America and Human Rights Abuse
Allow us to describe a country for you: Prisoners detained without charges. Prisons operating outside the legal system. Limits on free speech. Limits on the Internet. Legitimately entitled voters prevented from casting ballots. Government sanctioned kidnappings. Witch hunts against political enemies. Torture.
China, right? Or is it Russia?
Actually, this description, reported in the Los Angeles Times, is of the notorious human rights abuser the United States of America.
It’s part of a 56-page report “On the Human Rights Situation in America,” about America’s heretofore unexamined recent history of human rights atrocities. The scathing report’s main problem is that it was authored by the Russian Foreign Ministry, whose credibility and human rights track record run concurrently (into the Moscow sewers). One should not take seriously the human rights abuse complaints of a government that imprisons teenaged girls for the crime of audacity, for daring to dissent. The Ministry’s report is politically motivated propaganda of the worst kind, the hawkish kind, which gets the citizenry riled up and itching for a fight.
The conclusions that the Russians draw are ludicrous, self-serving, and entirely in keeping with a regime intent on tyranny: “Human rights issues increasingly become a pretext for direct interference in the affairs of other countries,” according to the Times. In other words, leave us alone to beat up the opposition as we see fit.
But on the facts about the United States they’re not wrong. They’re right.
About this part: Prisoners detained without charges. (Gitmo). Prisons operating outside the legal system. (“Dark sites” operated by the CIA). Limits on free speech. (Except if you’re a corporation). Limits on the Internet. (Wikileaks revenge!) Legitimately entitled voters prevented from casting ballots. (Ohio, Florida, etc.) Government sanctioned kidnappings. (Otherwise known as the War on Terror.) Witch hunts against political enemies. (Ted Stevens prosecution). Torture. (I say “water,” you say “board.”)
We’re also carrying out extra-judicial killings on foreign soil. And allying ourselves with repressive and corrupt dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. And celebrating the moral values upheld in the TV show 24.
And we’re still wondering why most of the rest of the world hates us.
News Flash: You need not be a Talibani to be victimized. The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), passed by our elected representatives, is a blueprint for human rights abuses and an affront to the notion of freedom. In the America we love, civil liberties abridged is tantamount to tyranny commenced. It’s the kind of legislation one expects from Russia, except that Russia doesn’t bother legislating this kind of authoritarian power, it just assumes it.
When we’ve ceded the moral high ground to Vladimir Putin and his henchmen, it’s time to reexamine our sacred values.
An American flag flies proudly outside the MK.com home office. We consider ourselves genuine patriots, in love with the idea of America and passionate enough about the concept of individual freedom to cry foul when fellow citizens are behaving in ways that seem dangerously un-American. President Barack Obama, we’re crying foul on you and your administration. Your embrace of assumed Executive Powers is even more expansive than George W. Bush’s. You’re committing human rights abuses in the name of America. Please, stop.
Only then can we snigger at the Russians. Only then can we lecture the Chinese. Only then will the United States of America, that great beacon of Human Rights, return to a postion of leadership by example.