Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Gerald Ford and Genocide in East Timor

Today is Wednesday, 3 January 2007.

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"Blogger" has been experiencing difficulties in migrating blogs from one system to another. Some days I can post a column, some not. Hopefully, balance will soon return to the universe, and I'll add columns distributed by alternate means.
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In December 1975, President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Indonesia for consultations with the head of the military dictatorship, General Suharto. A primary topic was the island of Timor. Indonesia owned West Timor, while East Timor was a Dutch colony. Suharto asked for USA’s blessing, if after independence, Indonesia were to conquer and annex East Timor.

(This was crucial, since Indonesia received millions of dollars in USA military aid, which by treaty could not be used for crimes, including wars of conquest.)

As Indonesia was a firm USA ally, and the people of East Timor counted for less than nothing to Ford and Kissinger, the blessing was given. East Timor was duly invaded on 7 December 1975.

During a war which lasted until 1999, some 1/3rd of the East Timorese population was exterminated by the Indonesian military. This is ca. 250,000 human beings.

Some would argue that Ford and Kissinger had no reason to suspect that their blessing of a war of aggression would result in genocide. This position is untenable.

Ford and Kissinger knew quite well that, when the Indonesian military staged a coup in 1965, it exterminated 1.5 to 2 million of its citizens in consolidating control.

Perhaps Gerald Ford was a jolly good fellow in person (so long as one was not East Timorese).

However, in pardoning Richard Nixon, Ford acted on the principle that USA presidents are uniquely exempt from obeying the law or otherwise suffering the consequences.

In the case of East Timor, Ford facilitated and sanctioned genocide, a capital crime. No amount of ordinary guy, hail-good-fellow-well-met, nor any postumous sanctification can expuge such a crime.

I own a fawning biography of Suharto, The Smiling General. Gerald Ford is being buried today.

In the case of Gerald Ford: as Hamlet said, “ … one may smile, and smile, and be a villain”.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And will you be submitting this to the New York Times, et al?

From your version of things, it sounds like there were war crimes sanctioned by the USA, thus USA should have been brought to task for such crimes. However, was any fuss made back 1975-1999? Appears like it's too late now.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous whatever said...

Hey, you sure do like to spit on people's graves. There's a pattern here.

3:40 PM  

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