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U.S. track record on promoting human rights? Not that great, actually

I agree with pretty much all of Jules Witcover's criticism of President Donald Trump (“Thanks for nothing,” Nov. 27) but when he speaks of America as "a bulwark in defense of human rights around the world,” he loses me. Franklin Roosevelt summed up our view of human rights years ago when, speaking of Nicaragua’s brutal dictator, Anastasio Samoza Garcia, he allegedly said, "He may be a SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

Whether or not FDR actually made that comment is beside the point. It represents a philosophy that has essentially guided our dealings with other countries for generations. Mr. Witcover's criticism of President Trump for giving Saudi Arabia a pass in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi illustrates the point. We have been supporting the Saudis for years in their inhumane treatment of the civilian population of Yemen. And speaking of inhumane treatment, we cannot overlook our unstinting support for Israel in their vicious and well-documented treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. We not only condone it with our silence, we support it with some $3.8 billion a year — for God knows what reason. And there are numerous other examples going back generations in our history.

So Mr. Trump is not, by a long shot, the first American president to give a free pass to abusers of human rights around the world.

John M. Sharpe, Glenelg

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