On Friday morning
, when it still wasn't clear what was going on in Andijon, we reserved judgement. However, it is now obvious that the Uzbek government has engaged in unprovoked slaughter of its own citizens. Regardless of who was responsible for the original prison break-in or why, most of the people who gathered in the town afterward were unarmed civilians protesting the desperate poverty and corruption in the region. The government troops, several reports have noted, shot them down like rabbits.
We are concerned that the U.S. State Department
does not yet seem to have issued a statement condemning the violence. Do the Bush administration really want to spread democracy, or are they happy to exchange one set of tyrannies for another?