Tortured Stance On Human Rights


Amnesty International released their report on human rights abuses, and it has a pretty scathing take on the United States. One of the top abuses they list are indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay, the imprisonment of conscientious objector soldiers, and the coercive interrogation policies in place. It’s not really surprising that the United States would be subject to scrutiny by AI, given the controversial nature of these practices domestically. (Although there’s a pretty strong argument to be made against COs in a volunteer military, unless that person enlisted before the United States was at war.) AI’s report is a reminder of how the Bush administration’s policies on war and torture damage the credibility of the United States when decrying other countries for humanitarian abuses. What the Bush administration has essentially done is used the second-tier excuse of human-rights abuses to invade Iraq, then piled on to the laundry list of human rights violations in the world with his own policies on torture and indefinite detention. The record on human rights had damaged the credibility of legitimate work Americans want to conduct on human rights abuses in the future, even given a new administration that is presumably less comfortable with torture.

Other practices by the United States in the report included were failure by the government to properly address sexual violence against Native American women, the criminal justice system that includes a death penalty, and victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who (still) lack access to housing.