Sunday, February 29, 2004

Good Terrorists, Bad Terrorists

I know little about how good or bad Aristide is. I know little about how good or bad his successor is likely to be, relatively speaking. I know little about what's going on in that country.

But, what I do know is how, when it comes to foreign policy, it is rather frightening how quickly our American media parrots the official Washington line, even when it quite obviously contradicts our entire foreign policy of the past few years.

Judy Woodruff on CNN:

JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE: Actually, we have terrorists, criminals with weapons burning police stations, killing people in some areas like Gonaives, Cap-Haitien, while here, in Port- au-Prince, people are anxious because they don't know when those terrorists will be coming to Port-au-Prince and kill thousands of people. That's why we are eager to see an international force coming to Haiti, increasing the number of the police who are already in Haiti to disarm those terrorists while the opposition should sign an agreement. And with humanitarian assistance, the situation, of course, will become better.

WOODRUFF: You call them terrorists, but others looking at this situation say these are political opponents of yours. And there are people both in and outside your country, people who have been very friendly to Haiti, who say that you are a large part of the reason that these political opponents have turned against you. How do you answer them?

Aside from the merits or demerits of Aristide, aside from the issue of the legitimacy or illegitimacy of his presidency, and aside from whether or not, in the grand scheme of things, his ouster is a good or bad thing (I really have no opinion on any of these things)...

It is utterly incredible that a US newscaster would refer to an army of rebel thugs who have been blasting their way through the country, killing I don't know how many, as "political opponents."

Aristide's departure may indeed stop the violence. It may be, practical terms, the best way to achieve that. It was, nonetheless, giving into the demands of terrorists who have been granted legitimacy by our mainstream media.

I also don't know the truth or fiction of claims that we backed the rebels, but I'm increasingly having a hard time not suspecting that we did.

(via Body and Soul)