Subject: Letter to Ed: The Danger in Some of Our Alliances

Washington Post

Letters to the Editor

The Danger in Some of Our Alliances

Friday, January 30, 2009; Page A18

In his Jan. 26 <> Fine Print review of retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair's statement for the record as nominee to be director of national intelligence, Walter Pincus noted that the U.S. military "for years has provided training . . . for up-and-coming officers of foreign armies."

Mr. Pincus said that "such programs create relationships between American and foreign political leaders and military officers that can become useful when some of them rise to power in their own countries."

True. But these "relationships" can also blow up in our face as some of these "up-and-coming officers" engage in flagrant human rights abuses, corruption or anti-democratic acts. "Relationships" with such officers in Indonesia, Latin America and elsewhere have been more than an embarrassment, often rousing anti-American animosity in local populations.

The Obama administration should proceed with much greater caution in building such relationships and, more generally, in partnering with foreign militaries and intelligence agencies that abuse rights, are unaccountable to their own judicial systems and are not subordinate to civilian control.


Falls Church

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