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1/10/2005

Obvious Immorality of Terror Squads

When I noted below the "obvious immorality" of terror squads, I guess I should have stipulated that the immorality is only obvious to the reality based community. If anyone hasn't read Nina J. Easton's Gang of Five, please take some time during the new year to get it. Everything we are seeing now is presaged in her work.

I ripped a bunch of her work off a couple of months ago (so did Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard), to highlight some of the connections between Jack Abramoff and the current leadership of the conservative movement.

She provides a literally incredble look at conservative movement support for righteous terror squads:

Hooking up with guerilla movements 'was a rite of passage for a lot of conservative anticommunists,' explained Dana Rohrabacher, a Reagan speechwriter who spent several months with the Mujahideen ('I disappeared,' he recalled in a voice tinged with mystery) before being elected to Congress in 1988. 'The feeling was that if we were not actually in the U.S. military, the least we could do was put our lives on the line for the freedom fighter group; I worked with Jack Wheeler, who was on the outside.' When Reagan's foreign policy apparatus proved lukewarm to many of these guerilla campaigns, the Right's activists dubbed themselves the 'Freedom Underground' and focused their efforts outside official channels. [162-163]
'Conservatives were viscerally suspicious of any State Department strategy that appeared to rely on the arts of persuasion, seduction, conversion, cooption...,' recalled Chester A. Crocker, Reagan's assistat secretary of state for African Affairs, who was seeking negotiated solutions to the wars in southern Africa. A frequent target of the Right, Crocker asserted that in the Right's view 'our failure to adopt simplistic, polarized definitions of good and bad Africans meant that we had flunked the strategic exam. They had their own politics of righteousness; they were transfixed by a one-dimensional imagery of African Marxism, just as the liberal left was transfixed by a stereotype of racist South Africa. Grand strategy, for hard-right conservatives, entailed the discovery of enemies.' [164]
The College Republicans managed to offend most of official Washington, and unnerve White House moderates, by peddling their 'Adopt a Contra' campaign. Modeled on the 'Save the Children' charity, their posters featured a contra wearing a crucifix and brandishing an M-16 rifle under the headline: 'Only 53 cents a day will support a Nicaraguan freedom fighter.'

The young Reaganites liked to think they generated the political force behind the 'Reagan doctrine,' a series of policy pronouncements that set in motion the administration's active support of anti-communist movements. 'We got to see firsthand how the vacillation in D.C. [toward American aid for insurgent movements] affected people on the ground,' said Michael Waller, a Norquist ally and one of the first young Americans to visit the contras. 'We saw the human costs. It energized us, and had a profound effect: Here we were, helping guerilla fighters, while the politicians on Capitol Hillwere getting fat on greasy food at Bullfeathers.' [163]
Everything - the hubris, the idiocy, the ignorance - has been there for decades. Norquist dressed in fatigues and flacked for African "freedom fighters" in South Africa and Angola (UNITA), only to one day realize Savimbi's support for capitalism wasn't exactly genuine, and fade into the night. If you get a chance, you really should read the book.

 

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