"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rightly deplored the violence in Bahrain, and the administration as a whole should speak out forcefully."
...is rendered ludicrous by this:
"In October the Department of Defense, which administers sales to foreign countries, finally announced an arms package worth some $60 billion, including 70 Apache attack helicopters, also made by Boeing, and the fleet of F-15s [to Saudi Arabia]."
You know, instead of speaking out forcefully -- gettin all up in their grill and shit -- how about telling the Saudi/Bahrain bosses "if you beat down protesters, we won't sell you arms"? But that would assume a different political reality in which the Peacemonger-in-Chief and his ilk are significantly motivated by humanitarian concerns.
Most Americans, meanwhile, are unaware that Washington actively pushes these arms on preferred tyrants. Differences between the worthy victims of Libya and the semi-worthy victims of Bahrain are conjured up to justify official policy on humanitarian grounds. For starters: "All this is tragic because the ruling al-Khalifa family can be justly proud of what it has built in Bahrain..."
On the one hand, the establishment justification for using lethal force in Libya is that it's ruled by a tyrant who crushes dissent. On the other, establishment little-guy protectors like Kristof at most urge speaking out forcefully against Saudi Arabia/Bahrain because they're also ruled by tyrants who crush dissent with the world's finest dissent-crushing machines, sold to them by the...U.S.A!! U.S.A.!! Exporting freedom for over two centuries, baby.