Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Washington Post and Pinochet:

You've got to read the editorial about Pinochet to believe it. It says that Pinochet:
  • "helped to overthrow, with U.S. support, an elected president"
  • "was brutal"
  • "enriched himself, stashing millions in foreign bank accounts"
  • [and under his rule] "More than 3,000 people were killed by his government"
  • "tens of thousands [were] tortured"
  • "Thousands of others spent years in exile"
  • "One prominent opponent, Orlando Letelier, was assassinated by a car bomb"
But, the Post wants you to know that:
  • [Pinochet] "leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America"
  • "In the past 15 years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average"
  • "its poverty rate has been halved"
  • "Mr. Pinochet had something to do with this success"
This is straight out of the "At least Hitler introduced the Volkswagen and the autobahn and reduced unemployment" kind of reasoning.

And it doesn't make sense even on that level. The Post (i.e. Fred Hiatt) praises Pinochet for the 15 years of economic growth since he left office, but doesn't examine the 17 years when he was the ruler of Chile.

But wait, there's more! If you look at the ranking of states by GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) per capita, Chile is second with $11,937, behind Argentina which has $14,109. (In terms of nominal GDP per capita, the ranking is reversed.) So the claim that Chile is a standout is definitely subject to debate. Or maybe Argentina's economic success is due to the failed attempt to capture the Falkland Islands - which seems to be the kind of reasoning that's used over at the Post.

Oh, and about that 1973 coup:
  • "socialist Salvador Allende [had some] responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup"
Remember that the next time there is a coup anywhere. Whoever got toppled must bear some responsibility for it. Talk about blaming the victim!

Glenn Greenwald has more on the editorial, including observations about how the Post is in agreement with Jeane Kirkpatrick's notion that "right-wing dictators such as Mr. Pinochet were ... more likely to pave the way for liberal democracies [than communist rulers]" - a claim that isn't supported by the historical record.


I guess you had already noticed that those people are blaming iraqis for what they are actually suffering today. They supported an illegal and criminal war, and they still do. They supported the coup against Chavez, for instance, or they refused to admit that the hamas was democratically elected.

Democracy is a goal for usual, common people, and it is a tool for those journalists or politicians, to keep on their jobs and power.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/13/2006 12:02 AM  

On Chile and economics, there's also been for some time the urban legend that Chile's economic performance is a big check mark "yes" for capitalism, but its economic policies are noted for being very hands on in terms of government intervention, direction, etc.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/13/2006 10:43 AM  

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