What an irony: Just after the tsunami’s horrific toll has (briefly) focused world attention on Indonesia’s grisly counter-insurgency war in Aceh, the US State Department is moving to approve restoration of official Pentagon ties to Indonesia’s military. Indonesia’s participation in the Pentagon’s International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was suspended following atrocities in East Timor in 1999. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is now advocating restoring it, telling key members of Congress "IMET for Indonesia is in the US interest."
The East Timor Action Network and other human rights groups protest the move, denying Rice’s claims that Indonesia has made progress in ending military absues. "In tsunami-stricken Aceh, the Indonesian military continues to manipulate relief efforts and to attack civilians as part of their counter-insurgency war," says ETAN’s John Miller. (ETAN press release, Feb. 7)