Human Rights vs. National Security

In last night's Democratic Presidential debate, moderator Wolf Blitzer raised the most ridiculous of questions - is Human Rights more important or is National Security, when they are in conflict. The question came up in the context of a discussion about Pakistan's current military rule, its violation of human rights, and American support for Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharof. Bill Richardson answered it would be human rights, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton came down on the side of national security. Bullshit. This very question is an affront to the people who put on the uniform of our country every day, and those who have done so in the past. If America is willing to sacrifice our status as the beacon of freedom, our national security will be in far more jeopardy. Those who are bold enough to defend freedom are protected by it. Without human rights, freedom is a hollow word. Our soldiers serve the cause of this freedom world-wide. They believe that our flag stands for the principles of freedom, human rights, and justice. Making short-sighted moves that harm the cause of human rights that appear at the time to be in our security interest have always turned out to be a disaster for our country. We have made alliances with people like the brutal dictators of Saudi Arabia, and it brought us Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi national. We teamed up with Saddam Hussain to beat back Iran, and it came back to bite us in the ass when he started invading his neighbors, namely Kwait, in 1991. We made alliance with Communist dictators in the former USSR and it gave us the cold war and the Cuban Missile Crisis. We went to Vietnam in the fear that Communism would spread and hurt our national security and thoroughly got our asses kicked. And then, shocker, communism didn't spread across the globe. Every single time we have made a deal with the devil and said we will choose an illusion of security over human rights, we have been wrong. That is not an accident. It is because the most powerful weapon in our national security arsenal is not the nuclear bomb, it is the ideal that is America. The Soviet Union collapsed because behind the iron curtain, people wanted to be like us. In the aftermath of World War II, a victorious United States insisted upon adhering to human rights for even its prisoners of war, and turned them over to international law. And a generation of people everywhere bowed in respect for the beacon of freedom. We intervened in Kosovo during the 1990's to stop a genocide, and a decade later, the people of there gave President Clinton a hero's welcome. The establishment of free and democratic nations that respect human rights and the rule of law are not simply the most effective security strategy for the United States; it is indeed the only thing that can result in a more secure America and a more secure world. Security and freedom and human rights are not conflicting values. Only those with an interest in undermining freedom would argue that they are.