Monday, October 08, 2007

Jimmy Carter Announces "There Is No Genocide in Darfur"

Boy that's a relief. I could have sworn that all those piles of corpses amounted to genocide. I guess I was wrong.
I like to think that Jimmy Carter was once a good and decent man (though mistaken and naive). It's becoming harder every day to believe that still applies.
I remember how disappointed I was in 1990 when he complained bitterly about the Nicaraguan election. Daniel Ortega, the communist president of the country had decided to hold a genuinely free election and the people promptly kicked him out of office. At this point Carter had proceeded to throw a fit. What was the point of Carter monitoring an election if the people were going to vote the wrong way? How could he convince other communist thugs to hold free elections if they were just going to loose power?
He was right. It was the first and last free election in a communist country. Some might quibble with this assertion since a number of eastern European governments were technically communist until new governments could be voted in after the fall of the Berlin wall. True enough I suppose but those governments had no realistic chance of retaining power. In contrast, it was widely assumed that the communists would retain power in Nicaragua. The polls supported this belief, which just goes to show you that you shouldn't trust opinion polls in countries where it's illegal to have certain opinions.In the end it seemed that all Carter wanted do was to legitimize some of the worst regimes in the world by giving them a veneer of democracy. To his enduring shame, he's still at it.
To be fair to Ortega, he was fairly benign by communist dictator standards. Sort of a left-wing Augusto Pinochet. He was still a brutal thug, but he had some redeeming qualities as well (he was a snappy dresser for instance). Amazingly he's made a political comeback as a mainstream social democrat (think John Kerry) and is once again the President of Nicaragua.

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