As I have oftenmentionedhere, Charles Jacobs HRC predicts that if the perps in human rights violations are “people of color,” then the human rights community has nothing to say. Sri Lanka is a QED for the theory.
Michael Totten reports a conversation with Robert Kaplan about, inter alia, Sri Lanka (HT Fat Man):
MJT: So you just got back from Sri Lanka. What did you see there? What did you learn?
Kaplan: … Sri Lanka defeated, more or less completely, a 26 year-long insurgency. They killed the leader and the leader’s son. But there are no takeaway lessons for the West here. The Sri Lankan government did it by silencing the media, which meant capturing the most prominent media critic of the government and killing him painfully. And they made sure all the other journalists knew about it.
Kaplan: There are a thousand disappearances a year in Sri Lanka separate from the war. Journalists are terrified there. The only journalism you read is pro-government. So that’s one thing they did.
The Tamil Tigers had human shields by the tens of thousands, not just by the dozens and hundreds like Al Qaeda. They put people between themselves and the government and say “you have to kill all the people to get to us.” So the government obliged them. The government killed thousands of civilians.
MJT: Tamil civilians?
Kaplan: Yes. They killed thousands of civilians in the course of winning this war. It acted in a way so brutal that there are no lessons for the West.
MJT: Would you say it was as brutal as Russia’s counterinsurgency in Chechnya?
Kaplan: Yes. It was. The U.N. is investigating whether as many as 20,000 civilians have been killed during the last few months.
* * *
MJT: Sri Lanka has been fighting this counterinsurgency for decades. Have they slowly made progress all this time and have now finally finished it off, or was there a tipping point recently where a seemingly endless conflict just ended almost suddenly?
Kaplan: The Sri Lankan government was elected in 2005 to win the war. And it has done that. Extremely brutally. It’s a government that’s very nationalist Sinhalese Buddhist. These are not the Richard Gere’s “peace and love” Buddhists. These are the real blood and soil Buddhists, where Buddhism is like any other religion when it’s threatened and it’s defending a piece of territory. It can be very brutal.
It was elected to win the war, which it interpreted from the voters as a right to silence the media and to fight without any restrictions.
MJT: It does work, though, doesn’t it?
Kaplan: It does work, yeah.
MJT: Not that we should do it, of course.
* * *
MJT: So there are no lessons at all? Nothing for the U.S., Israel, or Pakistan?
MJT: Only moral lessons, perhaps. Yes, this works, but it would take an awful lot to get us to fight that way again.
I think there are many lessons to be learned. Kaplan’s simplistic answer is just intended to say, “we can’t do what they did.” Granted. But we still have to fight vicious enemies who turn their own civilians into human shields, and we have to find solutions.
In the meantime, we can certainly learn about the hypocrisy and viciousness of the alleged “human rights community,” especially the UN. While Israel reels from lawfare because of an operation in which hundreds of civilians were killed going after an equally vicious enemy, Sri Lankan’s celebrate in the street and the MSNM gives them something of a pass.
As for the UNHRC, they fulfill Jacobs’ expectations spectacularly.
China, Cuba, Egypt and 26 others on the 47-member council voted in favor of a resolution that described the conflict as a “domestic” matter that did not warrant outside interference. The council also supported the Sri Lankan government’s decision to provide aid groups only with “access as may be appropriate” to refugee camps.
Twelve mostly European countries opposed the resolution after failing to get support for a resolution that criticized both sides.
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