The Russians have retailiated. They have banned 18 Americans from their country because the U.S. banned Russian officials involved in the 2009 death of a lawyer in Moscow who was representing a whistleblower about government fraud. John Yoo, a frequent target of the left in the U.S. was one of those banned and he addressed the false equivalence the Russians (and the Left) have sought to create.
“There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia in their treatment of prisoners and detainees. The most obvious difference is in what constitutes “torture” in the Magnitsky case and the American war on terrorism. In the former, even according to Russian officials, Magnitsky was kept in squalid prison conditions, physically beaten by guards and denied medical treatment for serious gall bladder and pancreatic problems. All contributed, it appears, to his death. There is also speculation that he might have been murdered. Yet his treatment should not be considered anomalous. Conditions in Russian prisons are notoriously abominable and the treatment of prisoners routinely brutal.
Antiwar critics likewise claim that the U.S. has similarly mistreated and tortured al Qaeda leaders. This is a willful misreading of the record.”
Scott Johnson tells the story as John Yoo fulfills a dream. He always “dreamed of being declared persona non grata by Moscow.” What the story illustrates, though, is the very common false equivalence used to condemn the U.S. Words such as ‘torture’ lose much of their impact as illustrated in this example. Compare and contrast the treatment that Magnitsky received to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Compare and contrast the reasons that these people were imprisoned in the first place. Excusing extreme behavior and going fanatic over mild behavior distorts definitions, belies integrity, and defines deviancy down to where it is simply a matter of one’s fantasies and not of any substance.