According to Mr. Schultz, the war in Iraq has damaged the international reputation of the United States so much that the U.S. now appears to the world as a rogue elephant, a wounded rogue elephant.
As a result, the United States cannot take action against the most glaring contemporary human rights crisis in the worldthat of Darfur in the Sudanbecause every U.S. military action is now tainted by association with the U.S. militarys actions in Iraq.
In Mr. Schultzs estimation, the situation in Darfur requires the immediate use of armed force against the Sudanese government. However, the United States could not possibly lead such a movement at this time because the U.S. governments international human rights record, as well as its leadership role in the world, has been thoroughly discredited through its actions in Iraq and elsewhere in the War on Terrorism.
Furthermore, Mr. Schultz argued that these reprehensible tactics have done little to make the United States safer and have, in fact, made life more dangerous for U.S. citizens. He claimed that the U.S. military occupation of Iraq and its abuses of human rights are only handing fodder to our enemies, and that the United States government must cut down on the appeal that terrorists hold.
Citing a baseball metaphor, Mr. Schultz claimed that a great baseball manager is always smart enough to keep the three players on the team who hate him as far away as possible from the four undecided guys.
As such, he argued that the United States government must end the occupation of Iraq by realigning with the international community and promoting diplomatic solutions to the Iraqi crisis. Only this will prevent the undecided residents of the Middle East from joining a more radical anti-U.S. standpoint. Our future and our very lives depend upon it, he concluded.
William F. Schultz was Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, the U.S. branch of Amnesty International from 1994 to 2006. He is the author of two recent books, In Our Own Best Interests: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All (Beacon Press, 2002) and Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights (Nation Books, 2003).