Human Rights & the War on Terrorism
The Bush Administration insists that other countries adhere to international law but sets separate rules for itself. The U.S. even invents new categories of prisoners, “unlawful combatants,” and then carts them off to a military base in Cuba. People are held there and in Iraq and Afghanistan in poor conditions with little or no legal redress. The abuses and humiliations inflicted on Iraqis have shocked the world. The official report describes what happened as “sadistic, blatant and wanton.” Outside the prison walls in Falluja and elsewhere, thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed. The Red Cross, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have all condemned Washington for its excessive use of force, collective punishment and torture.
Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, the New York-based organization that investigates and reports on human rights abuses. A graduate of Yale and Brown, he was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington.