The Influences of US Double Standard in Human Rights in Present World as a Full Metal of Jacket
In terms of foreign policy, exceptionalism in the post-cold war era has created some troubling dilemmas:
First: the selection multilateralism as an option in foreign policy, not an obligation.
Second: exceptionalism as a key concept in American cultural studies that means, “American exceptionalism has been historically referred to as the perception that the United States differs qualitatively from other developed nations, because of its unique origins, national credo, historical evolution, and distinctive political and religious institutions”. As you know, this may bread arrogance, because it is being constantly repeated to the inhabitations of the US.
Third: is that exceptionalism may encourage the view that the ends are more important than the means, which in turn may promote hypocrisy and double standards.
Lipset as an American exceptionalism expert has said: “In a country that stresses success above all , people are led to feel that the most important thing is to wine the game , regardless of the methods employed in doing so such as Guantanamo By and Abu- Guriab.
When “Amnesty International” in May 2005 access the use of ” serious human rights violation ” because of Guantanamo prison, vice- president Dick Cheney expressed his disbelief that the United States could be described as a violator of human rights, as though such a charge was simply unthinkable”. (These cases is selected of class argument by Dr. Saeedabadi)
After this summery, I want to start the main argument about US Double Standard policy in human rights especially after President Bush took power in the Republican Party of the US. I start the argument with a philosophical point that talks about the total and the part.
There are three kinds of connection between the total and the part:
In the second part, the total represents itself by suppression and control of all parts the most manifest of which is the conflict between modern rationality and the total structure values and institutions. In this conflict, total structure such as human rights, common franchise in contrast with detail( part), regarding the equality before law are defined in contrast with detail differences such as gender, ethnicity , religion, nationality and it is claimed that all people around the world enjoy those rights independent from ethnicity, nationality, belief and gender.
On the other hand, in order that the total order proves truthfulness, the detail (part) order finally should be punished. This is another definition of globalization, but in third part or post-modern position, the pure and similar total represents through keeping and even aggravating the differences.
But in this time, these differences are inflationary randomly, meaningless and separately parts and don’t have any connection together, as a result these cases are represented with form of ethnical and religious prejudices and finally as a kind of fundamentalism that one of them are meaningless and irrelevant toward modern rationality. This condition that is based on generality insignificancies is increasingly observed in great American urbane especially in “New York” , the place that has different groups together in one general position that means capital market, consumption society and technological and medially culture. This is as an example for US Double Standard policy.
Iraq Abuses as an End of American Narrative
Most of the Guantanamo prisoners were and are deprived of their natural rights and the order and law of Geneva Conventions were not executed about them.
The Bush administration says that those men were all combatant, but has refused to treat them as the laws require.
“Under the Geneva Conventions, combatants captured in an international conflict must be treated as prisoners of war unless and until a ‘‘competent tribunal determines that a specific prisoner is not entitled to that status. The U.S. government chose not to convene such tribunals for the Afghanistan war captives even though it has routinely convened them in past hostilities “.2
But, the United States said that no one of the Taliban group was entitled as POW and most experts in international law opposed this claim and found it as an untenable speech.
In the other war, that is, Iraq war the United States insisted that no members of Al Qaeda deserved Geneva Conventions protection.
Some of these Guantanamo detainees were released but hundreds remain for long time and held without charges.
It seems good that it is talked about three categories of Prisoners at Guantanamo are unlawfully and untenably detained:
“1. The first group is Taliban soldiers. In the war between Afghanistan and America, the Geneva Conventions permitted the United States to hold as prisoners without charges members of the Taliban government’s armed forces. But that war ended in June when the Hamid Karzai government assumed power in Kabul. The laws of war do not permit the continued detention of those soldiers unless they are being prosecuted for war crimes or other offenses. They should be released and repatriated.
“2. The second group consists of civilians who — according to news reports quoting unnamed U.S. intelligence officials — were mistakenly sent to Guantánamo. The laws of war permit the internment of civilians in a war only when such detention is imperative for security reasons. If there are indeed civilians at Guantánamo who have no connection to the Taliban or Al Qaeda and who are not being prosecuted, they too must be released.
