17 June 2010

Lying in the bed we made

From CNN:
Mothers of detained U.S. hikers urge Iran to prosecute or free them
The mothers of U.S. hikers urged the Iranian government to either prosecute or free the three held since last year after reportedly crossing the border into the country while hiking in Iraq.
..."Shane, Sarah and Josh have been detained in Iran without due process for almost 11 months, in continued violation of Iranian and international law," the mothers said.
"To continue to detain our children without regard for their legal and human rights reinforces suspicions that they are being held in a cynical attempt by Iran to exert leverage with the United States. Iran has no legitimate reason at this stage not to release them or move forward with a fair trial in which our children can openly answer any allegations against them."
When I first saw the abbreviated "latest news" headline on the front page--"Iran told to prosecute or free hikers"--I had to wonder what politican had the guts to get in front of a microphone and try and take that position with a straight face.  Unfortunately, at this point, their mothers are about the only ones who *can* credibly advance this argument.
And it's a good thing they're out there, trying.
Because again and again and again, our government has shown that it no longer occupies the moral high ground necessary to honestly make a similar appeal on their behalf (though that pesky little detail hasn't stopped us in the past). 
Now Iran isn't doing this because of the administration's stance on detainees at Gitmo and Bagram; it's a childish provocation in the interests of gamesmanship in the two nations' nuclear enrichment standoff.  But it absolutely highlights the fact that we can't expect, much less dictate, that other nations behave according to standards that we repeatedly refuse to apply to ourselves.

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