Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The U.S. and the Uzbek Massacre

It's impossible to uphold consistent standards on human rights while maintaining and expanding a global empire. That's this week's lesson from Uzbekistan. On May 13, Uzbek government troops killed hundreds of people (the government claims that 173 people were killed; human rights groups estimate the dead at between 500 and 1,000) who were protesting oppression in the former Soviet republic.

NATO initiated a process to investigate the killings. But the United States, not wanting to upset the Uzbek government and possibly threaten U.S. military bases in the country, blocked NATO's investigation (and has thwarted other international efforts to respond to the massacre).

The Christian Science Monitor called the U.S. actions "awkward" ("Calls for investigation highlight 'awkward' US ties with authoritarian government"). Some might use a different word. How about "criminal"? Or maybe "immoral"? At the very least, set against U.S. claims to be a beacon of human rights, let's go with "hypocritical."

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