Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Empire Becomes the Glass House
The US State Department issued its annual report on human rights around the world, specifically excoriating China for its "poor" record, noting instances of "harassment, detention, and imprisonment" of those opposing the government. Also noted were torture, physical abuse leading to deaths of detainees, forced labor, coercive birth policies, trafficking in women and children, restrictions on free speech, assembly, religion, and severe government corruption. This is hardly a new phenomenon; in fact, it pretty much occurs every year. This year, however, the defensive response of China and other governments criticized has particular resonance. "No country should exclude itself from the international human rights development process or view itself as the incarnation of human rights that can reign over other countries and give orders to the others" said Premier Wen Jiabao's cabinet. Other countries responses were in accord. Particular mention was given to the Empire's tendency towards torture (Abu Ghraib), indisciminate killing of civilians during military operations, and of course, the famous legal "black hole," Guantanamo. The dribbling away of the US's international standing in human rights is the natural effect of the rulers here who thought that the ends justified the means. It seems that the Empire's actions, once again, have come back to haunt it.