Moral and ethical standards

Friday, May 19, 2006 at 18:07 | Posted in ethics, USA | 5 Comments

As Washington Post reports, a United Nations panel that monitors compliance with the World’s anti-torture treaty has called for USA to close their prison in Guantanamo Bay. The expert panel delivers sharp criticism in their 11 page report.

According to Washington Post:

The committee also expressed concern about allegations that the United States has established secret prisons, where the international Red Cross does not have access to the detainees. The report did not specifically say that such prisons existed, but stated the United States “should ensure that no one is detained in any secret detention facility under its de facto effective control.”

Pentagon released on Monday an initial list of persons ever held in Guantanamo Bay. That list does not specify what happened to former Guantanamo Bay detainees. This raises suspicions that some of them may be in secret prisons in other countries where they may face torture.

The U.N. panel concludes (quote from Washington Post):

The panel said the United States must halt all forms of torture committed by its personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq and investigate allegations thoroughly, prosecuting any staff found guilty.

The US blog Rhymes With Right quotes a passage of the Washington Post article and adds this comment:

And we should give this matter precisely as much respect as Saddamite Iraq gave UN resolutions over the years.

Heck, we just need to repudiate the entire corrupt UN organization.

This is exactly the attitude that the United Nations is ciriticizing USA for in the first place. The interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq were justified by implying that USA would hold a higher moral and ethical standard than the Taleban regime in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq. Guantanamo Bay and those secret prisons undermine the very justification of that intervention.

I am sure that the blogger did not mean it that way but Rhymes With Right actually says that the morals and ethics of USA are not and should not even be higher than those of Taleban and Saddam.

In addition to that, the blogger displays outstanding arrogance. Sure, if you do not like what is being said and thought about you, just repudiate all criticism and those that deliver it. No wonder USA is about to loose the rest of us who consider ourselves to be its friends.


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  1. My argument is that the UN is an organization which is morally bankrupt and which has forfeited any right to demand compliance with its ordinances and decrees. It will stand by in the face of genocide and human rights violations — even placing the most criminal of states in enforcement roles — yet demand to-the-letter compliance from the US and Israel (a member state which the UN clearly wishes to see destroyed by her neighbors). Just as the league of nations failed in the face of its own impotence, so to must the UN. Absent a world government (which I would oppose with every fiber of my being), there exists no structure or organization which can act in the face of the sovereignty of nations.

    So what I am saying is NOT that we should lower ourselves to the level of the Taliban and Saddamite Iraq, but that the failure of the organization to hold criminal regimes to even the most minimal of standards is a legitimate basis for refusing the US refusing to be held to a higher standard. After all, it is inherrantly unreasonable to hold one party in a fight to the Queensbury rules while allowing the other to use knives and clubs. Willingly submitting to such an unfair standard would be insane.

    So yes, i do repudiate the UN, and call upon my government to do the same. If we can form some organization with true standards of freedom, equality, and justice, then so be it — it will become an organization to which nations could aspire to join, having attained a level of civilization that would justify their membership. This current organization, like the League of Nations, has clearly failed in its purpose and merits all the respect of a naked vicar caught in a prostitute’s bed — all the high standards in the world and beautiful words about them cannot cover the shameful hypocrisy.

  2. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few other NGOs, have designated June Torture Awareness Month. I’ve created a blogroll you can join if you’re interested. You can find it here. The idea is that everyone is linked to from the blogroll, and in exchange, you discuss torture (as you already do), and link to the Torture Awareness site to help support the NGOs.

    There’s a lot of bloggers concerned about human rights abuse in the War on Terror. If we coordinate, we can show our support and help Amnesty and HRW make Torture Awareness Month a success!

  3. Rhymes, a part of your critisism at UN is justified. But endorsing people being held without trial and tortured (as Saddam and Taliban were/are notorious of doing) does in fact look like lowering oneself to their level.

  4. Under international law, these folks are unlawful combattants, The Geneva Conventions indicate that they may be held without charges for the duration of the conflict, and that they are not even entitled to the treatment accorded a Prisoner of War.

    If charged with anything, they are entitled only to trial before a military tribunal — and under historical customs of war, are actually subject to summary execution after a drumhead court martial in the field, generally to be followed by summary execution without appeal to any higher court.

  5. You are not seriously suggesting that the Geneva Conventions would stipulate torture and summary executions? Come on!

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