Granted, I have not done much reading on the group. Morton Winston, one of my professors, is heavily involved with the group (Former Chair, Standing Committee on Organization and Development, Amnesty International; Former Honorary Chair, Board of Directors, Amnesty International USA). He is very liberal - he griped about "Jesus Land" the day after the president won re-election - but is a generally amiable and reasonable individual. But this just raises more questions, and I digress.
First, what's with the name? Amnesty basically equates to mass pardons. Is that what they want? Large hordes of criminals excused by authority of the state?
No, their website tells us they want "internationally recognized human rights". An admirable goal, to be sure. Other than basic rights to food and water, and a most minimal rights to psychological stability, I don't know three philosophers who will agree, let alone a whole world full of politicians and activists.
The Washington Post always does me favors with their articles. This one, about Amnesty's recent comments about Guantanamo, has these two quotes, both written with the same matter-of-fact and unpretending voice:
A verbal feud between Amnesty International and Washington has escalated since Amnesty last week compared the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the brutal Soviet system of forced labor camps where millions of prisoners died.
The United States holds about 520 men at Guantanamo, where they are denied rights accorded under international law to prisoners of war.
Now, there might be one or two rational folks over at Amnesty other than Dr. Winston, but their voices aren't being heard. Need we remind their enterprise that WE GAVE THEM KORANS! We didn't have to do that. Frankly, it wouldn't be surprising if other nations simply refused to take prisoners and killed their enemies in battle. The United States is indeed held to a higher standard, what with our role as the leaders of the world, but does that mean we have to treat these terrorists like American citizens? We already accomodate their religion, the same religion they use to incense violence against our women and children.
"Secret" memos (the Bybee memo sent to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales) have been "exposed" and have demonstrated the evils of the Bush administration. Frankly. the White House was only doing what Amnesty ought to have done. They were trying to define torture so it could be AVOIDED. The very fact that they were trying identify something they felt was morally wrong should speak volumes for the kind of leadership we are dealing with in the White House.
[Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Zubaida] Khan rejected a suggestion that Amnesty's use of the emotive term "gulag" had turned the debate into one over semantics, and distracted attention from the situation in the detention centers.
For Amnesty to dare liken the United States to Stalinist USSR is a discredit to their organization. Stalin once said something along the lines of "one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic". I've also heard that he was responsible for as many as twice the deaths as Adolf Hitler. So yes, Khan, we do take exception to your remark.
I have two requests for Amnesty: First, change your name. Amnesty is probably a bad thing most of the time. Second, stop promoting the American liberal agenda if you want the American people's support.