Saturday, July 30, 2005

Good Riddance....

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.

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.
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.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there must be more to it.
Why would the U.S. suddenly do "the right thing"???
(see Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc.)

7/30/2005 7:53 PM  
Anonymous m osman said...

K2 is very important for Afghan missions, i'm sure the military/admin will cow tow to Uzbek's demands to shut up soon.

7/30/2005 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Antonie said...

Whether the base closing is the result of a miscalculation or our government doesn't particularly care, it's good that we're not aligned with this repressive government.

But just this morning I read Another Face of Terror.

We live in an imperfect world. I'm not sure it's in our country's power to get every other country to do the right thing. The tough question is: if we want to go after Al Queda, do we need to cooperate with repressive governments or are there other alternatives?

7/31/2005 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We blocked an investigation of the massacre which led to those very same immigrants at a NATO meeting a few weeks ago. This has nothing to do with doing the right thing, as we were doing the wrong thing to keep Karimov happy a short time ago. This is because Uzbekistan is now part of the six country Asian group led by China and Russia trying to kick the US out of their territory. More evidence of the slippage of US geopolitical power due to our disastrous handling of the GWOT.

7/31/2005 9:57 AM  
Blogger OskarShapley said...

I say there's more to it. Somebody gave Karimov a better offer. And a spine.


Jul 19, 2005 Washington
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional group bringing together China, Russia and several central Asian countries, has called for the withdrawal of American troops from bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

7/31/2005 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Antonie said...

Anonymous, I don't like your name.

Anyway, you're probably correct. But what is your suggestion, given the current state of affairs? It's OK to point to past mistakes, but what needs to be done now?

7/31/2005 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes you're just screwed. The most sensible thing I've heard articulated about the future came from Homer Simpson, who said "And if you get kicked out of that one you're going straight into the army, where you'll be sent straight into the latest miltary quagmire. Where will it be? North Korea? Iran? Anything's possible with Commander Cuckoo Bananas in charge."

7/31/2005 11:38 AM  
Blogger monkeygrinder said...

They kick us out and we discover human rights.

Hmmm.

7/31/2005 2:30 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

"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.""

Why is the US bringing Uzbek "refugees" to Romania? How many? Weren't Muslims the victims in the Andijon incident? This story stinks.

The US has backed Islamic extremists in Chechnya and Bosnia.

8/01/2005 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the US really doing the right thing or the Uzbek government doing us a favor - however unintentionally.

This government should have had the balls to question the Uzbek government before and threaten to pull out. Something similar is going on with Sudan. We supposedly need them and are willing to overlook their little issues." Bush & Co do little of substance with regards to Sudan because suposedly the Sudanese government is helping with the GWOT or now G-SAVE.

8/01/2005 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the subject of Amerikan morals and CIA sponsored "Renditions" of "Terrorists" to Morocco etc....

They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor's scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they'd electrocute me. Maybe castrate me. They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Maybe an inch. At first I just screamed ... I was just shocked, I wasn't expecting ... Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn't want to scream because I knew it was coming.

Why am I posting this? One word: awareness. Or maybe two words, I should say: additional awareness.

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said. They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.

Doctor No 1 carried a briefcase. "You're all right, aren't you? But I'm going to say a prayer for you." Doctor No 2 gave me an Alka-Seltzer for the pain. I told him about my penis. "I need to see it. How did this happen?" I told him. He looked like it was just another patient. "Put this cream on it two times a day. Morning and night." He gave me some kind of antibiotic.

One time I asked a guard: "What's the point of this? I've got nothing I can say to them. I've told them everything I possibly could."

"As far as I know, it's just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you'll have these scars and you'll never forget. So you'll always fear doing anything but what the US wants."

"hearts and minds."

They told me that I must plead guilty. I'd have to say I was an al-Qaida operations man, an ideas man. I kept insisting that I had only been in Afghanistan a short while. "We don't care," was all they'd say.

The coup de grace:

I suffered the razor treatment about once a month for the remaining time I was in Morocco, even after I'd agreed to confess to whatever they wanted to hear. It became like a routine. They'd come in, tie me up, spend maybe an hour doing it. They never spoke to me. Then they'd tip some kind of liquid on me - the burning was like grasping a hot coal. The cutting, that was one kind of pain. The burning, that was another.

In all the 18 months I was there, I never went outside. I never saw the sun, not even once. I never saw any human being except the guards and my tormentors, unless you count the pictures they showed me.

8/02/2005 7:21 PM  
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