Monday, June 13, 2005

What a Friend We Have in Karimov

President Bush calls Uzbekistan's president Islam Karimov friend, after all he let the U.S. use an airforce base in his country to fight terrorism in Afghanistan. So we must turn a blind eye to the massacres, arrest, beatings and intimidation taking place in this country.

The Uzbekistan case pits one of President Bush's stated top priorities, demanding that dictators begin reforms that would defuse support for Islamic extremism, against one of his key military concerns, securing access to bases to support U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

Moreover, were Karimov to fall, he could be succeeded by a radical Islamic government that would be even less to U.S. liking, analysts said.

However, the United States is considering taking Uzbekistan to the United Nations for a human rights investigation, State Department officials said.

"We are considering all of our diplomatic options, including at the U.N.," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said last week.
I'm wondering if this kind of consorting with shady characters is what got us in to the mess we find ourselves in today.

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