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May 27, 2004

Amnesty International Report

Before anyone dismisses (damn,
too late, Thanks White House) the Amnesty International 2004 on global human rights issues, let's bear in mind they have been around for decades. Let's all be aware that they recorded countless crimes of Saddam Hussein and other despots long before we were paying attention.

Though their critics don't like what they have to say, the group has credibility.

Newsweek online interviewed the Amnesty International USA executive director William F. Schulz. An excerpt:
What do you recommend to U.S. and other troops in Afghanistan and Iraq now combating local resistance to their occupation? Is force never the best option?

Amnesty International is not a pacifist group, and we are not suggesting use of force is inappropriate in responding to armed groups. But using force alone in fighting the war on terror is like repairing a television set with nothing but a hammer. In addition to the use of force you need other forms of persuasion and other insights and greater wisdom. In Afghanistan, while of course there will be need for security there that can only be provided by military presence, there’s also a need to build a civil society. There’s a need to demonstrate to the larger percentage of the Afghan population that their interests are better served by pursuing a peaceful course that includes a civil society, democratic elections, a free press—all of the guarantees of economic welfare and political stability that come with a fully developed society. That can’t happen by force alone.

Why did Amnesty decide to do this study on armed groups now?

The right to security is every bit as important a right as the right to liberty. Article Three of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ensures that we have a right to be safe in our homes. So armed groups are committing some of the most serious violations in the world. When governments reply with violations of their own, you have the most sustained attack on human rights in the last 50 years. The second reason is because the growth of these armed groups demonstrates that the war on terror is not working. The way in which the war on terror is being conducted is in fact not making us safer but has resulted in a proliferation of armed groups. Since 9/11, terrorist activities—activities by armed groups—have generally increased. The number of armed groups we ourselves have tracked has grown by some 14 to 16 percent.

This reality needs to be stopped and Bush is not the man to do it. Prove me wrong. Use your best argument to convince me that not only will he make it worse but that Bush will be, categorically, better than Kerry.