Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, has this op-ed in the Washington Post today. After quoting a few, long excerpts from Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror and Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Malinowski writes this:
The Soviets understood that these methods [of sleep deprivation and abusive language] were cruel. They were also honest with themselves about the purpose of such cruelty — to brutalize their enemies and to extract false confessions, rather than truthful intelligence. By denying this, President Bush is not just misleading us. He appears to be deceiving himself.
Malinowski seems to be suggesting that Bush’s real intent here is not to gather intelligence, but simply to brutalize his enemies and extract false confessions. And, furthermore, the Soviets were at least honest about their intent, whereas Bush denies that this is the case. Maybe Bush denies this because it’s an insane accusation. Maybe, just maybe, the goal here is to stop the next terrorist attack.
Estimates on the number of people killed under Stalin range from 20 to 30 million — numbers that amount to about 10 percent of the current U.S. population. Malinowski should think about what he’s suggesting the next time he compares Bush’s “human rights abuses” to the abuses of the Soviets.