August 16, 2013
“It would not be in the best interests of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs to Egypt” (Press Secretary Jay Carney in response to the overthrow of President Morsi)
The right to peacefully assemble is an internationally recognized human right that must be protected under all circumstances. The more than five hundred men, women and children who were slaughtered by Egyptian military forces as they attempted to exercise that fundamental right is a crime that demands not only international condemnation but also criminal prosecution of those responsible. The attacks on anti-military demonstrators also compel us to demand that the Obama Administration end its immoral prevarication and call the Egyptian coup what it now clearly is – a coup.
The U.S. defense industry receives the bulk of the billion-dollar U.S. military aid package to the Egyptian military in a corrupt lateral transfer of public resources from the government to those industries. The Obama Administration should not let such interests dictate the political and moral position of the U.S. government. The U.S. government is deeply implicated in the murder, injury and arrest of thousands of Egyptians, perpetrated by the military regime using U.S.-supplied military equipment and U.S. trained military personnel.
As the eminent international jurist Richard Falk said,
“The murder of hundreds of innocent supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the declaration of the state of emergency makes Western diplomatic calls for compromise, inclusion, and mutual restraint irrelevant, and pathetic.”
We agree. We also understand the agenda of the anti-democratic financial and corporate elite and their representatives in the Republican and Democratic Parties. That agenda and the principles that inform that agenda were brazenly displayed in a Wall Street Journal editorial:
“Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who took over power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.”
For the financial and corporate elite and their hired guns in the two parties, it is order and the advancement of capitalist market relations and profits that is the priority. It does not matter to them that thousands of human beings were murdered, raped, tortured and disappeared during the 17-year reign of Augusto Pinochet.
That is why it is so important for those of us who believe in human rights, the possibility of real democracy, and basic human decency, to call on the Obama Administration to end American financing of the Egyptian military. Cutting off that financing is not only required by the Foreign Assistance Act, it is a necessary step in ending the use of U.S. military aid as a foreign policy tool in general.
On July 30th, the Green Shadow Cabinet explained that:
“Continued U.S. funding of the Egyptian military reinforces the old power structure and impedes Egyptian progress toward democracy. The removal of U.S. military funding will only strengthen democratic forces within Egypt, shifting the balance of power toward civil society.”
Given the mass murders committed by the new military regime this week, what possible excuse could the Obama Administration have for maintaining U.S. financial support for General Sisi?