Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ah, That's Too Bad

It seems that former Indonesian President Suharto just might be dying. He's in a Jakarta hospital in critical condition for heart issues. For those who don't remember, Suharto was Indonesia's corrupt tyrant for decades until the late 1990s, when he finally stepped down. Instead of being sent to jail or exile, he has been allowed to stay in the country and lived well in retirement with the wealth that he stole from the country during his reign (estimates range from $20-$35 billion).

His was yet another of those strongman regimes that we supported during the Cold War to keep countries from flying off into Communism. So under his rule Indonesia got arms and money and Suharto got to tyrannize his people with nary a word from the west except no doubt for private congratulations to Suharto for his military's wide-spread murder of Communist and left wing supporters across the country. But hey, what's a mass murder here or there as long as we got to keep a friend in the region. Once the Cold War was over, and during a time of economic unrest in Asia, Suharto actually lost his influence and power.

Unfortunately, despite the blood on his hands and unbridled greed and theft, Suharto was never really put on trial and held to account for his crimes. He's been able to escape punishment through this and that odd illness since he left power. If he wasn't being prosecuted because he was too ill, the man should have died long ago.


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