Thursday, June 02, 2005

Amnesty International's Cheap Politics - Updated

From the Chicago Tribune:
By labeling the U.S. anti-terrorism prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the "gulag of our times," the people of Amnesty International must think we're stupid or ignorant. Stupid or ignorant enough to fall for the assertion that whatever is happening at Guantanamo is the legal and moral equivalent of what happened in the hundreds of slave labor and concentration camps scattered throughout the former communist Soviet Union. Equivalent to a system that brutalized tens of millions, of which untold millions died of starvation, exposure, exhaustion, torture, illness or execution.
Yes, comparing 525 well-fed prisoners to millions of dead and tens of millions of prisoners in brutal conditions in the Gulag of the Soviet Union. Some history:
Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, in her Pulitzer-Prize winning book, "Gulag: A History," figures that from 1928 through 1953, about 24 million people passed through the various camps, many in brutal Siberia or other remote regions. That's more than twice Cuba's entire population. Among them were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of prisoners of World War II. She estimated that 600,000 were Japanese, who were kept in the slave camps for years after the end of the war. Few ever made it home.
Either Amnesty International isn't aware of this history, or it knows of it but is lying for the sake of a good sound bite. In either case, the group has lost credibility to speak on behalf of the victims of human-rights violations. Moreover, Amnesty International has dishonored millions of gulag victims.
Read the whole thing

Update 6/5/05

Amnesty USA Executive Director William Schultz went on Fox News Sunday to deliver a non-defense. His responses were filled with "don't know for sure," "I have no idea," "I have absolutely no idea" and finally:
Asked about the comparison, Schulz said, "Clearly this is not an exact or a literal analogy."
But, of course he goes on to repeat the charge he can't back up. Reuters


tradersmith said...

I saw that same interview.

At the end, he was just happy that he got the company line onto national TV. He said if Amnesty hadn't made up the story, he wouldn't be on TV, would it? So he said it was worth it and Amnesty has no regrets because it gave them exposure.

I think the guy was clueless as to the damage it caused his organization.

Ron said...

Swatter, I didn't see that part. Clueless, totally.