US Taxpayers Forced to Fund Failed War
UN Says Peace, US Says More War
The U.S.-funded war in Colombia continues to expand, to harm innocent people, to fail to meet its objectives. Here are some excerpts from recent articles in the San Francisco Chronicle and Agence France Presse.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, met with civil rights activists in Bogota Tuesday in her investigation of human rights conditions in war-torn Colombia.
Robinson, who is wrapping up a two-day visit, met Monday with Pastrana and top government officials to hear their report on human-rights conditions in the war-torn country.
The Colombian officials told Robinson that illegal armed groups are the main violators of human rights in Colombia, and they said they were holding firm to their commitment to resolve armed conflict through negotiation.
Colombia is trying to withstand a large influx of money and arms from the United States.
Whoever wins the US presidency will also inherit the Clinton administration's risky commitment to finance the drug war in Colombia.
With the passage last June of a $1.3 billion military aid package, President Clinton and Congress set the stage for American troops and helicopters to intervene in a civil war that has raged for nearly 40 years.
But no one can stop drug production and traffic in Colombia. Thousands of people -- including peasants, large plantation owners, guerrillas and death squads -- survive or thrive on narco-dollars. As a result, none of the warring parties believe it has anything to gain by ending the war.
Nor is it possible to limit the war to Colombia. Stop drug production in any area of the Andean region and up pops coca fields in neighboring nations.
To persuade other Andean countries to support what threatens to turn into a full-scale attack against anyone they suspect of involvement in the drug business, the United States is offering major assistance programs to be paid for by the US taxpayers. Panama and Venezuela have rejected such aid as bribes.
While investigating allegations that the Colombia government tolerates torture, murder and rape, Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., a vocal opponent of U. S. military assistance, may have been an assassination target. Also, by accident, a helicopter sprayed him with the same herbicide used to destroy coca fields. Such chemicals pose health threats to peasants, their animals and land.
It's a disaster -- all minuses and no plusses. The escalating war kills people, stigmatizes the USA, wastes taxpayer money. Better alternatives exist. What's your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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