etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer Election 2000 & East Timor

Where the Presidential Candidates Stand

George W. Bush
Al Gore
Ralph Nader
David McReynolds

Vice President Al Gore (Democratic Party)
Although grassroots pressure forced Congress to restrict U.S. military aid to Indonesia many times since 1992,the Clinton-Gore Administration opposed such actions. Last year, they failed to curtail Indonesian military/militia terror before and after the vote in East Timor. By the time the administration finally cut off all military relations on September 9,opening the way for a UN force to enter East Timor, it was too late to prevent post-vote violence. 

In the wake of the 1991 Dili Massacre, Gore was one of 52 Senators who signed a letter to President Bush supporting self- determination for East Timor. 

After becoming Vice President in 1993,Gore described “the outrage that has been committed against the people of East Timor by the government of Indonesia. The history of the conflict there is long and complex but the essence of the injustice is starkly simple: unarmed innocent people in their homeland have been killed and imprisoned and mistreated. It is an abuse of human rights. How it is remedied represents a full range of other questions.” Gore never answered those questions. For the next seven years, he said little about East Timor, and never dissented from Clinton Administration policy. Gore has not commented on the Pentagon ’s resumption of U.S. military relations with Indonesia. Why not?

Governor George W. Bush (Republican Party)
His father was one of the bipartisan line of Presidents who supplied weapons, military training, political, diplomatic and economic support to the Suharto regime and its occupation of East Timor. 

Bush’s running mate Richard Cheney was Secretary of Defense during the 1991 Dili massacre in East Timor. When Cheney visited Indonesia five months later and met with Suharto and top military officials, he failed to mention East Timor, telling a Jakarta press conference “we have in the past worked with Indonesian armed forces and are eager to continue to do that in the future.” 

One of Bush ’s top foreign policy advisors is Paul Wolfowitz, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia in the early 1980s,when the killing in East Timor reached its peak. Wolfowitz conveyed unflagging U.S. political, diplomatic and military support for Indonesia ’s brutal dictatorship during this period. 

In June 1999, to prove he was keeping up on foreign policy issues, Bush said “ ....if the East Timorians decide to revolt, I ’m sure I ’ll have a statement.” Does he now have a better grasp on the situation in East Timor and Indonesia? 

Ralph Nader (Green Party)
When asked what a Nader foreign policy would look like by the American Prospect, he said "we [would] basically engage in a lot of preventive diplomacy, a lot of preventive defense. Preventive diplomacy would have dealt with situations like Indonesia, instead of the Kissinger diplomacy that led to East Timor and a lot of other travails there. The same with Vietnam. We seem to always side with the dictators and the oligarchs and never with the peasants and the workers."

David McReynolds (Socialist Party USA)
"I support the independence of East Timor, as provided for by the United Nations and confirmed in the vote taken under UN auspices. East Timor is not part of Indonesia and suffered deeply from the illegal invasion and occupation carried out by Indonesia. The United States - along with Australia, Japan, and Great Britain - is responsible for providing arms to Indonesia and being complicit in the violent occupation. I call for a complete and unconditional end of all further US arms sales." (Special to ETAN)

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Updated August 8, 2000


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