Thursday, August 14, 2003

Innocence Abroad

I am back from my trip to Germany and Turkey.

America's reputation abroad seems to be at an all time low. But I grow defensive: many Europeans and Turks seem to place an extraordinary low value on human rights.

Reasonable people can differ on whether war against Iraq was justified. But reasonable people cannot differ on mass torture and extermination. I saw little concern in the European media about the widespread use of torture by Saddam Hussein and the estimated extermination of some 200,000 people. (I am not even counting the fatalities in Saddam's various wars; I am speaking only of "jailhouse executions," death by firing squad or worse.)

Perhaps it really is true that "old Europe" is too sophisticated -- too cynical and indifferent -- for its own good a/k/a for the good of humanity?

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