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U.S. apathetic to human rights

By Rachel Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 22, 1999

To the editor,

Earlier this year, I wrote several letters to the Wildcat decrying the bombing of Kosovo. I claimed that despite the U.S. government's statements to the contrary, the bombing had nothing to do with humanitarian concerns. Now, after examining the effects of the bombing and the administration's response to another human rights disaster, East Timor, it is devastatingly obvious that the U.S. government has no serious concerns for human rights abuses whatsoever; the only relevant concern is money.

First, let's examine the current situation in Kosovo. After 78 days of bombing hospitals, nursing homes, refugee convoys and an embassy, hundreds of civilians are dead and thousands have been misplaced from their homes (we don't have any accurate estimates of the war dead, yet). Unexploded cluster bombs litter the countryside, while angry KLA militias hunt down Serb civilians. Since bombs hit oil refineries and chemical plants and because the U.S. used depleted uranium weapons, Yugoslavia is now an ecological disaster. Additionally, the bombing destroyed the pro-democracy movement, thus ensuring Milosevic's continued control of the region.

Next, let's examine a situation that makes Kosovo look like paradise:

East Timor. Since 1975, the U.S. has been funding, training and arming the very militia groups who are now on a killing rampage. It all began when Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger left Indonesia the day before Indonesia annexed East Timor in a bloody massacre. Twenty-four years of killing continued, aided by an infusion of military support from Jimmy Carter and Richard Holbrooke, that left a third of the population dead. Since East Timor voted for independence on Aug. 30, a new wave of terror has begun, resulting in the U.N.'s withdrawal. The U.S. has sluggishly said it will finally halt aid to Indonesia and approves of a pause in IMF and World Bank loans. Why no stronger response? Because of U.S. business interests in Indonesia (Nike's subcontractor factories, Freeport-McMoRan, and Texaco, Chevron, and Mobil).

As is clear from the effects of the Kosovo bombing, the only real goal there was to line the pockets of defense contractors with the $3 billion spent on the air campaign. Kosovo was good for business. Intervening in East Timor, on the other hand, would be bad for business because it might affect the interests of the above-named multinationals and create a climate that was unfriendly to future investment. The hypocrisy is obscene.

Rachel Wilson

Psychology graduate student

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