A U.S. Army Soldier facing a court martial for killing a 6-year old ethnic Albanian boy, needed the best defense. His lawyers did not deny that the soldier was involved in the unfortunate incident. Their defense revolved around a character witness, the boy's father. Deli Rexhepi, who lost his son to an accidental burst of fire from Pfc. Nicholas Young's gun, came to the rescue. He told the court "I consider Mr. Young a member of my family". The testimony by the boy's father carried the day and the American soldier was acquitted.
Why was Deli Rexhepi willing to go to bat for the man who killed his child? Because, he knew it was an accident. And even in his grief, he could not forget that it was American soldiers like private Young who saved the Kosovar Alabanians from Milosovic and his goons.
For the cause of securing the human rights of the Kosovar Albanians, the United States and its NATO allies went to war with Yugoslavia. So, it must come as a great shock that the United States has lost its seat in the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Truth be told, the United States is sort of neutral about human rights. In Kosovo, we sent our men into harm's way to put an end to Milosovic's reign of terror. In the West Bank and Gaza, we actually pick up the bill for the Israeli thugs tormenting the Palestinians. In a recent vote on a resolution to protect the Palestinians, the United States sided with Guatemala against all the other 53 members of the Commission. A number of the European delegates accused the United States of handing over the American veto to the Israelis. No doubt, it was an American vote determined on domestic considerations, like campaign contributions and making nice with the pro-Israeli media barons; Sulzberger, Ted Turner and Murdoch. Upholding human rights was not even an issue for the American delegation with ironclad instructions to vote according to Israeli preferences. If Colin Powell wants to cut back spending at the State Department, he should just merge our delegation into the Israeli delegation at the United Nations and let Tel Aviv handle the 'nuisance' of haggling with France over human rights.
The American mass media, led by William Safire of the New York Times, the lord of mendacity, has spun the unlikely story that the Sudan was favored over the United States. Moronic pundits all over the airwaves have taken to framing America's woes as being the result of a dark international conspiracy by the evil empire, which these days, constitutes pretty much the rest of the planet. The fact is France, Austria and Sweden won the three seats reserved for the West. Now, if anyone doubts that these three Western European democracies have a better human rights record than the good old US of A, they have not been paying attention.
It is common knowledge that the American record on Palestinian human rights is a result of blatant appeasement of the Israeli lobby. The State Department Middle East desk is on permanent loan to "The Lobby". When you lend out your veto, sometimes you don't get it back.
In the ensuing rage over the loss of the American seat on the commission, the New York Times "journalist' like Safire has the gall to pose as 'a defender of human rights'. This man never met an Israeli torture chamber operator he didn't like and has a well-established history of being a sly advocate of repression. In recent columns he reasserted his support of My Lai style pacification policies during the Vietnam War; he supported Pinochet and was a vocal supporter of death squads in Central America; he was against sanctions in South Africa and has been more Likudnik than Sharon, a serial war criminal.
Safire, the old windbag, sets up easy targets for himself. The grand inquisitor wants to know "who where the 14 nations and that supposedly assured us of their support and then double-crossed us to elevate a slave trader into the seat we were forced to vacate?" The actual candidates for the three seats in question were America, France, Sweden and Austria. Now, that was the only question that was being decided and we all know the outcome. For a change, the three nations with the best human rights record won. Sweden has long been acknowledged as a country that blazed a trail for the rest of the human race by its very early embrace of individual rights. Austria has a similar record. As for France, it not only has a better record than America on this subject, it is a power in its own right and has the ability to lead the west in an area where America has fallen far short of passing grades.
If the American government continues to give a carte blanche to every Israeli excess, to ignore the plight of the Kurds, to turn a blind eye to Chechnya, to make religious and racial bigotry an integral part of its foreign policy equation, to treat the rest of the world with general disdain and to generally approach the human rights agenda without conviction, it deserves to lose a seat on the commission. True enough, there are countries on the commission that have abysmal human rights records. But this vote came down to a choice of which European/American western democracies would do the best job on the commission. America didn't make the cut.
This is yet another failure of policy, by an administration that has developed a habit of coming up short. One would hope that it would lead them to take a little inventory. Perhaps too much of our sovereignty has been put in the hands of the Israeli Lobby and the price is getting a little steep. The New York Times writes of "triumphant anti-Americanism", when maybe the world is just fed up with America swallowing, aiding and abetting every act of Israeli tyranny.
Is Deli Rexhepi, who saved Nicholas Young from a certain prison term, anti-American? Are the Europeans anti-American? Safire should talk to his people in Tel Aviv and tell them to stop abusing the American veto. To continue to do so, is to stab America in the back. And no amount of campaign contributions from the Israel Firsters will make up for our loss of face on the world stage.