Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Domestic Lawsuits Help Pressure Foreign Regimes

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Domestic Lawsuits Help Pressure Foreign Regimes

Article excerpt

Regarding Peter Choharis' Sept. 26th opinion piece, "Global firms need codes, not lawsuits," the law that permits alien plaintiffs to sue corporations in the United States limits relief to only grave violations of human rights.

Our courts have rightly adopted the reasoning that there are some crimes which make those involved enemies to all mankind and therefore actionable. Torture, genocide,and arbitrary executions are some of the crimes that the law encompasses. In order to be held accountable, the company must be complicit in the commission of those crimes. That companies involved in these types of abuses should be excused because they bring "jobs" is absurd.

Mr. Choharis dismisses that corporations acting in those countries could have any effect on the local politics. Inreality, corporations often are the main source of capital that allow repressive regimes to remain in power. If corporations areheld accountable, a regime that hopes to gain foreign investment would be encouraged to lessen its abuses. Allowing corporations to continue to aid in the commission of abuses without repercussions only benefits those who are willing to violate human rights to gain cheap and exploitable labor.

Andrew Howard Atlanta

Contradictions in Bush's Europe plan

In their Sept. 25 opinion piece, "A President Bush would retreat from Europe," Ronald Asmus and Jeremy Rosner call for Governor George W. Bush to explain why he would reduce America's commitments abroad.

If statements by Mr. Bush's running mate, Dick Cheney, reflect a Bush administration's strategy, they don't provide a clear explanation. Mr. Cheney has said that he wants to "keep the coalition in force" to deal with Sadam Hussein if weapons inspectors are denied entry to Iraq, and wants to reduce American troop presence in the Balkans.

The Iraqi policy would have us depend on cooperation among allies, while the Balkan policy would dismiss our NATO partnership role in the Kosovo conflict. …

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