Oxblog wants us to "flood the zone" on Myanmar. Fine - have we got a doozy for you. On Friday, Armed Liberal ran a story about business lobby groups opposing sanctions against this regime and others. Meanwhile, Randy of Beautiful Horizons broke a story that needs more attention on the Right side of the aisle.
John Ashcroft has filed an amicus brief seeking to get Unocal off the hook for using forced labor in the construction of an oil pipeline in Myanmar, one of the world's most despotic regimes. More commentary can be found here. As for my take...
First of all, I'm trying to see the difference here between the kind of behaviour Armed Liberal describes and shilling for Saddam's regiume because he had favourable oil contracts with your state oil company. Bluntly, I can't because it's the same damn thing.
Is it worse to shill for evil because it puts money in your pocket, as opposed to being motivated by political onanism? At least the former benefits someone, but in the end the result is similar. It's not possible to credibly hate the Saddam appeasement crowd while excusing this sort of thing. Just as ANSWER, Galloway et. al. need to be exposed as shills, so do these people.
As for Ashcroft - buddy, this is slave labour we're talking about. Is there something about "land of the free and home of the brave" you're not getting here? America may not be able to close the laogai, gulags, and related practices that fester in the world's totalitarian hellholes, but that doesn't mean you have to file legal briefs on behalf of those who profit from them.
It's (remotely) possible that there's a reasonable explanation for this, but it will have to come from somewhere else because I sure can't think of one. Maybe it is time for a new Attorney General down there. I initially wrote off the attacks on Ashcroft as typical leftist hysteria given their content and style, but an accumulation of events is starting to convince me that maybe they were right and I was wrong. Whatever was Ashcroft thinking in this case? Was he thinking?
Bueller? Anyone... Anyone?
· Law student Unlearned Hand comes through, with a case link and a additional background.
· Instapundit also weighs in with a useful Boston Globe article, and some trenchant observations.
· Max Power says Ashcroft's intervention is the right thing to do: "Simply put, the DOJ is right: the Ninth Circuit has interpreted a jurisdictional statute to create a private cause of action, and it's an incorrect view of the law that has allowed the hijacking of the courts to make extraterritorial claims for political purposes." He also distinguishes the case from Filartiga. Is he right? Read this, read him, and decide.
· Oxblog comments. Their dilemma is mine, too, but I might lean the other way on this one.