Wednesday, May 25, 2005

We're Number One! We're Number One! We're Number One!

Here's a headline we never expected to see: U.S. leads global attack on human rights. "The USA as the unrivaled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behavior worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.

Now, our sainted mother used to use this approach on us when it came to being a role model for our younger siblings. "They look up to you," she would intone in her best mother voice. Our old daddy had a more succinct way of putting it: "Monkey see, monkey do."

Apparently that's the argument Secretary Khan is making. "When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said.

Press Secretary Scott McClellan, responding to the accusation in the report said, "Hey. If you want to make an omelet, you got to break a few eggs." When asked if those "eggs" were Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Bagram he said, "The president has denounced the use of torture, but hey, these are brown people OK? I mean, come on, it's not like they even liked us in the first place."

"The U.S. government has gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Convention and to 're-define' torture," Secretary Khan said, citing the secret detention of suspects and the practice of handing some over to countries where torture was not outlawed. "Governments are trying to subcontract torture."

"Well it's not like we're the only industry out sourcing, "Secretary of Defense Rumsfield said at a recent news conference. "I mean have you looked at the size of that deficit lately? Do you know how much torture costs in the United States because of the unions? We're just being good stewards with the public's money, that's all."

When asked if the government was trying to get around its own prohibition on torture be re-defining the term Rumsfield responded, "Oh we don't 'torture' anybody. Occasionally we do apply modes of interpellation, the residue of which may be dolorous, but 'torture?' Never."

President Bush, in taking issue with the findings of the report said, "This country was founded on and dedicated to the cause of human dignity. Of course, some of us have more dignification than others. Besides, I'm the war president. Bring it on Osama."

The increasingly blurred distinction between the war on terror and the war on drugs prompted governments across Latin America to use troops to tackle crimes traditionally handled by police, the report said. In Asia too, the war on terror was blamed for increasing state repression, adding to the woes of societies already worn down by poverty, it added.

"Look. What do we care if they use tanks to pull over speeders?" McClellan said, "We got own own problems. Did you hear about the Town Hall infiltrators? Our president is in danger of finding out people think his policies suck."

"Let me put all this in perspective for you," Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said. "The terrorists aren't American citizens, they don't pay taxes, they don't contribute to the Republican party and they don't vote. They wanted Terri Schiavo dead and they're for stem cell research. So it's quite within our policies for them to be tortured in foreign countries. I know that because I'm the Secretary of friggin' State and it's my job to know stuff like that. You think the President would appoint a dope to a job as important as this?"

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