Egypt Massacres Add Urgency to Congress’ Calls to Stop US Aid to Junta

Administration Spurns Real Change, But for How Much Longer?

Enormous massacres really have a way of crystalizing an issue.

After a month and a half of fighting with the Obama Administration over their decision to deliberately ignore US law and maintain aid to Egypt’s military junta following a coup, many hundreds of deaths have reflected the urgency of the situation and are giving a shot in the arm to Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) and a handful of others who tried and failed to get the $1.5 billion in aid cut before.

“While President Obama condemns the violence in Egypt his administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for it,” noted Paul, while Senate Democrats seem to be warming to the idea as well after President Obama’s announcement of cancelling military drills but not aid fueled charges of double-dealing.

The administration has long argued that continuing aid to the junta allowed the US to retain significant influence over Egypt’s military rulers, and insisted that while US law obliges them to end aid in the event of a coup, it doesn’t require them to notice a coup unless they feel like it.

Yet as a practical matter the US influence doesn’t seem to amount to much, at least not when the junta can slaughter civilians in the street and the US disapproval is essentially an afterthought.

For now cancelling a single round of war games is all the president is prepared to do, and that’s clearly far short of what either the law or basic common decency would demand. The question then becomes, how much longer and how many more massacres can the president try to gloss over before the weight of the junta’s crimes force an action that should’ve happened at the start of July?

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.