Sunday, January 29, 2006


Hang Them by the Neck Until They Are Straight, Straight, Straight

Okay, perhaps that's a bit unfair to Dean "Dead, Dead, Dead" Esmay, who now has been caught blindsided by the Bush Administration's latest anti-gay publicity stunt:

Odd US Vote at UN
The White House is
getting pretty strongly anti-gay, isn't it?

"Getting?" I mean, nice to see that Dean at least seems to recognize that there's something ugly about the U.S. going along with "an Iranian initiative to deny United Nations consultative status to organizations working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people."

As Scott Long, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch said: "It is astonishing that the Bush administration would align itself with Sudan, China, Iran and Zimbabwe in a coalition of the homophobic."

Astonishing, yes, but hardly surprising, as Dean seems to think, for a White House that shamelessly exploited homophobia to get out the evangelical vote in the 2004 presidential election.

Meanwhile, in comments on the Esmay post, we get nuggets like this:

"Human Rights Watch? Aren't they another Amnesty International in their ability to perceive minor faults in the US as being worse than major faults anywhere else (a group that thinks President Bush speaking up for a Marriage Amendment is more heinous than Iran actively stoning gays for even existing)? ...

"... The UN being the world's most important human rights institution? *snicker* More like the United States Army is the most important human rights institution."

We've heard all this before. The wingnuts rely on reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to buttress their cases against regimes they don't like - i.e. Iraq, Iran, Cuba, et. al. But whatever those organizations have to say about the status of human rights in the U.S. is, of course, biased and motivated by an anti-American agenda. The idea that Amnesty International "thinks President Bush speaking up for a Marriage Amendment is more heinous than Iran actively stoning gays for even existing" is of course preposterous. There is no evidence whatsoever that AI "thinks" that. But simply compiling a human rights report on the U.S. - as AI does for every other country in the world - is suspect in and of itself to the right wing.

Then the commenter offers the wonderfully informed opinion that "the United States Army is the most important human rights institution."

This is the typical wingnut conflation of the effectiveness of U.S. military interventions (regardless of whether they are always justified, no one can deny they are effective) with the broad need for human rights monitoring and action all around the globe. In other words, what the UN-bashers refuse to acknowledge is that while the UN has its problems and limitations, it serves as at least a better-than-nothing agent for protecting human rights in all the many places that the U.S. military is not (nor should be) invading.

Does this commenter think the people of East Timor "snicker" at the idea of the UN? The people of Liberia, Cambodia and Angola? All of these are places where the UN has had an undeniably positive effect on human rights protection. They are also places where the U.S., militarily or otherwise, has not had the resources or political will to do much of anything to change things.

It's always enlightening to hear the same people who demand that U.S. foreign policy be based entirely upon the narrow national interests of the United States, turn around and claim with no apparent sense of cognitive dissonance that the U.S. is somehow the best agent we've got for acting in the interests of every other country.

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