Tuesday, June 14, 2005

With us, against us... or maybe just help us out?

With the latest disclosure of the Defense Department's reluctance to support an independent investigation into the killing of (at least) hundreds of civilians in Uzbekistan we have to ask ourselves if our stated position of "with us or with the terrorists" is real, or just lip-service-as-usual.

With the failure to find WMD in Iraq, the Bush administration has emphasized the need to spread freedom and democracy not only in the region, but throughout the world. Apparently, the credo doesn't involve shinning a spotlight on some of the more authoritarian regimes in the area... especially if they provide bases for US Troops.

The Uzbek government has admitted that 173 people were killed on May 13 in Andijan but independent witnesses and human rights organizations put the number of victims at between 500 and 1,000. Human Rights Watch, for instance, has called the incident a "massacre." Karimov has portrayed the killings as a necessary response to a revolt by Islamic extremists.

At least some in our government are calling for accountability. A group of senators, four Republican and two Democrats, wrote a letter to the administration urging it to reconsider its relationship with the Uzbek’s.

"Particularly after freedom's advances in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, 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," the senators wrote.

The real issue here is, again, this administration's innate ability to get the public to believe in a policy vision that it portrays (i.e. – spreading freedom) while simultaneously pursuing policy that’s antithetical to that vision.

United States has always pursued a foreign policy that served its own ends. This administration (and the Reagan administration – can someone say Iran-Contra?) simply uses these phrases to play on the patriotism and pride of a free citizenry.

Are we becoming mindless puppies? Following, without question, where-ever our leaders go?

The problem I see is that the more the public silently accepts or explains-away these disconnects between stated policy and action, the more that public gives up exercising that freedom. And once you stop ‘acting’ free – you really aren’t free.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY!
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