United States Continues to Arm Governments Despite Human Rights Issues

United States Continues to Arm Governments Despite Human Rights Issues

"Human rights get put on a sliding scale. "

For many decades, the United States has been sitting near the top of the list of countries which provide arms for the rest of the world.  Selling the technology that brings power to some and destruction to others is as big of a business as it is a human rights concern.  But that has not stopped the US from allowing arms to be distributed to other countries, often those that use them to oppress their people and, when the US is forced to go in and stop the violence, these arms get used against American soldiers.  And, despite the lessons of the past, we are doing it again. 

The latest sale is to the island country of Bahrain.  They happen to be an ally of the US in our current struggle against Iran, which makes arming them an important tactical decision.  Still, the country itself is questionable when it comes to human rights issues.  Though the types and amounts of arms that are being allowed in the recent sale are limited, we are still providing weapons for a country that treats its citizens poorly enough that they are close to revolt.

The Bahraini government has been accused on many occasions of torturing and killing protestors in their country.  And yet we are still willing to give them these weapons.  A key US naval base rests on the island, so keeping them happy is important to the military, regardless of how they act.  Our pledges to protect human rights get put on the fence when it comes to such strategic matters.

The United States is once again shaming itself by demonstrating that our commitment to human rights is less important than our commitment to maintaining a strong military presence in the Middle East.  Human rights get put on a sliding scale.  Peace and change are measured against tactical advantage.  If we are not going to stick to our principles in such matters, how can we expect our own government to not hold the same view when it comes to its own citizens?  Do those who create our laws balance the maintaining of power with the human rights of its own people?  Is it even possible for us to truly dedicate ourselves to the ideals that we profess to follow when it comes to the suffering of our fellow human beings?