The Obama administration duly protested the latest crackdown, just as it previously urged the miltary not to use force against the demonstrations and to release Mr. Morsi and other political prisoners. The military’s disregard for these appeals was logical and predictable: Washington had already demonstrated that its warnings were not credible. Indeed, even as police were still gunning down unarmed civilians in the streets of Cairo Wednesday, a White House spokesman was reiterating to reporters the administration’s determination not to make a judgement about whether the terms of the anti-coup legislation had been met.
This refusal to take a firm stand against massive violations of human rights is as self-defeating for the United States as it is unconscionable. Continued U.S. support for the Egyptian military is helping to push the country toward a new dictatorship rather than a restored democracy. Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, the coup leader, increasingly is styling himself as a national savior in the mode of such former dictators asGamal Abdel Nasser; Wednesday’s bloody assault represents his crushing of civilian moderates in the interim cabinet who had called for compromise with Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Appropriately, their leader, Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, resigned.