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June 14, 2005

This Just In: Airports Are More Important Than Human Life

The Department of Defense (DOD) has determined that airplane traffic supercedes concern regarding a dictator massacring unarmed political demonstrators. The State Department (State) believes in standing firm in opposition of flagrant violations of human rights, but since State has so little actual influence in this administration, DOD's choices remain the de facto official U.S. government (USG) policy.

Here's the deal: Europeans wanted to include a call for an independent inquiry into the massacre of citizens in Uzbekistan in a communique from NATO. Russia disapproved, but was willing to be persuaded to allow the language. DOD decided to block the language, offering the b.s. excuse that it shouldn't be part of a military alliance's policy statements.

Human beings everywhere should be outraged.

More info:
"U.S. Opposed Calls at NATO for Probe of Uzbek Killings: Officials Feared Losing Air Base Access," By R. Jeffrey Smith and Glenn Kessler with contributions by Ann Scott Tyson and Robin Wright in WaPo

From the aforementioned article:

There are stirrings of dissent on Capitol Hill about placing access to the air base at the center of U.S. policy, however. Six senators warned Rumsfeld and Rice in a letter last week that "in the aftermath of the Andijan massacre, America's relationship with Uzbekistan cannot remain unchanged."

The senators -- Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John E. Sununu (R-N.H.), Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) -- added that "we believe that the United States must be careful about being too closely associated with a government that has killed hundreds of demonstrators and refused international calls for a transparent investigation." They suggested that the administration explore alternative basing arrangements "in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and elsewhere in the region" to give Washington more flexibility.

When even the Republicans in Congress think human rights are more important than a military base, you know DOD's gone too far in their "war on terror." It disgusts me that we even need the debate.

Yesterday's LAT also had an article on Uzbekistan which gives easy to read background info: "Uzbekistan Tests U.S. Policy Goals: Bush's aim of spreading democracy appears to clash with need to keep strategic military bases." by Sonni Efron

articles found via Today's Papers by Eric Umansky in Slate

Posted by cj at June 14, 2005 11:46 AM

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