Although the United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, it can no longer claim to be much of a role model, at least when it comes to human rights. Indeed, this nation seems to be creeping disturbingly towards abandoning all pretensions of taking the moral high ground and instead taking on the demeanor of a rogue state. Consider the following news item, as reported in the Washington Post:
PARIS, Feb. 6 — Representatives from 57 countries on Tuesday signed a long-negotiated treaty prohibiting governments from holding people in secret detention. The United States declined to endorse the document, saying its text did not meet U.S. expectations.
Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said the treaty was “a message to all modern-day authorities committed to the fight against terrorism” that some practices are “not acceptable.”
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined to comment, except to say that the United States helped draft the treaty but that the final wording “did not meet our expectations.”
The Associated Press reported that McCormack declined to comment on whether the U.S. stance was influenced by the Bush administration’s policy of sending terrorism suspects to CIA-run prisons overseas, which President Bush acknowledged in September. [full text]