“3. At least some suspected Al Qaeda members apprehended far from Afghanistan may have been brought to Guantánamo. Six, for example, were picked up in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The laws of war do not apply to persons who were not captured on a battlefield and who have no direct connection to an armed conflict “.3
President George W. Bush has repeatedly said that the war against terrorism is a war of values. This speech has published by President Gorge W. Bush as starter of Middle East wars, in the time that all people around the world observe the manifest breaking of human rights even rights of nonmilitary and also without any anxiety and worry about is result.
“The mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers was an inevitable outcome of the United States’ long-term exertion of hegemony and power politics in the world,” said Dong Yunhu, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies. He also added : ” The United States always pursued a double standard in the human rights sector, and it regarded itself as the incarnation of human rights, often criticizing other countries’ human right ‘problems’ and forcing other countries to obey international conventions on human rights, while it ignored its own human rights problems and willfully offended international convention Dong pointed out that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers ruined mankind’s basic dignity and ruthlessly trampled human rights.4
And also Chen said as a suggestion: “the fundamental solution to the prisoner abuse scandal is hinged on a fundamental change of US human rights policies. The United States should acknowledge its own problems in the human rights sector and give up its human rights double standard when dealing with international affairs “. Also I can refer to other experts who talk about US Double Standard such as Roger Normand who is executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, he said: “(Human rights) violations by the United States, such as the torture scandal in Iraq, have global repercussions”.5
Normand, who is currently working on a book on the United Nations and human rights, told IPS. He argued that Washington goes so far as to deny the very application of international law to its own actions and consistently covers up abuses by allies like Israel.
”This policy of double standards and U.S. exceptionalism poses a threat to the very existence of the human rights framework,” 6
So many of International law experts find fault with Bush’s attack as” war on terror” including interior experts and outer once and had criticized the trend of US foreign policy. In other word, in contrast with the new role of US that is protection of international and domestic security; the US has shifted to great treatment of international security.
Interventionism or Human Rights
“Human Rights” as an objective concept conflict with the principle of moral autonomy, and from an excuse and hegemony justification for oppression. Any oppression and interference with other people can be justified by claiming that it is necessary and useful to respect and establish certain rights and in other word , ” Human Rights” even the other people don’t want it. This is a gift that it wasn’t asked for that.
The things that west, especially the United States, thinks of its own, similar to Democracy, Liberty and other things ; they are seen as a gift, as I said, which the west must bring to the rest of the world that again named ” threat” without any logical reason.
In contrast with the policy of Double standard that American governors and administration in different times confirm and follow, it must be said that universal human rights and sovereignty that is collected by way of military intervention or any kind of intervention which is a kind of intervention in countries’ internal affairs, are two separate issues. But this was and is the standard view among foreign policy elites that possibly believe in universal human rights, but also in national sovereignty.
But it is clear to all that a justification of intervention does not logically follow human rights, even if those rights are violated. The superpowers in the world use various propaganda; for example there is the assertion that military intervention is necessary in the face of clear human rights violations as a kind of emotional propaganda. Some of the events are very clear and don’t need more explanation; for instance, the children that were dead because of ethnical dispute around the world for example in Bosnia; this is wrong and it doesn’t need the reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that says:
- Free and equal personhood: all human beings are born free and equal.
- Equal dignity: free and equal in dignity, free and equal in dignity.
- Equal creation or endowment: they are endowed with reason and conscience.
- Equal brotherhood: a spirit of brotherhood.
- Human agency: endowed with reason and conscience”. (Ignatieff, 2001, 6)7 to know it is wrong.
Even, in one country one will observe some behaviors as the torture that is, automatically, a reason of intervention such as military intervention and each of these countries including that the US owns that entitlement.
Each area needs to separate moral justification. I should add it that human rights interventionism is in any case historically recent.
