Former President Jimmy Carter has joined the chorus calling for the closure of the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Like many others, though, Mr. Carter criticized Amnesty International for calling the prison "the gulag of our time," and said that alleged abuses committed there could never compare with the atrocities committed by the late Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.
Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum expresses similar sentiments today in "Amnesty Amnesia." Anne is "appalled by this administration's detention practices and interrogation policies, by the lack of a legal mechanism to judge the guilt of alleged terrorists, and by the absence of any outside investigation into reports of prison abuse." But she's a sight more het up about Amnesty International comparing us to Stalin, and accuses the organization of attacking "the American government for the satisfaction of their own political faction."
The "deny and accuse" mentality seems to have permeated every segment of our society. Even humanists like Jimmy Carter grope to excuse our darkest behaviors. "Yeah, we did something very wrong, but that mean old Amnesty International called us a bad name."
Let's get something straight. Amnesty International did not approve suspension of Geneva Convention rights for the Gitmo prisoners, nor did it decide to place them in a facility outside of the United States proper where Constitutional rights of the accused would not apply.
We did that.
Us. The United States of America. Remember? We're the guys who admonish everybody else about human rights and rule of law.
Amnesty International is the bad guy because it isn't on our side?
Hey. Amnesty International isn't supposed to be on our side. It isn't supposed to be on anybody's side.
Were they wrong to use the term "gulag" to describe the prison at Gitmo?
Guess what? It doesn't matter. Somebody using a wrong word doesn't make the reality of Gitmo all right.
And Bush's Gitmo not being as bad as Stalin's gulag doesn't make Bush's Gitmo all right either.
Unless, of course, we've adopted Stalin as our moral benchmark, and anything we do is okay as long as it isn't as bad as anything Stalin did.
I'll tell you something Uncle Joe didn't do though; he didn't cook his intelligence to justify going to war with Hitler. So maybe all these crybabies wringing their hands about comparing us to him should just SHUT THE HELL UP!
Mattias Karen of Associated Press reports that global military spending broke $1 trillion in 2004. U.S. military spending accounted for nearly half of the amount, and that's not counting expense of the War on Terror, Homeland Security, and other hidden costs.
The good news? Saddam Hussein's 2004 military spending was $0 trillion.
To set the record straight:
No, I don't agree that Guantanamo is George W. Bush's gulag.
But I hope it's his Waterloo.