Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pre-emptive Slander of Alvaro Uribe

Although most people probably won't recognize his name, Alvaro Uribe has been the president of Columbia since August 2002, and is stepping down next week at the end of his two terms. I'm not a big expert on Columbia, but the magnitude of his success as president has been so great that even non-experts couldn't have missed it: he inherited a basket case, one of the most violent and ungovernable places in the world, and hands over to his successor a mostly normal country. This wasn't done by smiling at people, and there were murky aspects to the story all along. The Economist recently summed it up:

NOTHING in the way he has led his country for the past eight years suggested that Álvaro Uribe, Colombia’s outgoing president, was going to fade discreetly into the background. And so it is proving. Mr Uribe inherited a failing state in 2002. With single-minded determination and the backing of the United States, he reduced the FARC guerrillas from a mortal threat to Colombian democracy to a scattered irritant and persuaded over 20,000 of their brutal opponents, the right-wing paramilitaries, to disarm. The fall in murders and kidnaps restored morale, investment and economic growth. Colombians are grateful: Mr Uribe, whose attempt to run for a third term was ruled unconstitutional, departs early next month with an approval rating of around 70%. The voters endorsed his call for the continuation of his “democratic security” policy by voting overwhelmingly for the candidate who most closely personified it: his former defence minister, Juan Manuel Santos.

Yet there has always been a darker side to Mr Uribe. Several of his officials and allies have been accused of complicity with the paramilitaries and his army murdered many civilians. The president has seemed to want to subvert the independence of the judiciary. In foreign affairs he was sometimes naive and erratic. Colombia has been unjustly isolated abroad.

Not a paragon of virtue, but still the savior of his country - and, given the murder rate in Columbia back in 2002 - a man who has saved the lives of tens of thousands on all sides of the conflict. Now compare that story to this description, posted at Mondoweiss in response to Uribe's appointment to the UN committee to investigate the flotilla case:

It’s difficult to catalogue and summarize the various political scandals that have plagued Uribe’s 8-year presidency. Three days before the announcement of Uribe’s appointment to the U.N. committee, the Colombian press reported the outgoing president’s verbal attack against Colombian Supreme Court Magistrate Yesid Ramirez, after Ramirez asked the nation’s prosecutor general to open an investigation into allegations that the president’s son, Tomás Uribe, bribed congressmen to ensure his father's re-election in 2006. The recent scandal is only the latest in one of many of Uribe’s public displays of contempt for the Colombian judiciary, the most famous of which was his outrage at the Court’s nixing of a referendum that would have allowed Uribe to run for a third presidential term.

More significant than political tumult or charges of corruption is Uribe’s contempt for international law, demonstrated by his government’s illegal use of the International Red Cross emblem in a hostage rescue mission in July 2008. Uribe admitted using the Red Cross emblem in the mission - which successfully duped the guerrilla into releasing several high profile hostages, including three Americans and one former Colombian presidential candidate – but dismissed the violation as a “mistake” committed by a soldier in a “state of angst”. Immediately following the mission, the Red Cross released a statement urging all sides to respect the ICRC emblem, but did not pursue the issue further. The Geneva Conventions prohibit improper use of the Red Cross logo.

You can win one of the world's worst civil wars; you can defeat one of the world's most murderous terrorist armies; you can enjoy the support of 70% of your nation's voters. None of this will gain you the support of the International Purist Human Rights Brigades, and if you get anywhere near a body which Israel has joined, you're toast.

My apologies to readers for having dedicated rather too much attention to the hate-filled sick people of Mondoweiss these past few days. I understand it's not a pleasant subject. On the other hand, there are some pathologies in the world we need to be aware of, and this is one of them.


NormanF said...

I've seen the slander on Mondoweiss. You might ask Phillip Weiss why its alright for UN panels to be stacked with individuals hostile to Israel but its verboten to name even ONE who might just be inclined to give Israel a fair hearing.

Yup, that's the world we live in, where due process for Israel gets dismissed because Israel has already been convicted in advance of any investigation.

I would say Alvaro Ulribe's being named to the flotilla panel has upset Israel's enemies since the last thing on earth they want is to hear the truth. They want Israel to be subjected to a drumhead court, which about says it all.

