U.S. Human Rights Policy: Rhetoric & Practice
December 10, 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the seminal human rights document. The U.S. stresses human rights in its foreign policy; however, its application is selective. Abuses in, say, Saudi Arabia, are ignored, while those in Cuba are the focus of much attention. In October 1997, Amnesty International issued a report charging the U.S. criminal justice system with “a persistent and widespread pattern of human rights violations.”
Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 90, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, Power Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.