Thursday, January 05, 2006

An interesting question

Impressed by Craig Murray's outspoken criticism of Uzbek human rights abuses (and British collusion in them) when he was British ambassador to that country, The Progressive's Amitabh Pal asks where are his American counterparts?

[T]here have been no sitting ambassadors who have had the courage to resign and openly question the Bush Administration’s policies. In contrast to Murray’s outspokenness, the U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan, Jon Purnell, warned Uzbek activists in 2004 not to ask him “political questions.” When I visited Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt in 2002, I found U.S. diplomats, including ambassadors, bending over backward to justify authoritarian practices in their host countries.

Some of this is understandable, since it is part of the job of U.S. diplomats to maintain good relations with friendly governments. But the eagerness of U.S. diplomats to perform this task was disconcerting. Where are the U.S. ambassadors to nations such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Poland, and Romania, countries to which the United States has sent prisoners to be held in secret prisons.

While I initially thought this could be due to the difference in appointment methods, the US Ambassador to Uzbekistan is also a career civil servant (I guess none of the President's campaign donors wanted a taxpayer-funded holiday in central asia). So you really do have to wonder...

(Hat tip: Craig Murray)