Monday, December 11, 2006

Pinochet: good riddance


I'm not normally one to rejoice at any deaths. But Augusto Pinochet's death is an exception.

Listening to Norman Lamont on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning made me seethe a bit. He repeated the old right-wing canard that Pinochet saved Chile - and thus the world - from Communism, and therefore wasn't so bad. (An argument as disingenuous as the one that Stalinism saved Eastern Europe from ethnic infra-nationalist strife, or Saddam saved Iraq from theocratic communalism, and therefore we should have tolerated those regimes.)

Lamont also said that if we start going and arresting heads of state, then no head of state could travel anywhere - mentioning Ariel Sharon as his example. The Sharon mention is also disingenuous, as Sharon is a war criminal, who should be tried at Hague, whereas Pinochet's extradition request was from Spain, for crimes against Spanish citizens. I say, if heads of state commit crimes, bring them to justice, don't give them impunity.

More from Marc Cooper, Cunt of the Week*, and Marcus and Wardy at HP.

(*On the politics of the C-word, see Shiraz Socialist and the comments there.)

Added links: Marc Parent on the death of Jeane Kirkpatrick, Poliblogger on Pinochet and Castro
Another added link: Getting away with murder, by Max Calo
Yet another added link: David Frum "No Tears"
A little more: Oliver Kamm (via Courtney) and The Hitch

3 comments:

nicole said...

The war against communism and hunger in Chile left aproximately 3000 dead.
US war versus terrorism, how many?
Consider facts within context, please.

max said...

Thanks Bob for flagging up Lamont's selective thinking.
His reasoning is particularly weak when you consider that by murdering opponents outside Chilean national boundaries including Italy and United States Pinochet exposed himself to international law.

bob said...

I don't actually get Nicole's point here. Is the 3000 dead trivial because America has killed more people in the war on terror? Of course not. Every atrocity, every act of killing, is a moral outrage in its own right, and to try and apply some sort of perverse moral economics to comparing acts of violence is utterly wrong.