Thursday, April 08, 2004

A war on whoever

The war on terror proceeds apace. Leading the fight is one of America's "key allies", Uzbekistan, today's Times reports. It says Uzbekistan deals with anyone it suspects (read "accuses") of being an Islamist by simply torturing them to death.

If the murdered, ahem, "terrorist"'s mother should complain, not to worry, she can be locked up too. Mrs Mukhadirova is understood to have stayed away from cups of tea during her stay (the Uzbek gov't claims her son died after being scalded with hot tea during a prison fight).

I know what you're thinking. Uzbekistan has elections. If their leader's so bad, why didn't they vote the bastard out? Well, yes, there were elections. They had a smashing referendum, in which only those voting against the prez needed to bother turning up. It goes without saying that this makes a mockery of a secret ballot.

This, one has to assume, is the sort of democracy America wants to see in the world. After all, it's paying Uzbekistan a lot of aid.Indeed, Bush signed a waiver so that the US could continue to sell the Uzbeks weapons despite their not coming close to meeting human rights criteria.

Surely it's just a one-off? Well no. Take a look at its neighbour Turkmenistan.

And then remind me, why did we go bomb Iraq?


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