The US is a friend of Indonesia
... but not the military.
At a congressional hearing on Thursday 10th March, some of the participants criticized
the planned resumption of US military training aid to Jakarta, describing the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) as a "rogue institution with vast wealth and power that has committed crimes against humanity".
The U.S. exoneration of the Indonesian military removes a well-founded international censure that has given Indonesian government and civil society members the political space to press for reform of that notorious institution.Edmund McWilliams
, a former US diplomat now with the Indonesia Human Rights Network, criticized TNI for continuing to conduct brutal operations in Aceh. "With boasts that it has killed over 230 GAM members since the tsunami struck, the TNI clearly is not acting with restraint," he said.
"The most pro-active course for the US at this time is to step back from its growing embrace of the Indonesian military that remains the gravest threat to democracy and human rights throughout the archipelago," he added.
If the US can continue to uphold this stance, and delay training Indonesian troops until the TNI can demonstrate its commitment to upholding human rights in Aceh, Sulawesi and Papua, then there may be genuine gains in popularity without the need for rigged surveys