The principal goal of these programs is to bolster allies and promote stability. But done poorly, it can fuel conflicts, enable human rights abuses, and draw the United States into unnecessary wars. Unfortunately, U.S. military aid programs perform poorly far too often, and they are growing rapidly without adequate congressional or public scrutiny.
By all journalistic reports, it was the Egyptian government of President Hosni Mubarak that sent thousands of armed thugs into Tahrir Square and the streets of Cairo yesterday to bring violence to what had been a peaceful and nonviolent protest for democracy. Some think many of those who were attacking the protesters were police in plain clothes. Others are believed to have been hired and bused in to foment violence with machetes, clubs, and razors -- some riding in on horses and camels into the peaceful crowds. A call for peace now must mean a call for Mubarak's immediate resignation.