“For centuries great powers justified their wars, with speaking of human rights. The atrocity story is a traditional part of wartime propaganda, but it is only since the 1950′s that it is called a ‘human rights violation’ – And not every legitimating of intervention is formulated in human-rights terms – the Genocide Convention, for instance, simply prohibits genocide. But in the media and political rhetoric, these formal distinctions are often ignored. (Genocide is referred to as a ‘human rights violation’, although it is more accurate to call it a crime in international law). Since the emergence of the mass media in 19th-century western states, it is the emotional impact of the atrocity story which counts”.8
I referred, in previous lines, that western powers try to consider and justify foreign interventionism wars by reference to human rights abuse, and other atrocities, while commit a great abuse in Iraq and established the centers of human rights abuse in Guantanamo and Abu-ghoriab that I referred to in previous paragraph. I should add a human right is an ethical construction used to justify a harmful act against another person, by claiming that undergoing the harmful act is an absolute moral entitlement, and that structurally the harmful action can not be judged morally wrong.
“In organizations like the NATO or the OSCE, the free market and human rights are always referred to together, as if they were the same thing. And because of that, in practice, they are. The long-term geopolitical reality is of an ideological war of global conquest, by a small number of market-democratic states: human rights form part of the ideology of this conquest”. 9
The supporting of human rights is the supporting of trade, free market and to reconstruct similar and uniform thinking. In other word, the glob goes to accumulation of culture and policy in all areas.
The protection of human rights political goal has another result in culture. According to the Max Horkheimer and Theodor. W. Adorner’s approach that talk about Industry of cultural unifying in the “Dialectic of enlightenment: Culture transfers unity to all of the things. It is American globalization. The perspective publishes similar values in the entire world:
Democracy, freedom and human rights-in the world that unifying culture happens all people think similarly and as the result act similarly. I can talk about this position in three areas of economic, political and cultural places.
In the economic area when culture becomes uniform, it is easy to control customer markets and the position of market is always saved.
In the politic area, if we have even any movement in the society because all people think in a uniform way, the government authorities can guess the direction of movements and finally can control conditions, and in cultural area , “all of the details of massive culture is similar”.( Horkheimer and Adorno,211)
The result of this industry (the cultural production’s industry) is the same circle that includes washing of human mind and fictitious needs by which the unity of the system is reinforced. This is briefly one reason of the moral duty and the American main role in the world that is fixed by military intervention and is justified by protection of human rights.
“The armed forces of the western powers have been busier since 1989 than they ever were during the Cold war, and the legitimizing language for this activity has been the defense of human rights. Yet the juridical status of a right of intervention is exceedingly unclear. (Simpson, 1999, 9)10
“Human rights may be universal, but support for coercive enforcement of their norms will never be universal. Because interventions will lack full legitimacy, they will have to be limited and partial, and as a result, they will be only partially successful”. (Ignatieff, 2001, 43)11
So, another area represents the concept of “double standard” policy except for news media is the area of art especially, the seventh art, cinema in virtual art especially in painting so many annually fair is disposed of pop art or new art, that they completely represent the binary characteristics within the American society.
The contrast that promotes and justifies the interventionist war, on the other hand, is a leader in exporting of “Human rights” and “democracy around the world. I want to criticize my approach with the sample of best American movies made by “Stanley Kubrick”. This movie is named “Full Metal Jacket”. This movie is first and last experience of him in war movies area and it is one of the most important of warfare movies in the cinema history. His movie has a lot of dialogs in which each of the characters completely represents American insight out. American narrative is including images, music, places and artists. The movie starts with showing various exercises that enters army and newly arrived riflemen and spectator finds out that in this center only violence and aversion and killing is educated. The commanders camping regularly emphasizes that you are here to kill, killing is your only job. During the education spectator observes different reactions on the side of members camping. There are different and also strong reactions against this position: the soldier that kills himself and also his commander and another soldier with honorable name it means joker is completely the sample of Americans who carry out so many conflicts with themselves. It must be said that dark comedy that there in comparison to his other movies in this movie mocks American logic with most caustic form. In the part of movie one of the commanders who are riflemen chief describes joker to nauseating joke fun. He has written on his camp that he is born to kill and has sewed on his cloth a kind of peace arm! I refer to this part of movie in this page to better understanding the author’s point of view. It means that it shows completely US double standard in international relationship:
“Colonel: rifleman! What is this tuber on your military clothing?
Joker: its peace arm, sir!
Colonel: where did you get it?
Joker: I don’t remember, sir!
Colonel: what is it in your hat?
Joker: it’s a sentence: “I was born for killing”, sir!
Colonel: you write on your that “I was born for killing” and then on your cloth put an arm of peace?! What are their meanings? A kind of nauseating joke?
