Krauthammer v. Human Rights Advocates

by Laurence on 3/18/2005 · 7 comments

From Charles Krauthammer’s interesting article in today’s Washington Post:

The international left’s concern for human rights turns out to be nothing more than a useful weapon for its anti-Americanism. Jeane Kirkpatrick pointed out this selective concern for the victims of U.S. allies (such as Chile) 25 years ago. After the Cold War, the hypocrisy continues. For which Arab people do European hearts burn? The Palestinians. Why? Because that permits the vilification of Israel — an outpost of Western democracy and, even worse, a staunch U.S. ally. Championing suffering Iraqis, Syrians and Lebanese offers no such satisfaction. Hence, silence.

Subscribe to receive updates from Registan

This post was written by...

– author of 618 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

For information on reproducing this article, see our Terms of Use


Nathan March 18, 2005 at 8:41 pm

Interesting. I’m working on a rather long essay on Craig Murray that kind of touches on this. But not just that because I’ve touched on it so many times alreayd…

Tim Newman March 19, 2005 at 2:11 am

Actually, the left did have a concern for Saddam’s victims, but only for the brief period where the US supported him during the Iran-Iraq war. Kinda proves your point.

Mark Hamm March 21, 2005 at 1:30 am

Don’t you think all people do this, emphasizing situations that back up their world view? Change the countries and situations and you could be condeming the right-wing.

Sounds like a lawyer arguing how his client loves puppies and kittens and other side is a black-hearted beast that regularly kills and eats babies.

Tim Newman March 21, 2005 at 7:24 am

You’re right, of course Mark.

Hilary Matthews March 22, 2005 at 5:43 am

This is an interesting argument, but it’s important to distinguish between what human rights activists say and what the media covers. Amnesty, for example, has issued reports every year for the last two decades condemning Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – ie. – but these things rarely (if ever) made the front pages.

AI has repeatedly condemned Palestinian suicide bombings – ie., but again, how widely has this been reported?

AI regularly puts out reports on human rights abuses in Syria – ie. and Iran. They’ve also had a great deal to say about human rights abuses in Cuba, China, Laos and Vietnam.

Unless you look directly at what groups like Amnesty are saying, it’s difficult to get a balanced view of what they do, and what their motivations are.

You can browse the full AI library for the last nine years at:

Nathan March 22, 2005 at 12:08 pm

You’re right Hilary, but when the US is involved in any way, the tone of the coverage changes to how the US is to blame in some way. I know that’s certainly the case with HRW in Uzbekistan.

The more important point is that it’s not necessarily the employees of the organizations that are at issue here. The lay activists are the ones who display selective concern, and they’re the ones who are the worst offenders.

Previous post:

Next post: