State Dept: Bush’s Record On ‘Pushing For Human Rights’ Is As Good As Any Other President Or Country

Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Libyan leader Moamer Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam. In a press briefing yesterday leading up to the meeting, reporters pressed State Dept. spokesperson Sean McCormack on whether Rice would urge Libya to release Libyan activist Fathi al-Jahmi, a political prisoner who is gravely ill.

McCormack offered a defensive response: “I have to make it very clear we are concerned not only about Mr. al-Jahmi’s case, but other human rights cases around the world.” McCormack also claimed that President Bush’s human rights record could perhaps be the best in American history:

McCORMACK: And — and one thing I do take exception to is the idea that somehow we are not attentive to pushing the issue of human rights, whether it’s in Libya or any place else around the world. I don’t think — I would put the record of this administration up against any American administration or any other government around the world in terms of promoting universal human rights and pushing for human rights.

Watch it (around 8:20):


Under the Bush administration, the world has witnessed torture, rendition, and the revocation of habeas corpus rights. Amnesty International’s 2008 report rips the United States’s human rights record, citing the following Bush policies:

— Indefinite military detention — Torture of detainees — Imprisoning soldiers refusing to serve in Iraq on grounds of conscience.  — Government response to Hurricane Katrina

In 2005, the Center on Democratic Performance at Binghamton University gave Bush a “D” on human rights. The “D” grade was down from a “C” in 2004, due to “reports on the use of political detention without trial, torture of political detainees, and the use of secret detention of political prisoners.” Bush’s record is nothing to be proud of.