Reaction to Criticism

Amnesty recently came out with a report detailing the US practices violating human rights in Guantanamo and beyond. Most conservative and Republic commentary has focused on the word “gulag” used by Irene Khan in the press conference instead of the torture and other activities of the US government. Here is Bush expressing his opinion about the report.

I’m aware of the Amnesty International report, and it’s absurd. […] It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report.


Dick Cheney said Monday he was offended by Amnesty International’s condemnation of the United States for what it called “serious human rights violations” at Guantanamo Bay.

“For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously.”

“Guantanamo’s been operated, I think, in a very sane and sound fashion by the U.S. military. … I think these people have been well treated, treated humanely and decently,” Cheney said. “Occasionally there are allegations of mistreatment.

“But if you trace those back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who has been inside and been released … to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated.”

On the other side of the world, via Dad, Mukhtaran Bibi is not being allowed to move about freely while the people who raped her have been freed by the courts.

Mukhtaran, the Meerwala gang-rape victim, has accused the government of forcibly restricting her movement so that she could not meet her lawyers and sympathizers.

[…] Mukhtaran said some federal government officials had recently visited her and advised her not to talk to journalists and rights activists if she wanted the government to be on her back. Their logic was that her media exposure painted a bad image of the country in the international community. “No one will have to seek help of the media and the rights activists if police and courts in the country dispense justice without any prejudice,” she remarked.

And to save the national reputation, she is not allowed to go abroad, after all she got the invitation from that “disgusting” and “absurd” organization, Amnesty International.

The interior ministry has placed Mukhtaran Mai’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Sources in the ministry told Dawn on Friday that Mukhtaran Mai had been scheduled to leave for London in a day or two on an invitation from the Amnesty International.

“Her name has been placed on the ECL with a directive to the Federal Investigation Agency to ensure compliance,” an officer of the FIA said.

The official said the government had taken the decision on reports that her visit could ‘tarnish’ the image of the country abroad.

Wow! Her going abroad and talking about what happened to her would tarnish the country’s reputation but the gang rape and acquittal of the rapists didn’t?

Don’t Bush and Cheney wish they could do freely what Musharraf, the “enlightened moderate,” so easily can?

POSTSCRIPT: Chapati Mystery is right and Kristof is wrong. This is what Musharraf is. He is doing what dictators do.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. Mukhtaran Bibi: Sentenced to Be Raped

    The New York Times reports: …In June 2002, the police say, members of a high-status tribe sexually abused one of Ms. Mukhtaran’s brothers and then covered up their crime by falsely accusing him of having an affair with a high-status…

  2. Powerful rulers (President of USA or dictators) believe in the following two rules:

    (1) that the boss is right
    (2) that, if boss is not right, then the first rule holds good.

    Was it not only USA who dropped Atom Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing, in a matter of minutes, hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens including aged men / women and infants ?

    Was it not USA that killed millions of Vietnamese in their home land ?

    Was it not USA who dropped Daisy Cutters and radio active shells in Afghanistan and also dropped Nepam type bombs on Qila Jangi in Afghanistan burning alive thousands of chained captives ? And the killing still continues.

    Was it not USA who attacked Iraq in January, 1991 killing thousands of innocent women and children ?

    Is it not USA that is continuing killing people in Iraq for the last about two years ?

    Was that not done by USA what was revealed about Abu Ghraib prison by the American soldiers themselves ?

    How will Bush and Cheney explain the pictures of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay which have been published by print media ?

    There is such a long list of American atrocities that I do not have enough strength to keep on writing.

    Last, but not the least, Bush supports Pervez Musharraf and ranks him as his friend while Pervez Musharraf is a power-grabber, dictator and the biggest violator of human rights as being a ruler of a country.

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  4. The previous comment took things over the top by a large margin. And, I am afraid that I must respond forcefully.

    First, let me address the statement that implied similarity between dictators and the President of the US. I think the overt statement applies rather well to most all forms of government. All governments possess an agenda; in some this is called policy. Administrations regularly defend their policies until the people set them straight. The policy may very well be wrong headed, and the administration may know it. But, they will tow the political line until forced to concede. Global warming is a good example. But, the overt connection is the only connection. Implying that the President of the US and a dictator are the same is over the top. Every four years the US citizenry chooses whether the sum of an administration’s policies are acceptable by voting. Dictators regularly imprison, torture and murder those who even express a desire to make the same choice.

    Without doubt, the use of nuclear weapons against the Empire of Japan was a dark end to a dark war. But, consider the alternative. A million+ US combat troops would have poured onto the southern three islands in the Japanese archipelago. Before this occurred, strategic bombers would have unloaded countless tons of bombs on Japanese positions, bases, roads, rail lines and cities to soften the defenders. Once ashore, fighting would have raged in the cities as well as the countryside. Instead of two cities, most urban centers on the three southern islands would have been destroyed by bombing, artillery duals and house-to-house fighting. Soldiers and civilians alike would have died in droves. The elderly, woman and infants die just the same in a hale of bullets or artillery as in a nuclear fire ball. Truman’s choice was between many American deaths and a country ruined or two cities. Let us not be so quick to let biases color our judgment about this choice.

