Here’s a question for Bush & Company: Can any of you even spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?
I’m prompted to ask because of back-to-back news items I saw regarding Donnie Rumsfeld’s recent jaunt to Moscow. At a press conference, our Pentagon honcho expressed concern about Russian arms sales around the world – sales that the Pentagon calls “disruptive weapons technologies.”
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Then, the very next day, Rummy was in Algeria, meeting with the country’s strongman president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Our Pentagon chief was again talking about arms sales – but rather than condemning them, he was trying to make some sales! “They have things they desire and we have things we can be helpful with,” Rumsfeld said about a possible arms deal with the Algerian military. Among the high-tech weaponry they want are night-vision goggles, helicopters, and fighter planes to help them crack-down on antigovernment rebels in the country’s southern desert.
If Rummy’s salesmanship has a vague deja vu ring to it, that’s because the most infamous instance of his peddling U.S. firepower to the ruler of a desert nation was in 1983. He had been sent to Iraq as a special emissary from Ronald Reagan to assure Saddam Hussein that we would supply him with sophisticated weaponry and help him build up Iraq’s military. That didn’t work out too well for America.
Oh, say the Bushites, this is different, for Bouteflika is our ally against global Islamic terrorism. Hello… Saddam was our ally in 1983. And Bouteflika, who essentially seized power with military backing seven years ago, has a less-than stellar record on human rights and democracy. Once again, Rummy is siding America with power elites… and arming them! Indeed, the arms we provide to Bouteflika would be used against his own people and possibly against Algeria’s smaller Islamic neighbors.
This is Jim Hightower saying… How exactly is this helping America win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world?
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