Thursday, December 14, 2006

Syria and Pinochet

In two, as usual, excellent blogs, Glenn Greenwald parses the Washington Post's editorial of December 12 on Pinochet. Mr. Greenwald very rightly takes issue with the laudatory sentiments of that editorial which basically states that, when all is said and done, it doesn't matter how many people a dictator slaughters, what really matters is building a free market society. (Implicit in the latter is that this free market allows American investors access to the resources of the dictator's country.) It contrasts Castro's Cuba (which, in spite of America's 60 year boycott, still has a better health system than the U.S.) with Pinochet's regimen (with its torture, death squads, and repression) coming out on top.

I will admit, that I was pretty appalled by the editorial and was appreciative of Mr. Greenwald's commentary which put it in perspective.

Now we have the Post reporting on Senator Nelson's (D-Fla) trip to Syria to try and open negotiations with that government to extricate us from the horror that is Iraq. I am sure we will have the condemming editorial within minutes. I particularly like this quote from the White House via Tony Snow:
In a statement in President Bush's name, the White House said yesterday that Syrians deserved a government grounded in "the consent of the people, not brute force." Bush said Damascus should stop trying to undermine Lebanon's government.

The White House also called for the immediate release of Syrian political prisoners, specifically naming Michel Kilo, Anwar al-Bunni, Aref Dalila, Mahmoud Issa and Kamal Labwani. Bush expressed concern that some ailing political prisoners are being denied health care and that others are being held in cells with violent criminals. (emphasis added)
Yes, yes, yes. We are in favor of "consent of the people" and "release of political prisioners." But, for God's sake, let's not have consistency.

Syria, as a Shiite State, holds the key to Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon, neither of which will submit to brute force. If we haven't learned that in the last four years, we aren't ever going to learn it. You can still negotiate with a government (e.g. China) even if you, ha, ha, despise them. (China, of course, lets us implant Walmarts, stealth capitalism.)

By the way, now that we are remembering the past with Pinochet, lets also remember Christmas Bombing:
But as the music of bells and carols yield to the drums of a mounting military cadence, America about to go to war, another Christmas memory intrudes. This year marks the 30th (34th, this was written in 2002, DrC) anniversary of the Christmas bombing of North Vietnam. For people of a certain age, the thought of that unprecedented air assault, lasting from Dec. 18- 30, intermittently disturbs the tranquility of the otherwise holy season. How staggered we were at reports of the bombs falling day and night on cities across North Vietnam. Hanoi and Haiphong were especially hard hit.

American pilots flew nearly 4,000 sorties, including more than 700 by high-flying B-52s. Those ''area bombers,'' incapable of precision, had never been used against cities before. That they were used now was a sure sign that this was terror bombing pure and simple. (emphasis added)
You see, everyone is someone's terrorist.

And, if you don't think nuking Iran this Christmas isn't on the table at the White House, you don't know your President.

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