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Up in arms.

Mother Jones is to be commended for showing how the Clinton administration's arms-trade policy actually works against U.S. interests. But while your article ("Rocket Man; Outfront, March/April) covers the economic price U.S. citizens must pay for the arms trade, it does not sufficiently emphasize the security and human rights ramifications of U.S. arms exports.

A pending arms sale to Turkey provides a case in point. Two U.S. companies--Bell Textron and Boeing--are being considered for a Turkish bid to co-manufacture 145 attack helicopters. The U.S. often turns a blind eye to the security risks of exporting arms, especially if the recipient is an ally. Turkey has repeatedly used U.S.-supplied weapons to provoke fellow NATO member Greece, often requiring U.S. intervention to prevent open conflict. Turkey recently threatened Greece over its alleged harboring of Kurdistan Workers Party leader Abdullah Ocalan, who was recently arrested in Kenya by the Turks. Approving the sale of attack helicopters now would signal strong support for the Turkish government as it is once again brandishing its swords against its traditional foe.

The State Department and independent sources have documented Turkey's use of U.S. military equipment, in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws, in its war against the Kurds. Turkey will most likely use the helicopters to continue its brutal war, risking further human rights violations. In December 1997, the Clinton administration explicitly required improvements in Turkey's human rights and democratic practices be fore it would allow the helicopter sale to go through. "Rocket Man" Bill Clinton could demonstrate his commitment to human rights by sticking to this promise, before he has any more blood on his hands.


Acting Director, Arms Sales

Monitoring Project

Federation of American Scientists

Washington, D.C.

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Title Annotation:BACKTALK
Author:Gabelnick, Tamar
Publication:Mother Jones
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 1, 1999
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Next Article:Principled precaution.

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