Sometime in the 1970s, I sent a donation to Amnesty International. As soon as I heard that a group had been formed to combat torture, I knew I had to support it.
Unfortunately, like almost all international and most domestic groups, the Left took over Amnesty International, and it devolved into another predictably anti-American, morally destructive organization.
That devolution was most apparent years ago when Amnesty International listed the United States as a major violator of human rights because it executed murderers. The organization's inability to morally distinguish between executing murderers and executing innocent people means that Amnesty International is worse than ineffectual; the good it has done notwithstanding, it is becoming harmful to the cause of human rights.
Amnesty International reached its nadir two weeks ago when the secretary general of the organization, Irene Khan, branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our times." And rather than fire her, Amnesty International has defended her. Among her defenders is the American head of Amnesty International, William Schultz, who apparently loves America as much as he loves moral clarity. He said on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" that he acknowledges that there is a difference "in scale" between Gulag and Guantanamo, but otherwise the comparison is apt.
For the record, at Guantanamo there are about 520 prisoners, the vast majority, if not all, of whom have been rounded up in anti-terror warfare. They were non-uniformed terrorists who are not subject to Geneva Convention rules on prisoners. But even if they did wear uniforms, they would await release at the end of hostilities. They are, even according to Schultz, provided with medical care and a fine diet that honors their religious codes, and they are allowed to practice their religion.
Now compare the estimated 20-30 million prisoners sent to the string of camps across the Soviet Union. They obtained no medical care, were served portions of food inadequate to human survival, and were frozen and worked to death by the millions. Moreover, virtually everyone sent there was entirely innocent of any crime. Every prisoner of the Gulag would have given anything to be a prisoner in Guantanamo.
Calling Guantanamo "Gulag" smears America and trivializes the suffering and deaths of millions upon millions of innocent people. But this does not matter to leftist organizations and their defenders in the mainstream media. What matters is hatred of President Bush.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”