Thursday, February 19, 2009

Playing Watchdog

by Jeff Bennett
edited by Cristina Mutchler

My editorial in response to President Mugabe’s allegations against Bush would not sugarcoat or sweep the topic of torture under the rug. With the aid of supporting evidence and facts, I would bring attention to this topic in a scathing article against Bush, Obama or any leader that practices heinous acts of ‘enhanced interrogation.’ Nonetheless, I would not support Mugabe and ignore his less than perfect human rights record either. As a journalist, it is our duty to keep politicians in check by shedding light on their detestable acts; we cannot act as patsies and turn a blind eye to injustice.

I believe Bush or Obama should not criticize other nations of human rights violations unless they abstain from those acts themselves. Of course instances of torture occurred at Guantanamo Bay under former-President Bush, making him appear hypocritical for lecturing other leaders for the same violations. With the closing of Guantanamo Bay, I fear occurrences of extraordinary rendition may unfortunately become more common place to cruelly extract information from people considered terrorists. As for wiretapping, the Patriot Act and many subsequent laws took many American liberties, but we are still a very free and privileged society. I am just thankful I don’t live in a nation where an average of 14 surveillance cameras exists for each citizen (i.e. England).

I would not factor in information regarding human rights abuses from the Bush administration if unwarranted in the story. For example, if I were writing a story about Israeli ethnic cleansing against Hamas, I would not discuss Bush and his blemished record because it is not pertinent. However, in Parsons’ ‘Mugabe Slams Bush over Human Rights’ article, it is appropriate to address Bush’s tarnished career as president.

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