Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dirtywork

I guess I should have known better. A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts to the effect that the professional Pinochet-hating crowd had lost a lot of momentum. But then I stumbled across this AP article by Bill Cormier, and now I know that there are still some of them lurking in the press. Cormier starts off so:


Latin America is finally owning up to its "dirty wars" - the nightmarish campaigns of state-sponsored violence in which hundreds of thousands died or "disappeared." But the death of Chile's Gen. Augusto Pinochet shows the continent's leftist leaders of today must act fast to expose the truth while the masterminds of this savagery are still alive.


OK, let's just start with the blindingly obvious. It can't be "the continent's leftist leaders" exclusively who need to fight this problem considering that the last time I checked Castro was a leftist and is clearly the greatest surviving example of a 20th century Latin American tyrant who needs a bullet in the head. Further, Pinochet is not a "mastermind of savagery." There was some limited savagery in 1973-4 that followed on the heels of a coup made bloody by the fact that Salvador Allende (a "leftist leader" if there ever was one, by the way) had been stirring up trouble for three years already and was finally ordered to shape up or resign by Congress, an order he ignored. It isn't as though Pinochet stayed up nights in 1972 thinking "great, now I'm a general. How can I best abuse my power to cause savagery? Because that's what I really want out of life is savagery."



Momentum is growing behind new human rights investigations in Chile and other countries where dictators ruled with impunity.


Well, right, except in Cuba, where human rights investigations are illegal unless undertaken against the US. But I forgot - Castro is a "leftist" and therefore belongs to the category of Latin American leaders who "must act fast to expose the truth." You know, come to think of it, maybe Cormier could just tell them "the truth," since he seems to already know it? Save them some trouble Bill? How 'bout it, buddy?


Inspired by the Cuban revolution and communist principles, small bands of armed leftists emerged in the 1960s and '70s across Latin America to orchestrate kidnappings, bombings and insurgencies. The response - state-sanctioned terror and authoritarian governments secretly supported by U.S. intelligence - cast a wide net.

Many nonviolent sympathizers were swept up along with suspected guerrillas, and U.S. intelligence agencies supported the dictators through Operation Condor, a scheme developed by Pinochet's secret police to deny dissidents safe havens.


And this is just ignorant. If Pinochet and Galtieri were such great pals - an impression the reader is clearly supposed to get here - then why did Pinochet supply intelligence to the British during the Falklands War - a war Galtieri needed to win to stay in power? (Indeed, the junta in Argentina was overthrown largely on the basis of having lost that little distraction.) Gee, you might almost think Pinochet was pulling the plug on a regime that had gone sour...


Mexico's police and army summarily executed more than 700 people from the 1960s to 1980s, according to a report quietly released last month that signals the Mexican government's first acceptance of responsibility for its dirty war.


The Mexican government was leftist, you moron! The PRI is in the Socialist International!!! In particular, the president named was not a right-winger:


Pinochet lived to 91. Paraguay's dictator Alfredo Stroessner died this year at 93 without being held to account. Because of his age - 84 - former Mexican President Luis Echeverria will likely avoid trial for what the government report described as a campaign of "massacres, forced disappearances, systematic torture and genocide."


Echeverria redistributed land, imposed foreign investment quotas, devalued the currency, allowed the PLO to open an office in Mexico City, nationalized key industries (notably US and European oil holdings) and gave material support to Salvador Allende. You can well argue that Echeverria wasn't a "leftist" in the Allende/Castro sense, but what you can't do is call him a right-winger!!!


"I believe in the truth and I aspire for justice," Bachelet said after Pinochet's death. "Chile cannot forget, as this is the only way we can look in a constructive way to our future, guaranteeing respect for the fundamental rights of all Chileans."


Right, this from someone who chose East Germany, of all places, for her exile. Wonder what they taught her about justice there? They didn't teach her much about free speech, that's for sure. She ordered Pinochet's grandson discharged from the army for accusing the judges seeking to try him of pursuing fame rather than justice (source).

I could go on, but it should be obvious by now that this article is a hatchet job, and as such should infuriate any free-thinking reader. We expect reporters to give us the facts as they are, not convenient fantasy categories in which all the bad guys vote Republican. The categories "left" and "right" are pretty crude to begin with; I'm automatically suspicious of anyone who uses them as absolutes. In this article, they're downright lies.

George Reisman has a much more forceful article making the same case for Pinochet that I did. Reading it, and now reading this bit of Cormier's imagination, I wish I had worded mine as strongly. I got sucker-punched. These people are bad news, and Reisman is right to stand up to them as he did. Pinochet is dead and in the ground. The campaign to spread lies about him in the cause of international socialism lives on. We should focus our attention on the living dragon, not the dead horse.

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