Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Newsweek writes that "Even the Pentagon, which cut ties to the Indonesian military after massacres in East Timor two decades ago, was pushing for renewed links including increased U.S. assistance for Kopassus, the Indonesian special forces."
Even the Pentagon! When did they ever support not training Kopassus?
Congress and the administration (in response to Congressional pressure) first cut IMET military training in 1992. The Pentagon did everything it could to resist and undermine that policy. In 1998, the East Timor Action Network, journalist Allan Nairn, and members of Congress released documents that showed that the Pentagon had continued training under a program (JCET) not explicitly banned by legislation, defying Congressional intent not to further the skills of a military brutalizing people in East Timor and elsewhere. Kopassus were the shock troops of this repression. JCET then ended in mid-exercise as the Suharto dictatorship was in its death throes.
Training Kopassus remains a really bad idea, and the U.S. should not indulge Indonesia by resuming training. It will only further stall efforts in Indonesia and East Timor to hold them accountable for past and recent human rights violations.
Training will only embolden unreformed elements of the military and clearly won't discourage future crimes.
Guide to U.S. Security Assistance to Indonesia and East Timor