Washington Post journalist Glen Kessler, who wrote up the now infamous Condi Rice interview at Stanford from a YouTube video without mentioning his source, has now begun assaulting the new Obama administration with a series of unsubstantiated and tendentious claims about ‘human rights.’
Kessler now has attempted to portray a new administration unconcerned with human rights – through Kessler’s own structural confusion between concern for human rights and hawkish foreign policy. Thus, quoting the present executive director of Freedom House (whose ‘freedom’ index is modeled, as Wikipedia notes, on that of the Heritage Foundation), Obama and the new crew may, in terms of sanctioning human rights ‘pariah’ regimes like Burma and Sudan, have ‘some good people’, but their ‘instinct’ is to ‘abandon everything President Bush stood for.’
‘Human rights activists’, Kessler claims, are afraid the ‘pendulum’ will swing away from Bush’s ‘freedom’ and anti-tyranny agenda. Whose activists? Which rights?
The critics include:
• AEI’s neo-conservative Joshua Muravchik (‘freedom agenda’ = model of US manifest destiny via his variant of how the US strategies for Exporting Democracy (1991), viz., government and constitution as a commodity;
• Lorne Cramer, Bush’s former Asst. Sec. for Human Rights at State (enough said);
• Omar Ismail, described as an influential human rights activist from Darfur (which maybe true), except that the only reference to him available via Google News is a March 3rd Dallas Morning News article on the subject of Darfur by Jessica Meyers based on a group that organized a conference at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where Ismail has lived now for ten years after escaping ‘to Egypt’ after being jailed and tortured by the Sudanese regime;
• Eric Reeves, a Literature Professor at Smith College who can indeed be said to be a Darfur activist campaigning there for human rights.
The links on Reeves’ web-page do get us to some ‘human rights activists’ if this is associated with known organizations with known campaigns and known members. Reeves lists: Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, and Refugees International.
I wonder why Mr. Kessler did not try to call these organizations for an assessment of how the ‘human rights’ outlook of the new Administration is shaping up?