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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Still more hypocrisy

My connection was disrupted and I lost a post that I had been writing. Ugh.

Rather than rewrite the entire thing, let me summarize:

Bush, Rice, Powell and others in the administration have been arguing that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in Iraq, partly because he was such a brutal dictator. Cynically, one might say that they are using this argument because of the lack of evidence about Iraqi WMD and because of few Iraqi connections to al Qaeda (and none to 9/11).

Then again, as I've previously noted, candidate Bush said in a 2000 debate that he would not have intervened in Rwanda to save 600,000 people.

In any case, administration officials virtually never acknowledge that the US is in bed with a lot of brutal regimes in the war on terror. Consider, for example, Uzbekistan, one of the members of the "coalition fo the willing."

Chris at SeeWhy? noted a recent story in The Guardian about US/UK hypocrisy towards Uzbekistan and Iraq. The link was dead, but based on his comments, I think this is the story. And it is well worth reading.

Basically, Britain recalled Ambassador Craig Murray for being too outspoken against the regime. The US may have played a role in his recall. After all, Murray pointed out that the Uzbek government boils its political opponents.

Here are some other key paragraphs from the story (some omitted)
Uzbekistan, a post-Soviet police state on the strategically important border with Afghanistan, was another potential political minefield. Uzbek security services use "torture as a routine investigation technique", according to the US State Department. But Washington's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led them to finance much of the regime's security apparatus. In exchange the US gets a military base in Khanabad as a centre for operations in Afghanistan. Last year Washington gave the government $500m (£298m) in aid, $79m of which was specifically for the same "law enforcement and security services" they accused of routine torture.

He [Mr Murray] said: "We believe there to be between 7,000 and 10,000 people in detention whom we would consider as political and/or religious prisoners. No government has the right to use the war against terrorism as an excuse for the persecution of those with a deep personal commitment to the Islamic religion, and who pursue their views by peaceful means."

Mr Murray sent numerous reports to London about human rights abuses, and his dispatches became increasingly heated during the build-up to the Iraqi invasion. He argued Uzbekistan's human rights abuses were as bad as those being used as ammunition against Baghdad. Yet Washington was financing Uzbekistan, rather than invading it, he said.
Justifiably, Chris at SeeWhy? is pretty upset about US/UK hypocrisy:
And don't tell me that this policy of sucking up to dictators is part of the cost of the war on terror, or that in the real world we're forced to make difficult trade-offs. No administration that squanders as many lives and as much credibility and influence as this one has in Iraq deserves to lecture me about the costs of my policy prescriptions. And neither do any of its apologists.
If the administration keeps using human rights as the post facto justification for war in Iraq, I'm going to report more of these stories.

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