The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, June 18, 2005
On Amnesty International
Jay Nordlinger wrote in his Impromptus column about Amnesty International and their comparisons of Gitmo to the Gulag, and liberal reaction to American conservatives who criticize that comparison but cite AI on Iran, China or Sudan (for examples). As Nordlinger relates, Rush Limbaugh answered this criticism by asking a caller why liberals cite approvingly the Gitmo-Gulag comparison but ignore AI's criticism of Iran, China and Sudan. (Actually, Rush used the example of pre-liberation Iraq.) Nordlinger comments:
"I’m still a little uneasy about citing Amnesty, ever, simply because of its political nonsense. It seems to want credit for 'evenhandedness,' and this means grouping the United States with genuine human-rights violators. It’s far wiser to rely on Freedom House, which actually knows the difference between Guantanamo Bay and the Gulag."
I agree, but with one caveat: quoting AI goes farther with both liberals and those are not self-conciously political. I think one of the great things that AI and Human Rights Watch both do is provide facts for conservatives that liberals have difficulty ignoring or debunking. While there is great, usually better studies at Freedom House and, often, the U.S. State Department, the Left and mushy middle will not acknowledge them as authorities. I dislike giving credence to organizations such as AI and HRW, but I'd rather use them to win an argument over human rights with some Red China-defending Lefty or average Joe skeptical of the wisdom of overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
(Cross-posted at Sobering Thoughts)
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference On Amnesty International:
For the record, and to repeat what I said in the original post, Rush Limbaugh used the example of AI criticism of pre-liberation Iraq -- and not Iran, China or Sudan.
Posted by: Paul Tuns | 2005-06-18 6:51:35 PM
AI has done and continues to do good work in monitoring and calling various dictatorships on their abuses. And criticism of a democracy's policy is one thing - it's fair game. But drawing dim-witted equivalences is another matter.
Both AI and the neo-liberals seriously damage their credibility when they suggest equivalences between Western democracies’ actions and the obvious abuses of tyrannies past and present - as in the idiotic and offensive Gitmo/gulag reference - as well as in AI's ridiculous brief to a UN panel (populated by dictatorships) on racial discrimination in Canada.
Posted by: JR | 2005-06-18 7:24:57 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.