For once I agree with David Brooks, when he writes, of Bush's inaugural speech:
"When he meets with dictators, as in this flawed world he must, he will not be able to have warm relations with them, because he said no relations with tyrants can be successful. His words will be thrown back at him and at future presidents...It will be harder to cozy up to Arab dictators because they can supposedly help us in the war on terror. It will be clearer that those dictators are not the antidotes to terror; they're the disease."
Well, I'm thowing it in his face. If there was any better example of a dictator being the cause of the disease, its Islam Karimov, seen here yucking it up with dubya' and below getting chummy with Rummy.
Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests per year in Uzbekistan, and over 6,500 political prisoners, some of whom are tortured to death.
According to the forensic report commissioned by the British Embassy in Uzbekistan, two prisoners last August were even boiled to death. NSC
Reuters reports today more than 200 protesters were killed and the count may go as high as 500:
"Uzbek President Islam Karimov on Saturday blamed Islamic militants for violence in which troops fired on protesters and hundreds of people are alleged to have been killed
Most of the dead were killed by heavy machineguns mounted on armored personnel carriers, he said, adding the streets were strewn with spent bullet-casings. A pro-opposition reporter counted 30 corpses and a doctor spoke of "many, many dead."
According to Kyrgyz border guards, as many as 4,000 people, including women and children, fled to the nearby village of Kara-Su on the closed border. At another point, 500 people forced their way across the border.
"I think that repression is basically the policy of the Uzbek government and this will be quite brutally suppressed, I fear," Craig Murray, Britain's former ambassador, told British television.
Former ambassador Murray said the 23 had been detained on "patently false charges of Islamic extremism."
But, as always, all a tyrant has to say is "they're terroists" and you get a reaction from the U.S. govt. like this:
State Dept. Briefing 5/13/05
"QUESTION: Uzbekistan and the EU seem to have blamed the Government of Uzbekistan for the violence. Would that be the view of the U.S. Government, too?
MR. BOUCHER: We have been looking at this situation. We have been following it closely. I would note that while we have been very consistently critical of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, we are very concerned about the outbreak of violence in Adijan, in particularly the escape of prisoners, including possibly members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an organization we consider a terrorist organization.
I think at this point we're looking to all the parties involved to exercise restraint, avoid any unnecessary loss of life..." (Unarmed civilians versus armed troops is an equal match, after all. Common' protesters, stop catching bullets!))
The protesters have been using restraint since February when 23 businessmen were put on trial for being Islamic terroroists. (By the way, didn't we become violent against the British in 1775, after many years of trying to deal with them in a peacful manner. The Minutemen were also called terrorists at the time.)
Boucher says "we have been very consistently critical of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan," I'd like to know what we've done about it.
"Hundreds of religious prisoners are held without trial in the central Asian state, where torture is commonplace. One prisoner was boiled to death and his mother was sentenced to six years' hard labour for her protests. She was then pardoned following international condemnation.
[Tashkent, 5 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A woman whose son was allegedly boiled to death in an Uzbek prison appeared in court today on charges of religious extremism and plotting against the state. Fatima Mukhadirova, the defendant, today told a Tashkent court that she believes charges were filed against her because she "made a fuss" about her son's death. (radio free europe)]
Ambassador Murray says, "The US gave $80m (#54m) in aid in 2002 to the same Uzbek security services it accused of "using torture as a routine investigation technique". No wonder we're so freindly with the Dictator Karimov. There have been reports of the secret CIA ghost jet being seen in Tashkent. Naturally, we trust the countries we send these "ghost detainees" to, not to torture them.
In any case, Richard Myers chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, (He of the jelly spine when Rummy is in the room.)says cutting aid to Usbekistan because of human rights violations is to him, "very shortsighted, and it's never productive," he said. "In fact, it can often have the opposite effect that people intend, because you lose any ability to influence at all, at least through a military standpoint." (Let freedom ring!)
General Myers sleep well at night.
"...on Aug. 12, 2004, Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, visited Tashkent. He met with President Karimov and other officials, and he announced that the Pentagon would provide an additional $21 million to help Uzbekistan in its campaign to remove its stockpile of biological weapons.
General Myers said the United States had "benefited greatly from our partnership and strategic relationship with Uzbekistan."
While he noted that there were genuine concerns about Uzbekistan's human rights record, General Myers said: "In my view, we shouldn't let any single issue drive a relationship with any single country. It doesn't seem to be good policy to me."
As the president said in his "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, 2003:
The successful conclusion of the "liberation of Iraq" was proof that:
"Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear."