Commentary Magazine


Contentions

NYT Calls on Terror Regime to Stop Accidentally Terrorizing People

The Times editorializes today on abuses in the Iranian prison system, and it is one of those pieces in which you can’t tell whether the writer is dense or stupid:

Iran’s Constitution and law prohibit torture; however, the 2008 State Department human rights report cites numerous credible reports over the years in which security forces and prison personnel tortured prisoners.

The government should be ferreting out and putting an end to these abuses.

One could attempt to take this seriously and ask, Why would the government “ferret out” and “put an end” to the very brutality by which it keeps itself in power? This is like saying to a mafia boss, “You should ferret out the people in your organization who are involved in stealing, bribery, and extortion, and put an end to these abuses.” Seriously?

But this is a long tradition on the Left. It works like this: if you want to call attention to the atrocious behavior of a group of thugs or terrorists, you have to be respectful and pretend that the thuggery and terrorism were accidents of bureaucratic oversight or inattention.

When Hezbollah was shooting up Beirut last summer, Barack Obama put out a memorable statement on the crisis that fit this model perfectly:

This effort to undermine Lebanon’s elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately.

Just as the Times seems to think that the systematic rape and torture of prisoners in Iran is being conducted in the absence of regime approval, Obama portrayed Hezbollah as somehow engaged in major hostilities in Lebanon without the approval of Iran and Syria. Another fine example is Human Rights Watch, which in 2008 sent a letter to the Hamas leadership saying:

We ask that you publicly and unequivocally call on the military wing of your organization, the Qassam Brigades, and any other groups or individuals acting on behalf of Hamas . . . to desist from any attacks or acts of reprisal that deliberately target civilians, or cause them disproportionate harm.

Foreign policy is so much easier when everyone involved has good intentions.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.