If you rely primarily on popular news sources, you probably missed these two recent disturbing items:
President Bush has declined imposing financial sanctions against Saudi Arabia for their continuing sex slavery issues. http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050922/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_human_trafficking_1
The US Justice Department has stated that Pope Benedict XVI, as head of an ersatz “state,” should be immune from any legal action related to the cover up of church sex abuse, including a pending suit in Texas. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050920/ap_on_re_eu/pope_sued
You’d never think these originated from the same president who took such a hard line on sex trafficking and the abuse of children last year at a Tampa hotel. In that speech, President Bush stated:
“Human trafficking is one of the worst offenses against human dignity. Our nation is determined to fight that crime abroad and at home.”
“This trade in human beings brings suffering to the innocent and shame to our country, and we will lead the fight against it."
“America is also confronting nations that profit from or tolerate human trafficking.”
“Every nation that is complicit in human trafficking can know that the United States government is watching and there will be consequences if they don't act.”
The full transcript is posted on the White House Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/07/20040716-11.html
Toward the end of this speech, Bush zeroed in on Fidel Castro’s purported bragging about the quality of Cuba’s prostitutes. This was a nod to Cuban-Americans, whose votes Bush was courting at the time. Though the president mentioned many other countries, Saudi Arabia was notably absent from his speech.
Sure, Saudi Arabia is helping us with our anti-terror efforts; does that mean we can look the other way while people are terrorized, exploited, raped and beaten by their “owners” in that country?
What’s apparent from recent actions (or lack thereof) is that this administration believes subjecting women and children to sexual slavery and other forms of servitude and abuse can be overlooked when our allies are involved. At the same time, the offenses of our adversaries should receive extra attention - possibly to give the impression we truly care.
The demands of diplomacy notwithstanding, we must never allow unrelated issues (such as terrorism) to compromise our resolve against sex crimes. We must consider this a non-negotiable principle for every country we deal with, no matter what they’re doing for us. We cannot help the victims or punish the perpetrators/enablers of sex trafficking and abuse solely when it doesn’t conflict with our foreign policy objectives.