Where Are the Democrats on the Uzbek Massacres?

On Sunday, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and John Sununu (R-NH) issued what the New York Times called the “strongest statement by American officials since Uzbekistan carried out a bloody crackdown this month against a revolt and demonstration in the city of Andijon.”

How can this be? Where are the Democrats on this vital issue? Why aren’t they also publicly pressing the Uzbek dictator (and White House ally) Islam Karimov for an investigation into the massacres? Why aren’t they calling out the Bush administration for its milquetoast response to this new Tiananmen?

It’s not as if Karimov has changed his ways. His police are already “rounding up activists in a new crackdown,” AP reports today. And demanding a review of U.S.-Uzbek relations is a serious national security issue. As mentioned in an earlier post, even The Economist thinks Karimov’s “help in the war against terror is outweighed by the encouragement he has given to radicals of every stripe in Central Asia and beyond, and by the damage that association with him does to the West’s reputation.”

The fact is, it’s not always conservative spin or vapid consultants that deserve the blame when Democrats appear unprincipled on matters of national security and foreign affairs. In cases like this, it’s the sad but unmistakable truth.