    Vietnam was a limited war between superpower clients. Russia funneled support to the North, and the US overtly backed the South. Yes, many died, including Americans. All parties chose the path of war, but the North Vietnamese were willing to pay the high price of victory. Remember, the North conquered the South in the end.

    Given the direct connection between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the greater portion of the global community supported US actions against the Taliban. The United States used conventional weapons to attack legitimate military targets. Daisy Cutters are simply big conventional bombs. Depleted uranium is not only used for shells; it also is used in armor. The Bradley fighting vehicle uses depleted uranium in its armor. So, you see, US troops are exposed to similar minimal radiation hazards. These shells might pose a problem some years after the war, when they degrade, but the removal of spent ordnance can remove any potential threat.

    Let us not forget why the US attacked Iraq in 1991. Saddam overran his completely harmless, though oil rich, neighbor to the south. His regime then proceeded to strip the country of its wealth, including incubators for prematurely born infants. The US than secured a UN resolution allowing the use of force to remove Saddam’s forces should negotiations fail. At the time of the First Gulf War, Saddam possessed one of the larger standing armies on Earth and chemical weapons. Tactical and strategic strikes were prudent measures to take before attempting to eject his ground forces from Kuwait. The First Gulf War is clearly an instance in which the US cast its might on the side of right.

    As for the prison abuse, I can say but three things. First, I am sorry for those who suffered even minor violations of their rights, and I am ashamed that this happened at facilities controlled by my country. This is unacceptable. Second, note carefully that the whole world knows about this. Third, the same cannot be said of far worse abuses that regularly occur in China, Egypt and other nations.

    The Second Gulf War was a bad move for the US. Politically, economically, and militarily this move hurt and continues to hurt my country. It has certainly hurt the Iraqis and will continue to do so for the medium term. They may come out ahead in the end if a democratic regime can emerge from the current upheaval. I want the US troops removed from Iraq as much as the next man, but I also realize that the United States must now pay in blood and dollars for this folly. It must help Iraq establish a representative, democratic government in order to even partially compensate for the suffering caused by the invasion.

    But, I cannot stop by merely addressing rhetorical questions. I must raise a few of my own.

    Regardless of later difficulties, when the guns of August fell silent, was it not America’s Woodrow Wilson who brought the idea of self-determination to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference?

    When the Nazis’ wave of darkness threatened to blot out the last democratic glimmer in Europe, did not the US figure prominently in stemming and reversing the tide?

    When the Empire of Japan waged war across Asia and the Pacific, did the US sit idle?

    When WWII ended, did not the US help rebuild Europe with the Marshall Plan and later airlift food to West Berlin?

    Was not the current freedom of S. Korea paid for with both Korean and American blood?

    Which nation is the largest single donor of foreign aid?

    Which nation, despite comments by the current administration, believes in the promise of the UN enough to pay 25% of its budget and host its headquarters?

    When the tsunami hit south Asia, did not the US use its navy to support relief efforts?

    Was it fear and hatred of America’s “atrocities” that lead German AWACS to patrol America’s skies and Japanese naval vessels to support America’s Afghanistan operations after September 11, or was it recognition of something else?

    Yes, the US and its people have made mistakes and engaged in morally dubious activities. We regret some now and will regret others later. But, they have also proved capable of rising to the great and noble ideals posited by the Founding Fathers. Ask yourself this: would you and the global community be so critical if the US had not previously set such a good example of righteous action on the global stage?

  5. This comment thread has taken a turn which I had not intended at all. So I’ll let you two slog it out. Suffice it to say that I consider US behavior over the last 50 or 100 years to be much better than most countries but not as good as most Americans believe.

  6. The accused in Mukhtaran Mai’s case have not been freed! They are still in the jail if i remember from the news post in the Dawn.

  7. One rape happens in Pakistan every hour, and one rape happens every 10 minutes in the US. I would advise Kristoff to clean his own back yard before crusading for the injustices of Pakistani women as if he had a personal agenda.

    Undoubtedly Musharraf’s comment was bogus, and clearly laws in Pakistan are draconian toward all women and minorities. But lets call a spade a spade and not run behind this as if it was Musharraf who carried out the rapes himself.

    He’s a dictator, I for one find the fact unpalatable, but even as his greatest critics I must say that women’s emancipation has increased leaps and bounds since he came. We’re a society in transition, such issues becoming a national crisis are an indication that people are rejecting old norms and adopting higher standards of morality.

    Aisha Sarwari

  8. Taxi To the Dark Side

    It’s a documentary about Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver, who was tortured and murdered as well as the torture policies of the Bush administration. I provide a lot of links to information about torture.

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