Continuation of Preliminary

Essentially, there has been a drastic reduction to the progress ofwar-continued

human rights legislation today which had been expanding throughout the 1990's. This is due to the

insistence that it is better to sacrifice certain liberties in a trade-off for security against potential

terrorist threats. In the pursuit of national security, the United States has routinely violated human

rights standards, such as allowing state sanctioned torture to occur in places such as Guantanamo Bay

in Cuba and the passing of the Patriot Act, which grants the President total impunity in the promotion

of national security, such as the ability to exterminate potential terrorist threats through means such as

drone strikes. The total result of this fear-mongering by the United States has been a drastic reduction

of the pro-human rights agenda internationally, as the United States has used its influence to convince

other members of the United Nations that national security should triumph over human rights. An

unfortunate reduction in the promotion of human rights internationally has taken place over the past

decade, as the security complex has become a great concern for most advanced industrial societies.

What can be concluded is that this event has had a tremendous impact on the conversation of what

human rights are and who deserves them, with the United States claiming that perceived terrorists

should not be provided with these basic human rights.

The overall synopsis of these four major events and their influence on United States policy is

that while the United States has promoted ideology that is consisted with human rights, it will routinely

violate these principles if it feels that its national security is threatened. As one of the original

proponents for international human rights, the United States has proven that it does consider human

rights a fundamental necessity and a requirement for legitimate governments to follow. However, as

history has proven, whenever there is a perceived threat to American security the United States will

violate the terms of the International Bill of Human Rights in order to protect its own interests. This

leads to the logical conclusion that while the United States has promoted the international human rights

regime in the past, in the present it is not a good example of an advocate of global human rights. The

United States therefore, in my opinion, does not have a good human rights record and has declined

rapidly since the creation of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If

there is to be progress for international human rights, the United States must be firm in its commitment

to following the principals established in the various international treaties as well as discontinue current

practices which go against the inherent dignity and value of human life.

2. Analyze one of the “U.S. and Human Rights” case studies addressed in this class. Provide a

detailed background of the case study and an explanation of the rights infringed. Imagine you

are a key policy maker influential in the case study you are describing – would you have reacted

differently? Why or why not?

Out of the various case studies of widespread human rights violations, the Argentine Dirty War

spanning the period of 1976 through 1983 is one of the most atrocious incidents of government abuse

of its citizen's human rights. Following the military coup of the Argentine government headed by the

controversial Isabel Peron, the wife of political leader Juan Peron, the new regime under General Jorge

Rafael Videla attempted to apply a monetarist solution to economic problems and launched what it

called the war against subversion, which came to be widely known to others as the "dirty war", in an

attempt to defeat definitively left-wing guerrilla activity that was out of control by early 1976

(“Argentina Dirty War”) This war against subversion saw the torture, kidnapping, and murder of

violent leftist groups, peaceful leftist groups, political moderates, associates of political opponents,

families of political opponents, and any person deemed a threat to the military junta's regime. The word

“to disappear someone” became apart of the Spanish language, as victims were often taken from their

homes or work never to be seen again by their friends or families. In total, over 30,000 Argentinians

were killed or disappeared during this time, marking this period as one of the bloodiest moments in

Argentine history. Similarly, the international community ultimately failed to implement the standards

of human rights that were defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other subsequent

international human rights laws. The result of the case study is an example of how state sovereignty can

be detrimental to the citizens of a state if the official government implements cruel and unusual

methods of control over the population. The avocation for stronger methods of identifying human

rights violations and systematic abuse of a civilian population was born out of this event, and much has

been learned by the international community in how to deal with repressive regimes such as the one

experienced during the Dirty War.

One of the most unique characteristics of the Argentine Dirty War was the disappearances of

the victims, usually followed by state sanctioned torture and murder of the accused. Donnelly describes

the details of the disappearances as “the armed services being detailed to arrest suspected subversives

without warrant; to avoid identification of the captors; to take the detainees to clandestine detention

camps and to disclaim any knowledge about the whereabouts of the prisoners. The overwhelming

majority of those who entered the system of “disappearances” were never seen alive again. (Donnelly

59) Furthermore, the Argentine National Commission on Disappeared Persons documented 8,960

disappearances, 340 clandestine detention and torture centers, involving about 700 military officers,

organized in 5 zones, 35 sub zones, and 210 areas. (Donnelly 59) What this represents is a state-wide

systematic approach of extermination, as the government had a specific agenda with an intricate system

of networks in order to accomplish their goal of subverting political dissidents. The use of

disappearances allowed for plausible deniability by the Argentine government and maintained

Argentina's international status as a proponent for human rights. Disappearances often used methods

that prevented the tracing of victims bodies, such as flying victims out over the sea in helicopters,

drugging them, and then dumping their bodies into the ocean to never be seen again. Groups dedicated

to the search for and return of the disappeared began to form in a reaction to the injustice, including the

formation of the Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in October 1977 who peaceful

demonstrated for the return of their loved ones. (Donnelly 63) Their attempts for answers were only

granted after the de-stabalization of the Argentine military junta following the failed invasion of the

British owned Falkland Islands and the re-establishment of a civilian government in 1983.

Unfortunately, even after the trial of the military junta, many of the disappeared were never located and

their fates are still undetermined to this day.