Egypt Denies Basic Civil Liberties To Its People . . . The United States Responds With $1.3 Billion In Military Aid For Government

President_Barack_Obama220px-MohamedMorsiPThis week President Barack Obama ordered the intervention into yet another war after Syria crossed his “red line” by using chemical weapons against its own people. However, over in Egypt, denying civil liberties and free speech appears no barrier to U.S. aid. In the very same week as using human rights to justify another intervention, the Obama Administration quietly approved $1.3 billion in annual US military aid to Egypt. Both Israel and Egypt continue to receive billions in such aid every year despite the reduction or termination of basic environmental, educational, and other programs in the United States.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the aid was “carefully considered” but it was viewed as necessary to “preserv[ing] important regional interests.” I almost wish it was not “carefully considered” given Egypt’s denial of basic civil liberties.

The same careful consideration has not prevented a cessation of all aid to Turkey despite that country attacking of hospitals, arrest of doctors for helping protesters, the faking of riots by police, and the use of caustic chemicals in water cannons by the government.

Secretary of State John Kerry notified Congress of the transfer of money shortly before the sentencing of 43 Egyptian and foreign NGO workers in what Kerry has denounced as a “politically-motivated trial.” That certainly showed them.

The government of Islamist President Mohammad Morsi and our other ally, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, show the hypocrisy of the United States in justifying military intervention in the name of human rights. Our credibility on such questions is further reduced by our own refusal to prosecute people responsible for the torture program and the widespread use of warrantless surveillance of our own people.

We are now supporting Islamist governments which are responsible for the greatest rollbacks on secular government in the Middle East. These same countries are responsible for the abuse of citizens seeking to exercise free speech and other basic liberties. We are sending billions to these countries that could be spent on our people who are facing weekly announcements of programs being cancelled for lack of funding.

95 thoughts on “Egypt Denies Basic Civil Liberties To Its People . . . The United States Responds With $1.3 Billion In Military Aid For Government”

  1. Nick S, I wasn’t feeling guilt so much as regret. It’s a complicated process. In August 2012 a dear friend of mine died WHILE I was en route to go out to Portland, OR to visit her and help her arrange hospice care. Delta Airlines screwed up my fight so badly that I missed her by 10 hours. (None of us expected that rapid a departure by her or that slow a departure by me.) I effin flipped; created a scene in the airport in Salt Lake City and got taken to medical emergency (result of learning on the cell phone that she had died and becoming utterly disoriented) in a wheel chair. Very humiliating. They wanted to throw me in the hospital and I had only 45 minutes until my connecting flight and for some reason a Felliniesque scene played out complete with a gaggle of black-garbed ultra Orthodox Rabbis in the hallway as they whisked me off to “emergency.” I am told that I was crying and saying: “It was only a four-hour delay no lifetime points!” To be honest, it sounds comical to me now. But I missed her and soon realized that I had taken that Delta flight to save $200. An extra $200 and I wouldn’t have had that horrible experience!

    Then Jon died. In a certain bizarre way it brought back the Oregon experience. Jon was interested in things Jewish and didn’t understand a lot of the subtleties that Mike Spindell and I often discuss and co-appreciate. I was getting ready to send him a package of small gifts that included a Jewish cook book — and some kosher TELMA bouilion cubes. [sp!?] Apparently you don’t find them in Stockholm. Never sent the package; considered that bad luck.

    It’s not that I feel guilty; it’s that I feel great regret. And a kind of rage that attaches to regrets whether they are associated with fault or not.

    I have a button that says:


    Damn, I have to change my life so I can wear that button SOON.

  2. Nick,

    Ah if it were only true at one point in life….it’d be so true….tried my damnedest ……

    Query to those that might know…. What ever happened to Bdaman…..

  3. AY, I’m glad you have a sense of humor. “The reports of your death were greatly exaggerated.” My apologies.

  4. Hey Nick…. I’m still here…I think in some form or fashion….lol

  5. Malisha, Thanks for posting my comment. AY was my first friend here. The wisdom he imparted about the cast of characters and dynamics was spot on. He could certainly be cryptic @ times, but that’s one of the many quirks I loved about him However, as I stated previously, this was a gentle man w/ a good heart. He welcomed me and others. Even before his death, I also have welcomed people who have been hit hard here upon their arrival. I have done this, and will continue to in honor of ID. We shared a love of food.

    Malisha, What I hear in your comment is some guilt. You are a very good person. And I’ll tell you my take on guilt. Those who could use a healthy dose of guilt never have any, and those who don’t need guilt are often overwhelmed by it. AY was a kind, loving man. Please know he is living free of the horseshit in our reality here on earth, and that he looks upon his friend, Malisha, w/ nothing but love. I am certain of that!

  6. After Malisha’s comment I went back again to the correspondence I had with ID707 and realized that I called him Ron in comments, when his name was Jon. It’s the type of memory mistake that happens more of late as I age into my dotage.


    Your closeness to him through correspondence is good to hear. It is nice to know that his presence here was substantial enough to have touched more than a few people beyond the threads. That is the meaning of “mishpocha”, which as you well know is one of the most important words in Yiddush.

  7. Thanks, Malisha. I thought that maybe he had died in heart surgery. He was an interesting man. He and I shared a fondness for Cedar Waxwings. I thought of him this spring when the birds migrated to this area for a few months.

  8. AY, I did not know ID died. That saddens me. I had his email and he didn’t respond to a couple, but in the times he did respond it was sporadic. I liked the guy even though he was quite different. He was scoffed @ by some here but it’s my personal belief the iconoclastic ID is in a much better world, where nobody scoffs or condescends. It’s a bit disturbing to me more people haven’t spoken of ID’s death. Did this just occur? The last email response I received from him was a couple months ago, maybe.

    ID707 only died on June 10. He was, in fact, in quite good health (comparatively speaking of course) and in very good spirits up until June 7. That’s the date I last heard from him.

    We corresponded privately by e-mail. He’d get mad at me when I didn’t respond or if I seemed to be ignoring an important question, but then I’d “fuss at” him and he’d forgive me and send me a url for a great piece of music. I really loved him and will miss him a LOT. He died suddenly. So suddenly, in fact, that I presumed he was mad at me for having gone out of e-mail contact for a few days (I was traveling and did not have access to the Internet). I e-mailed him a bit of a cranky “Hey stoppit! I worry when you do that!” e-mail and then I realized something must be wrong. I learned that he died by e-mailing other folks who had received some of his informative e-mails about something he might have discovered — one of them inquired and learned of his death. I wrote a short haiku for his memorial service but don’t have any idea when that will take place and I can’t go to Stockholm.

    Toward the end he really evolved; didn’t take insult so easily, became much more flexible. He told me that his wife (who had died years back) had a sign that said men had only two faults: “Everything they say and everything they do.” I responded that I did not KNOW if that was true because I didn’t know “everything [he] do[es].”

    R.I.P. He enriched me.

  9. Mike,
    I grew up in Skokie and never heard that one! Your statement about ID 707 is accurate. He was part of this band of brothers/sisters.

    1. “Mike,
      I grew up in Skokie and never heard that one!”


      Maybe the Jews you knew didn’t take you to their bosoms, or had forgotten their Yiddush 🙂

      Almost all of my parents closest friends were Italians and would always call us their “mishpuchah”. But then of course I lived in New York.

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