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Guatemala: Bill Clinton's Latest Damn-Near Apology (oldie but goodie I just discovered)

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 09:49 PM
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Guatemala: Bill Clinton's Latest Damn-Near Apology (oldie but goodie I just discovered)
Guatemala: Bill Clinton's Latest Damn-Near Apology

Bob Harris"
March 16", 1999"

"If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so."
-- Guatemalan President Carlos Arana, 1971

"The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea."
-- Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt, 1982

"United States... support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression... was wrong."
-- United States President Bill Clinton, last Wednesday

So President Clinton finally damn-near apologized for America's role in almost a half-century of repression in Guatemala.

Clinton was forced into this damn-near apology after the U.N.'s independent Historical Clarification Commission issued a nine-volume report called "Guatemala: Memory Of Silence."

Created as part of the 1996 peace accord that ended Guatemala's civil war, the Commission and its 272 staff members interviewed combatants on both sides of the conflict, gathered news reports and eyewitness accounts from across the country, and extensively examined declassified U.S. government documents.

The result?

The U.N.'s Commission concludes that for decades, the United States knowingly gave money, training, and other vital support to a military regime that committed atrocities as a matter of policy, and even "acts of genocide" against the Mayan people.

Thus Clinton's latest appalling damn-near apology.

It's a common rationalization that in a civil war, both sides commit atrocities in roughly equal amounts. But the Commission examined 42,275 separate human-rights violations -- torture, executions, systematic rape, and so on, including 626 documented incidents the Commission could only describe as "massacres." The final score:
93% were committed by U.S.-supported government paramilitary forces.
4% cannot be attributed with certainty.
3% were committed by rebels.
And worse, as Amnesty International and other independent observers have reported for years, the vast majority of victims were non-combatant civilians.

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