Monday, May 30, 2005

It's About Time

Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John Sununu speaking in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, harshly criticized the Uzbekistan government and said the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe should conduct an independent investigation into the uprising and subsequent crackdown on May 13 that led to hundreds of innocent civilian deaths. Senator McCain had particularly stinging criticism of Uzbekistan's government, stating, "History shows that continued repression of human rights leads to tragedies such as the one that just took place." It's good to see that someone in U.S. government has finally had it with Uzbekistan's shenanigans. When the U.S. fails to get tough with its authoritarian allies like Egypt and Uzbekistan, it undercuts the credibility of President Bush who has said that the U.S. will support the citizens of countries who seek freedom. What has Uzbekistan done for the U.S.? We do have a small base there, which has been an important hub for the mission in Afghanistan, though the base is becoming of less importance with the security situation in Afghanistan stabilizing. In addition, Uzbekistan's counterterrorism efforts are doing more harm than good. They may be rounding up their fair share of terrorists, but they're also arresting many dissents, who the Uzbekistan government is calling terrorists to justify their arrest and subsequent torturing. The result of these counter-terrorism efforts is what occurred on May 13. It's time to reevaluate the U.S.-Uzbekistan alliance.