Subject: IHT: Letter to Editor

The International Herald Tribune

December 5, 2005 Monday


Weapons for Indonesia

In a bitter irony, the Bush administration recently waived restrictions on American military assistance to Indonesia just before the 30th anniversary of the Indonesian military's invasion of East Timor.

As detailed in the article ''Files show complicity on Timor'' (Dec. 2), just prior to the December 1975 invasion, Henry Kissinger turned a blind eye to Indonesia's attack on East Timor with weapons supplied by the United States.

Tens of thousands of civilians died as a direct result; nearly a third of the population perished in the following two decades.

No senior military or political official in multiple Indonesian or U.S. administrations has been held accountable for the crimes committed during the invasion or the subsequent quarter-century of occupation.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's decision to undermine Congress and allow an increase in American assistance to the brutal Indonesian military only sanctions this cycle of impunity.

Rice should retract the decision and instead put the administration's full weight behind an international tribunal on East Timor. After 30 years, Washington should have learned that genuine justice and human rights protections are in the national interest. Propping up an unreformed and unaccountable military is not.

Michael Proulx Dusseldorf, Germany

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