Terrorists across the globe engage in violence and cruelty in such shocking and horrific ways that most of us find hard to comprehend. Americans are still reeling over the unimaginable slaughter of school children in Pakistan and hostage taking in Australia before we could come to terms with the senseless beheadings of Americans in Iraq and Syria earlier this fall. Self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists did all of these acts.
It’s no surprise then that the American people by sizeable numbers believe that taking aggressive measures to respond to these terrorists is necessary. A Washington Post poll released on December 16 revealed that 59% of Americans support the measures taken by the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11.
But that’s not the view of the so-called enlightened crowd. These professional foreign policy makers - both at home and abroad - take exactly the opposite view. Consider former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks at Georgetown in which she explained that with regard to terrorists, it’s best to “understand and in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.”
Apparently this is exactly the perspective being taken by the UN Human Rights Commission when it comes to its investigation of Sri Lanka for abuses it committed against the terrorist group, the LTTE (the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeiam).
The LTTE massacred thousands of innocent civilians over a 25-year period. The death count is too extensive to list. It includes a dozen members of the Sri Lankan Parliament as well as the bloody assassination of Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa – a particularly gruesome bombing attack which also resulted in the deaths of 10 other people including most of the President’s bodyguards and several close aides.
But the LTTE’s depravity cannot be explained by numbers alone. They brutalized civilians within and without the government. In several especially vicious attacks, they invaded small farming villages in the dead of night and with machetes hacked to death women and children while they slept on the ground. When awakened villagers fled, LTTE terrorists lay in wait to shoot those escaping. One such massacre slaughtered an entire village of 146. In other attacks, LTTE exploded bombs in shopping areas, on buses and trains, and in places of worship.
Recognizing that the only way to end these cancerous attacks on the lives of Sri Lankans, the government undertook a wholesale campaign to eradicate the LTTE, and finally defeated the LTTE in 2009. When the conflict ended, the nation and the world collectively signed in relief. Even the UN applauded their defeat.
But that was yesterday. Today a new campaign has started to resurrect the aims and grievances of the LTTE, and it appears the UN has joined in the empathizing.
Since the beginning of the year, the UN’s Commission on Human Rights has started an investigation to see if the LTTE’s complaints of unfair treatment during the conflict are justified. In other words, were the successful efforts to rid Sri Lanka of the toxic presence of the LTTE too harsh?
In a process marked more by error and serious misjudgment, the investigation of Sri Lanka is all but a farce. Media reports indicate that many of the individual claims of human rights abuses lack any real substantiation. The individuals who claim abuses are nameless and bizarrely even the people who examined them are unnamed making verification all but impossible.
In other instances the media gave high profile attention to Sri Lankan refugees seeking political asylum to the UK who said that they had been burned with hot metal rods. But when the UK’s Home Office examined the individuals, they were found to have self-inflicted injuries. These conclusions didn’t receive nearly the media attention as the original false claims.
And even with the one-sided empathy given to the LTTE, the UN can’t even bother to implement a transparent process of carrying out its investigation. Along with accepting claims from anonymous sources, they have overlooked allegations that LTTE supporters and overzealous human rights groups are offering payments for individuals to come forward and they aren’t setting up any type of neutral process to allow the Sri Lankan government to respond to the evidence.
In the topsy-turvy world of international foreign policy-makers, the terrorists are the focus of sympathy and concern while the nations ravaged by them are called out for approbation.
Whose side are you on?
George Landrith is the President of Frontiers of Freedom.