Here’s a bit of international human rights perspective: In the United States (and other Western democracies, such as Canada, Australia, Israel etc.) a murderer can go free if the police violate someone’s fundamental rights in the investigative process. I’m not talking about beating a guy with a hose either. Nope, the murderer can walk if the police, say, fail to include a material fact in a search warrant that led to an important piece of evidence. Bad paragraph in the warrant and the killer goes free. That’s how stringent the standards are regarding state interference on our liberties.
Conversely, there are many countries where it isn’t uncommon for someone to just disappear into the night after a knock on the door by government officials. No impartial trier of fact, no rights, just the state saying it’s time for you to go. And the “crimes” are often not what we in the West have become accustomed to watching on reruns of NYPD Blue. Printing or speaking one’s thoughts are often enough to send you to a prison camp or worse.
So which countries would you expect to be in the top five list for most UN human rights complaints? If you believe the UN is a legitimate, impartial institution focused on making the world a better place, you’d likely say North Korea or some other dictatorship. If you believe the UN is a corrupt, dysfunctional world body that gives a legitimate voice to the world’s worst regimes you’d probably pick the U.S. and Israel. If you believed the latter, you were right.
On one hand we have Bush going on national television, taking responsibility for what went wrong with Katrina relief efforts and launching an immense program for renewal, and on the other hand we have Senator Landrieu continuing her vow to punch out Bush, or anyone else for that matter, who dares criticize her state’s efforts. Somehow I don’t think we’ll be seeing this on ABC news.