Friday, June 09, 2006

Quote of the Day: "The U.S. government opposes prostitution. These activities are inherently harmful and dehumanizing."

To celebrate the beginning of the 2006 World Cup, which kicked off today in Germany, the United States is warning the Germans to crack down on its legal sex trade operation just as hundreds of thousands of foreign football fans flock to the country to root on their sides and party like there's no tomorrow.

A U.S. congressman and other anti-trafficking advocates estimate that thousands of foreign women, many from Eastern Europe, will be forced into sex work during the four-week tournament that begins June 9. ( World Cup Special)

At a briefing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denounced "the sordid trade in human beings" and said the fight against trafficking is "a great moral calling of our time."

"Together we will stop at nothing to end the debasement of our fellow men," she said.

This morally strict stance on the treatment of others is all the more ironic given recent news surrounding the United States' attempts to exempt itself from certain key provisions of the Geneva Conventions.

The Pentagon plans to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that bans ``humiliating and degrading treatment," according to military officials. Such a step would mark a shift from strict adherence to international rights standards.

Hmmmm. The United States government playing the part of the hypocrite? How can that be?

To be fair, this situation seems to underline an apparent conflict between the Department of Defense, which wants to minimize the constraints on its ability to do as it pleases around the globe, and the State Department, which prefers to promote the ideal of treating others with respect. At least, that's the way it's playing out on the surface.

The State Department fiercely opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Convention protections, and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, Defense Department officials said.

Regardless of this apparent internal conflict, the fact remains that the U.S. government presents itself as the hypocrite that many around the world know it to be. Conflicting messages like this continue to foment disdain for the United States and simply reinforce long-held beliefs that we cannot be trusted.

In other words, it's the same-old, same-old.