Amnesty International: “Absurd, My Ass!”

Okay, not quite, but close:
In a letter to the editor published Saturday in The New York Times, William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International, responded to President Bush's widely-published charge that the group's charges of wide human rights abuses in the war on terror were "absurd." Schulz called the charge "ironic."

If Amnesty's reports are so "absurd," Schulz asked, "why did the administration repeatedly cite our findings about Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war? Why does it welcome our criticisms of Cuba, China and North Korea? And why does it cite our research in its own annual human rights reports?”
Huh. Good questions all. I think the answer has something to do with “hypocrisy,” but that’s the answer to so many such questions these days, that it hardly brings a modicum of satisfaction to point it out anymore.
"No amount of spin can erase the myriad human rights abuses committed by United States officials in the 'war on terror.' The United States cannot simultaneously claim that it 'promotes freedom around the world' while detaining tens of thousands at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and in Iraq and other locations without charge or trial and allowing those civilian and military officials responsible for orchestrating a systematic policy of torture to escape accountability."
A response to this, which would necessarily invoke the concept of “irony,” also fails to rouse much satisfaction, nor, in fact and unfortunately, much surprise.
"Instead of attacking us, President Bush should insist upon a truly thorough, independent investigation of those who tried to circumvent global prohibitions on torture, and he should open all detention centers to scrutiny by independent human rights groups. Only then will the world be able to judge whether it is Amnesty International or the president whose perspective deserves to be called 'absurd.'"
The list of things that President Bush should do, but won’t, is so long that it has itself become truly absurd.

I salute Amnesty International’s attempts to register, once again, discontentment with the Bush administration’s hypocrisy, ironic posturing, and abject incompetence. The problem we face, however, is that there seems to be a finite number of Americans with whom such concerns actually register, and we’re so saturated with examples that we’re suffering from a collective case of outrage fatigue so severe that we have been left completely without the ability to discern whether we should laugh or cry anymore.

There’s far too much shock, anger, and indignation to go around, and far too few people informed enough to carry the burden of maintaining the requisite contempt for this administration that it deserves.

This is yet another great failing of our media—to leave us, those all too small in number who are fighting the good fight against the powers that would see our democracy undermined and our country doomed to its very ruination, carrying upon each of our shoulders far too much, while the rest of our citizens remain blissfully unaware of our thankless task.

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