Gavin said...

It worries me more that they haven't criticised Geoffrey Palmer, the absence of teeth gnashing suggesting they approve of that appointment. I have to admit I was reassured more by Uribes presence than our 'ex prime minister', I don't trust Palmer to do the right thing here. His plucking from a career of relative obscurity is very suspicious to me. Palmer was only a caretaker PM, he's not even world famous in NZ so why did they pick him.


Sylvia said...

There was that former American Nazi who became recruiter for the United Klans of America, a group known for its violence at the time. His name was Daniel Burros. One day a New York Times article revealed his Jewish identity. True to his beliefs, Daniel Burros shot himself the same day.
The film "The Believer" (in some languages "Daniel Balint") is an adaptation from his true story, yet it shows the kind of unstability that has characterized Jewish self-hating rhetoric throughout the ages.

Yet, how can people be rational with such an irrational, divided, inciting, self-loathing, self-serving American Ashkenazi religious leadership? The things coming from Progressive pulpits make one just want to sit and weep.

NormanF said...

The Left is increasingly sounding like Stormfront. But they considered the Nazis kindred buddies right up to the time Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. It would have to be an attack on them for them to shed their present alliance with Islam.

Anonymous said...

The "imperfect has become the enemy of the good" as regards "purist human rights brigades" and all to the detriment of those they claim to speak for.

Jenni said...

Bobby Fischer, IQ 187
Daniel Burros, IQ 154

Self-hating mental insanity related to Ashkenazic intelligence?

Barry Meislin said...

...such an irrational, divided, inciting, self-loathing, self-serving American Ashkenazi religious leadership....

I have a bit of trouble understanding that phrase too (which is quite a whoppingly incorrect generalization), unless by "Ashkenazic" (sic) you mean, "progressive Jewish."

(Dollars to donuts, AIPAC is made up mostly of Ashkenazim---for what it's worth, given the make-up of American Jewry, but it doesn't matter much, I don't think.)

As for Daniel Burros being "true to his belief," if he were really, really true to his beliefs (truely true?) shouldn't he have shot himself way before he was outed by the NYT?

Sylvia said...

I mean "Rabbis Fasting for Gaza", I mean "Rabbis for Gaza", I mean Rabbis calling for BDS etc, etc. When you have a Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb calling not merely to boycott the settlements, but to extend the boycott to Israel proper (except for Arab olive products) does she sound like she knows what she is talking about?
Let her show how sincere and selfless is her concern for the Palestinians, let her boycott all airlines flying to Israel, all mezuzot from Israel, Talitot Tora scrolls and religious artifacts from Israel. Why not?

And then you have those who wouldn't talk to their uncle because he is Orthodox but would dialogue with Wahhabis and militate for their causes.Is that rational?

And don't you think that these attitudes and this divisiveness (hundreds of Ashkenazi sects including Hassidim)don't have an impact on young Jews? Who would want to join such a circus?

To my knowledge, AIPAC is not a religious organization though I imagine they include Rabbis - just like J Street.

You make a good point regarding Daniel Burros. In fact he made many previous attempts to commit suicide while in the Army, and it seems to me that I have read it was one of the reasons for his discharge.

Anonymous said...

so Uribe picked a fight with the courts - mmmh

I watch these at ever higher ethics aiming courts with distrust for quite some time now
- but that is only a gut feeling

I am getting told that more and more of our jurisdiction is landing before the courts because lawmakers are much more sloppy about writing laws as they used to be.

They may have good reasons to be i.e. that partisanship in parliament is such that any text is the best they can come up with and better than none and let the courts fix it. If that is so, it is in the end our. the public's, fault for leaving them with undecisive election results which, however, doesn't apply to Uribe's case, so there must be more to it.

I wonder, if the doers of this world, like the Economist presents Uribe, are up to something, if they "accuse" courts of what feels to me more and more often like arrogance i.e. acknowledgement in the higher realms of sophisticated thinking (like NGOs, the saints of our times?) is more desirable to them than even scant consideration for the demands of everyday life.