Michael Totten

The Latest (Updated)

23 people were killed when Al Qaeda blew up two synagogues in Istanbul.
Jews once again were murdered for being Jews. And it was worse even than that. This was an attack on the entire Turkish nation. Look at what they did.

Meanwhile, the director of Amnesty International USA says terrorism is a major human rights issue, and if the anti-war left can’t address it then they risk becoming irrelevant.
UPDATE: When I posted this, I didn’t realize the interview with the Amnesty director requires either a Salon subscription or the patience to sit through an annoying ad. Sorry. Here’s the money quote, from the director of Amnesty International USA:

[T]here has been a tendency for the American political left and the greater human rights community to downplay the genuine, serious threat of terrorism around the globe. Presumably the human rights community is committed to protecting Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, namely the guarantee of security of person — the right to life. But there’s been a failure to give the necessary attention, analysis and strategizing to the effort to counter terrorism and protect this right to security.

Human rights organizations are basically set up to put pressure on governments, not on more amorphous entities like terrorist groups. The traditional tools we use are generally not going to be effective with terrorists. I doubt Osama Bin Laden is going to be moved by 50,000 members of Amnesty International writing him a letter asking him to refrain from terrorist acts. In the face of a new kind of force in the world that is detrimental to human rights, the human rights community has been slow to adapt to that new reality, in both its understanding and its tactics. There’s a cultural lag at work here.
It’s a serious problem. It means that human rights advocates are seen solely as harping critics. We certainly need to be that; it’s a very important role. But if we fail to engage with the very real, hard decisions that governments have to make about protecting the safety of their citizens, then we’ll be dismissed as charlatans, or ideologues who are out of step with reality.