The use of the United States military to promote human rights values in foreign militaries has taken on a much added significance in the post-Cold War era. Emerging democracies often look to American soldiers to assist them in establishing a law-based military whose policies, rules, and practices are rooted in respect for human rights.
Major General Kenneth Bowra, United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) (USASFC(A)), has made the promotion of human rights in the militaries of the emerging democracies a top priority for the Army Special Forces. With regard to America’s desire to inculcate human rights values in friendly foreign militaries, Special Forces soldiers have proven themselves to be premier ambassadors. By word and deed, Special Forces promote the message that commitment to preserving human rights is the hallmark of a professional military serving the interests of a democratic nation.
A window of opportunity now exists for Special Forces to make substantial contributions toward building and strengthening human rights concerns in the militaries of emerging democracies. Just ten years ago, hundreds of countries functioned under some form of nondemocratic rule. Today, the vast majority of these nations operate under properly elected civilian governments, but great nations are neither created nor sustained by accident. United States’ assistance is often required to help solidify and, in many cases, create a true commitment to promoting and preserving human rights, and the Special Forces are uniquely positioned and equipped for such a task.
Jeffrey F. Addicott, A Special Forces Human Rights Policy, Army Law. 47 (Sept. 1996).