Pop Culture Junkette

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You Cannot Be Serious

Okay, this is not a political blog, but it is within our purview to criticize the Washington Post. One of the sad things in the past few years has been witnessing the decline of the Post's editorial page under its current editor, Fred Hiatt. His unquestioning advocacy of the war in Iraq and all of the accompanying chicanery has been particularly dismaying. It's as if they don't read their own paper, particularly the excellent reporting by Dana Priest.

But this morning's editorial about the death of Augusto Pinochet is a new low. Sure Pinochet staged a military coup that overthrew an elected president (resulting in his death). He killed more than 3,000 people. He tortured tens of thousands more. And he sponsored terrorist acts on American soil. But he advocated free market reforms and is therefore responsible for Chile's current economic success.

The evidence for this? That in the past 15 years (in other words after Pinochet left office in 1990), Chile's economy has grown faster than those of other Latin American countries.

But the most galling passage has to be this one:

The contrast between Cuba and Chile more than 30 years after Mr. Pinochet's coup is a reminder of a famous essay written by Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the provocative and energetic scholar and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who died Thursday. In "Dictatorships and Double Standards," a work that caught the eye of President Ronald Reagan, Ms. Kirkpatrick argued that right-wing dictators such as Mr. Pinochet were ultimately less malign than communist rulers, in part because their regimes were more likely to pave the way for liberal democracies. She, too, was vilified by the left. Yet by now it should be obvious: She was right.
Seriously? So, by the same token, does the contrast between, say, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Slovenia show that Ms. Kirkpatrick was full of shit? Or could it be that any degree of current political stability does not really justify any amount of past torture?

Rant over.



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