Friday, March 9, 2007

State Department Tells It Straight

State Department Tells It Straight

The State Department issued its annual human rights report yesterday and, to its credit, it didn’t “pull any punches.” Citing everything from the actual deterioration of human rights in China in recent years to the on- going genocide in Darfur, Sudan, the report exposed repression in all its ugly forms. Also highlighted were the disturbing trend of limiting dissent in Russia and the increasingly repressive regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

I have been in D.C. for 35 years, and I can tell you there is always incredible pressure to downplay human rights violations so as to not harm U.S. business interests in offending countries. But, State’s Office of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has been holding the torch for human liberty.

Of course, the bash-America-first crowd was quick to attack the report, because it didn’t highlight any of our shortcomings. Secretary Condoleezza Rice had a good response:

“We do not issue these reports because we think ourselves perfect, but rather because we know ourselves to be deeply imperfect, like all human beings and the endeavors that they make. Our democratic system of governance is accountable, but it is not infallible. We are nonetheless guided by enduring ideals.”

(Gary Bauer; End-of- Day; 3/7/07)