveness and even glee at the allegations of prisoner abuse and suspension of the rule of law.

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