July 25, 2007

Gettin' Away With Torture

So, when juxtaposed against the traditional U.S. way of doing things, the news of the release of the 5 Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor from a Libyan jail is an interesting case study on the difficulty of dealing with rogues like Moammar Gadafi.

A quick recap: these poor folks voluntarily leave their families to go live in Lybia and dispense much-needed public health. These good Samaritans end up accussed of infecting hundreds of kids with HIV, are thrown in jail, face the death penalty, and are tortured--for EIGHT YEARS! Oh, never mind that the Libyan case against them is scientifically refuted by international experts.

Now, I know that we are supposed to not dislike Gaddafi too much nowadays since he gave up his WMD program, but really, the treatment received by these people is just as bad as that received by countless of political prisoners in Cuba, or China, or North Korea, or, when Saddam was in power, in Iraq.

Here's the juxtaposition: The U.S. shuns these types of powers. Our policy is, if they don't open their markets to us, we impose sanctions and beat them over their thick heads with human rights and democratization. And, as Barack Obama said recently, we are supposed to think that by not talking to these countries we are somehow punishing them. In the mean time, they get away with, literally, murder.

France and the EU, on the other hand, embarked on diplomacy, offered to pay Libya ranson...er...make concessions, and voila, the prisoners are finally freed. And the bad guys? Well, they get away with, literally, torture.

Moral of the story: there's no easy way to deal with rogues.

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