After all, we’re not as exceptional as the lapel flag crowd likes to think. We’re just as vicious, just as un-Christian — anti-Christian, really; if you’re looking for the Anti-Christ, try Pat Robertson — as is the rest of our unattractive species.
Robert Burns wrote, “O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!” Below Chase Madar wonders how our own vast gulag system must look to others as we lecture them on human rights. For his complete essay, go here.
The Khadr case should have been a bit queasy-making for us Americanos. Hasn’t there been a surge of concern for child soldiers in book clubs and church groups across the land? Turns out, however, that this long-distance compassion goes up in smoke at closer range. The second a child soldier points his gun at an American, not another African, it’s adiós victimized child, hello hardened terrorist.
The hypocrisy in all this is less flaming than it may appear. After all, clemency for youth offenders, be they child soldiers or just local kids, runs against the American grain these days. If we routinely prosecute children even younger than 15 as adults — and we do — why should a foreign child soldier be any different?
In fact the U.S. even has a few dozen inmates doing life without parole for acts committed when they were 13 or 14, and most of these sentences were mandatory rather than the prerogative of a particularly nasty judge. (Some small progress: last May in Graham v. Florida the Supreme Court decided that juveniles can get life without parole only if there’s homicide involved.) Overall, the U.S. has in recent years had precious little mercy for its children, or anyone else’s…