Joker: no, sir!
Colonel: it’s better then that you’re harmonic, otherwise I’ll throw a big impurity toward you.
Joker: yes, sir!
Colonel: now, answer to my question, otherwise hang you.
Joker: I think, I want to infusion an approach about human’s double position.
Joker: human opposites, it’s a concept of Carl Jung, sir!
Colonel: what is your side, my son?
Joker: our side, sir!
Colonel: do you like your country?
Joker: yes, I do; sir!
Colonel: then, why don’t you come to the team toward a great conquest?
Joker: yes, sir!
Colonel: my son! I want from my riflemen just to obey of my order similar to God order. We come here to helping at “Vietcong” because there is an American inside each “Vietcong”, that want to come out.
The world is very violence, my son!
We should keep our head until this mania of peace come out it.
Joker: yes, sir! “.
The tendency to the peace is described to mania while the goal of this appearance in that county _Vietnam _ is defined as a helping, it was a clear example of “Double standard” policy.
Joker is a complete symbol of this conflict and contrast, while he is a reporter (also, reporter is a symbol of frankness and freedom) he wants also to be first one that has murdered a person between his neighbors:
“Joker: I want to understand that beautiful Vietnam, the bezel of Asia east southern. I want to see the people that have ancient and attractive culture …and kill them. I want to be first person who kills between neighbors”.
It is interesting to know that these personalities are shown justifiable, the symbol of interventionism policy and also pro-human rights. This movie is very successful to show the nihilism system that is up on present organizations.
Finally, I should say that American human rights policy with its interventionist approach in the world is as a” full metal jacket”; the metal jacket that reduces the space for people around the world. If in the past these helps of human rights was supported and justified by” anti- communism discourse”, in present day it is supported by ” war on terror discourse” . In this time, all of the affaires are considered in terms of security and threat, and also the United States leader of world and has a moral duty.
Increasingly, the argument that superpowers have a ‘moral duty’ to enforce human rights is used in the same way as the doctrine of the ‘civilizing mission’ once was used to justify colonialism. Since this was first written, it seems that the civilizing mission _or at least crusades in defense of western civilization_ is not quite dead yet. American reactions to the attacks of September/11/ 2001 have re-emphasized the so-called” Clash of Civilizations”. In that vision of history and geopolitics, democracy, freedom, and human rights are seen as universally valid, and yet historically specific to western civilization”.12
It must be said, in media age, that world goes toward “dual-globalization” and that divides to two parts: one is real world, the other is virtual world. The role of media as a tool of virtual world is very important, the role of cinema is more important. Cinema with its instruments and opportunities justifies and also establishes another invention called: post- colonialism and in present time, all of the social scientists should study in this field around the world especially social scientists in third world. This method and way is the best one to know American empire that is bubbling more and more.
“American human rights policy in the last twenty years and in the beginning of twenty-first century is increasingly being distinctive and paradoxical: it is the product of a nation with a great national rights tradition that leads the world in denouncing the human rights violations of others but refusing to ratify key international rights convention itself. The most important resistance to the domestic application of international rights norms comes not from rogue states outside the western tradition or Islam Asian societies. It comes in fact, from within the heart of the western rights tradition itself, from a nation that, in linking rights to popular sovereignty, opposes international human rights oversight as an infringement on its democracy”. (Ignatieff, 2001, 93)13
Finally, I should say that world society especially super powers that in present day only includes one country that is the United States of America needs to stop thinking of human rights as trumps and being thinking of them as a language that creates the basis for deliberation.
1. [http://en]. Wikipedia.org /wiki/ exceptionalism
3. Ibid, p 2
5. Ibid, same page
6. Ibid, p2
7. Ignatieff Michael, human rights, Princeton university press (2006, the United States of America)
10. Gerry J. Simpson, ” The Diffusion of Sovereignty: Self-determination in the post-colonial age, ” (London: RIIA, 1999)
11. Ignatieff Michael, Ibid, p43
The Influences of US Double Standard in Human Rights in Present World as a Full Metal of Jacket
The Influences of US Double Standard in Human Rights in Present World As a Full Metal Jacket Saeedeh Allahdadi April 2007