Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bush/Cheney v. Amnesty International: What's truly offensive?

As expected, both Bush and Cheney have come out swinging against Amnesty International's 2005 report on U.S. human-rights abuses at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere. Bush called the report "absurd" and Cheney said that he was "offended by it". On Sunday, General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called it "absolutely irresponsible".

Bush: "It seemed like to me [Amnesty International] based some of their decisions on the word of and the allegations by people that were held in detention, people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth." Yes, maybe. And he's right that, in theory, the U.S. "is a country that promotes freedom around the world". But in practice much of what has gone on in U.S. facilities -- all for the sake of the so-called war on terror, all (presumably) for the sake of "freedom around the world" -- is simply deplorable. Bush has refused to accept responsibility for any of it, and nor have any of his more significant underlings (i.e., Rumsfeld). Instead, blame has been heaped on low-level cogs. Where's the outrage?

My take on the AI report: click here.

Note: There has been some gross misrepresentation of AI's report. The Post story (see link, above) refers to "the gulag of our times," as if AI had accused the U.S. of operating Soviet-style concentration camps. The AI report on the U.S. -- click here -- makes no such claim. Bush may find the report "absurd," but neither he nor Cheney nor anyone else in any position of responsibility has addressed its specifics. It may be easy to write off such allegations, many of which we already know to be true, at a press conference, but, as usual, the Bush Administration wants nothing to do with the truth, relying instead on spin to deflect attention away from the facts.

Here's the vital question: What's more offensive, the AI report or what's actually happened (torture, rape, murder) in those heinous places?

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