Hit & Run

Hey, Giorgi! These Uzbeks bet me 50 kopeks I couldn't get three words out of you!

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How serious is the D.C.-Tashkent rupture over the Andijon massacre? Following the killing of (a reported) 500 people by government troops, former supporters of Uzbekistan strongman Islam Karimov are tepidly backing away. More tepid has been the condemnation by President Bush:

In terms of Uzbekistan—thanks for bringing it up—we've called for the International Red Cross to go into the Andijon region to determine what went on, and we expect all our friends, as well as those who aren't our friends, to honor human rights and protect minority rights. That's part of a healthy and a peaceful—peaceful world, will be a world in which governments do respect people's rights. And we want to know fully what took place there in Uzbekistan, and that's why we've asked the International Red Cross to go in.

Still, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning, a bunch of Senators are making noise, and pressure is growing to dump this dictator—whose usefulness to the administration's policy of International People's Democratic Revolutionary Struggle is no longer clear anyway.