26 June 2012

What Moral Authority?

Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp
I'm loath to criticize President Obama when he's running against a coin-operated automaton like Mitt Romney, but the President's human rights record is abysmal.

President Obama, and by extension the US, has squandered the necessary high-ground for credible human rights advocacy around the world.
  1. The President didn't close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp despite a January 22, 2009 promise to close the camp within a year;
  2. The President did not immediately end the war in Afghanistan, rather he escalated troops; and
  3. The President has overseen the use of drone strikes.
In an Op-Ed called A Cruel and Unusual Record, former President Jimmy Carter says:
The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.
Carter is dead right.

US foreign policy, specifically its human rights record under the George W. Bush administration and continued under the Barack Obama administration, has cost the US whatever moral authority it had to decry human rights abuses around the world.

Pakistan furious as US drone
strike kills civilians
President Carter reminds us that in 1948 the US led the way in adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Fast forward 62 years -- Now the US targets people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens.

With little public outcry, drone strikes and assassinations have been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions. Controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, the US has made hundreds of drone attacks in Pakistan alone since 2004.
As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.
~ Jimmy Carter
How does the world at large view these activities?  See for yourself -- this Guardian poll asks, Is Jimmy Carter right that drones have cost the US moral authority?

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