When the Bush administration makes a mockery of human rights and puts us all in danger by holding hands with authoritarian thugs, it's been noted here with appropriate scorn. So when the right thing gets done, it needs to be mentioned as well. From the NYT:
Uzbekistan formally ordered the United States to leave an air base that has been a hub for operations in Afghanistan in protest over a predawn United Nations operation on Friday to spirit out refugees who had fled an uprising in Uzbekistan in May, senior State Department officials said Saturday.This may be just a temporary dustup with Karimov that will settle down. We'll see. But for now, it appears sanity and the right set of priorities is beginning to define our relationship with this creep.
A top diplomat, R. Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, had planned to go to Uzbekistan to discuss that issue and a United States demand that Uzbekistan permit an international investigation into the violent suppression of a prison riot and public demonstration in Andijon in May. The Uzbek government estimated that 187 people had been killed in the crackdown, but the United Nations estimated that 200 to 700 people had been killed. Now, however, Mr. Burns said he probably would not go to the region for several weeks to let feelings cool.
Mr. Burns said the United States had been "profoundly concerned" about the status of the Uzbek refuges in Kyrgyzstan who fled after the Andijon incident and "We have energetically supported the efforts to bring them to safety in Romania because we feared they would be persecuted if they were sent back to Uzbekistan."
"We are not willing to overlook these very important human right concerns," he added.
Another State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of department ground rules, said, "Obviously we don't want to lose K-2." But he added that loss of the base was preferable to backing away from demanding that Uzbekistan start political and economic reforms and agree to an international investigation of the Andijon killings.