Tag Archives: andrew sullivan

The Tedious American High Horse: Reflecting on the FARC

I hope Soob doesn’t mind me jamming on his brilliant post on torture. But high basic theme — the innanity of faddish fundamentalism — is applicable to the FARC too. Many of the American left and center-left are suspicious of American power, and are quick to aid opponents of the United States when they see American power used in a imperfect manner. One example is torture, where the obvious reality that is fixated on, there is an error rate, the equally obvious reality that your information on the manner is perfect is ignored. So when it comes to torture, hacks like Andrew Sullivan fixate on the topic, demanding a perfection in a war effort that exists no where else. Likewise, when it comes to the FARC (the armed wing of the Clandestine Colombian Communist Party), Senators like Chris Dodd are so angered by the Colombian governments imperfect efforts to fight terrorism that they condemn the Colombian government.

The Americas – WSJ.com
It may have taken years for army intelligence to infiltrate the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and it may have been tough to convincingly impersonate rebels. But what seems to have been a walk in the park was getting the FARC to believe that an NGO was providing resources to help it in the dirty work of ferrying captives to a new location.
The Colombian military tricked the FARC into releasing their most valuable hostages. Mary Anastasia O’Grady, who writes the “Americas” column, talks with Kelsey Hubbard about how the once-powerful guerrilla group was duped. (July 7)

I am reminded of President Álvaro Uribe’s 2003 statement that some “human rights” organizations in his country were fronts for terrorists. Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd got his back up over Mr. Uribe’s statement, and piously lectured the Colombian president about “the importance of democratic values.”

But as the helicopter story suggests, Mr. Uribe seems to have been right. How else to explain the fact that the FARC swallowed the line without batting an eye?

This warrants attention because it adds to the already robust evidence that left-wing NGOs and other so-called human rights defenders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba, are nothing more than propagandists for terrorists.

When passions over kidnap victim Ingrid Betancourt and the other hostages were running high, these actors pressed Mr. Uribe to grant FARC demands. Now it is clear that the pressure was geared more toward strengthening the rebels’ hand than freeing the captives.

Left-wing NGOs have made undermining the Colombian government’s credibility a priority for many years. A 2003 internal report from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá titled “A Closer Look at Human Rights Statistics” confirmed as much. It found that NGO analyses – for example by the Jesuit-founded Center for Popular Research and Education known as Cinep – of the human-rights environment contained a heavy bias against the government while granting a wide berth to guerrillas.

Chriss Dodd can keep his lectures on democracy, and Andrew Sullivan can keep his lectures on the treatment of prisoners, and (for that matter). Reality demands solutions that have a average effectiveness enough to win, with an error rate low enough so we won’t lose.

Everything else is theory.

Oil Shock

Conservation Can Work,” by Andrew Sullivan, AndrewSullivan.com, http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_01_23_dish_archive.html#110686746926682550, 27 January 2005.

One of my first posts was on the need for cutting oil consumption. Even a margial cut in oil hurts the tyrants who enslave their people, and forces democratic reforms. Money is power, and taking money away from powerful forces can change history.

This is not saying that we need to boycott Middle East oil. Or that China and India should be prevented from making their investments. But marginal demand is power, and if we can reduce the marginal demand for oil we can spead reforms throughout the Greater Middle East.

A writer to Andrew Sullivan agrees

What Klingle doesn’t understand is that it is not about just states “sponsoring terrorism”, but forcing these sclerotic Middle East economies to face the same forces of dynamism that the rest of the world deals with it, resulting in more liberal societies. Not all countries in the Middle East have lots of oil. In fact countries like Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have very little of it, and not coincidentally they represent the most liberal societies in the region. There is a strong argument that the societal unrest building in Iran is due in large part to their exploding population outgrowing the Mullah’s oil revenue, crippling their ability to buy off interests within society. We could help push them over the edge with a concerted effort to cut our oil demand.

Well said.