Los Angeles Times: the blind informing the blind. LA Times editors revealed a sad epitaph in their September 15 editorial targeting Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. Indeed, the Times’ cynicism killed any serious analysis of what amounted to a charge of attempted murder levied against the government of the United States. At the end of its opinion, the only thing we know for sure is that any sense of objective understanding of the relations between the U.S. and its southern regional neighbors died upon arrival at the Times.
After expelling U.S. ambassadors from their countries last week, presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia railed about ending American interference in their countries’ domestic politics. This came after Chavez invited four Russian naval vessels to participate in joint training exercises in the Caribbean and allowed Russian long-range bombers to visit, while ranting about warding off an invasion by the United States.
Did somebody announce we are at war with Latin America and forget to tell us? The expulsion of the ambassadors came seemingly without provocation, and the notion that President Bush is plotting an invasion is laughable.
The editors at the Times apparently forgot to open their history books — or better yet, open most any of the recent barrage of books exposing the culture of lies and deception that make up the core and character of the Bush administration.
Chavez has consistently accused the U.S. of supporting covert attempts to assassinate him. He has pointed out on numerous occasions that the Bush administration lies to and deceives the American people. Chavez even accused the U.S. of intervening in S. Ossetia, which was liberated from Georgian forces after Russia used heavy-handed tactics (although far less so than those used by Israel when it invaded Lebanon in 2006) to remove an aggressive Georgia. When the smoke cleared, we discovered Chavez was right. The U.S. played an integral part in initiating that conflict.
Perhaps the Times skipped The Washington Post’s Pulitzer prize-winning two-day series ("Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency," Sept. 14-15, 2008) revealing how Vice President Dick Cheney sought to bully the Justice Department into supporting the executive branch in a flagrant flouting of the law in Cheney’s effort to push through a domestic spying program uninhibited by the Constitution.
If only the Los Angeles Times editors were as cynical toward the regimes they have graciously considered "governments" in Washington D.C., they may have had at least a small clue that the CIA has conducted one or two (actually dozens) of unprovoked clandestine operations in foreign countries with the express goal of regime change.
Such operations include violence, Mr. and Mrs. LA Times editors, in case you all were under the perception that we sneak up on foreign leaders under cover of darkness and whisper gently, “Please get out.” In terms of life and death, U.S. covert operations mean death. The only debate is over the justification for such decisions.
This recent accusation by Chavez isn’t the first time he has accused the U.S. of using clandestine measures to overthrow his leadership. During a meeting of 116 non-aligned nations in Cuba in September 2006 (a.k.a. America‘s enemies), Chavez harshly criticized the Bush administration for its aggression around the globe. On Sept. 20, 2006, Chavez took the podium at the United Nations and blasted President George Bush, flatly accusing the U.S. of sponsoring terrorism, kidnapping and attempted overthrow of his government. Chavez described Bush, who had spoken the day before, as Satan. And the world leaders in attendance at that U.N. meeting applauded. Is the whole world crazy? I don’t think so. Chavez, not Bush, is voicing world opinion.
“The devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said. “And it smells of sulfur still today. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: The Devil's Recipe.”
But Chavez isn’t the only leader south of America’s borders to make such an accusation. In fact, a number of leaders around the world have alleged the U.S. uses terrorist tactics, sponsors terrorism, overthrows governments and lies to the American people as it spreads aggression around the world while simultaneously calling for peace. A number of leaders have used the word hegemony in reference to the aggressive actions committed by covert and overt U.S. operations on foreign soil.
The evidence of such acts is overwhelming. In this year alone, a bookshelf of literary works have exposed the Bush administration’s deceptive machinations. Authors ranging from a venerable journalist (Bob Woodward) to an award-winning top prosecuting attorney (Vincent Bugliosi) have dropped the dime on the Bush administration. These charges aren’t allegations of sexual impropriety or even lying to a jury about manipulating the legal system to save face. The charges are more serious: undermining the Constitution, abuse of power, even murder.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s five-year investigation concluded these authors and others, including former White House Spokesman Scott McClellan were all correct. The Bush administration is deceptive, lying and untrustworthy. Senator John D. Rockefeller issued a statement on June 5, 2008:
Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence. In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.
It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qa’ida as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qa’ida as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11. Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.
There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.
Of course, history has revealed that every U.S. presidential administration dating back to Harry S. Truman has lied to the American people about war. But, as is the case with each generation, each presidential administration has strayed a bit farther from the Constitution and frayed further the tether that holds it accountable to the truth. That tether is the American press.
The editors at the Los Angeles Times have a duty to inform the public of the truth. In this case, with heads of state calling out our president — charging him with the equivalent of attempted murder among other crimes — the Times’ editors sought refuge behind a façade of cynicism and obfuscation – perhaps even outright deception.
The Times’ Sept. 15 editorial lambasting Chavez and Morales is an insult to the American public. It reeks of pandering and placating. And it spares us the crucial elements necessary in well-written editorials … honesty.
History sides with Chavez. His correct analysis in 2006 of the pending downfall of the American system is evident today in the utter obliteration of financial institutions like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and others with their heads laid on the chopping block hoping for a political savior to wave off the executioner’s axe.
- America’s experiment of “democratizing” the Middle East is a failure.
- It’s aggressive efforts to control Central and S. America have been met with anger and revolt.
- It’s recent focus on orchestrating aggression through its proxy Georgia was met with a massive response by the regional giant Russia, which wasn’t amused.
- And China has emerged as America’s landlord, with huge surpluses as U.S. citizens drown in a sea of debt.
When Chavez accused the U.S. of secret ops in his country, the LA Times apparently forgot that the U.S. has been caught operating secret prisons, detaining and torturing anyone it desires, operating secret spy programs on suspected enemies, allies, and even American citizens. The U.S. conducts secret ops through 16 secret agencies and blatant in-your-face military operations that ignore the will of the American people and the cries of innocent men, women and children dying in the dust clouds we leave behind in our rush to yell, “Mission accomplished!”
The Times’ editors have forgotten that we have a government (perhaps a dictatorial regime) that ignores congressional subpoenas, manipulates the Justice Department, deceives the American people into sending our sons and daughters to fight its wars with which most of us vehemently disagree, and lies about virtually everything.
The editors failed to notice that while they cast aspersions upon unpopular or even popular leaders elsewhere, our own president’s approval ratings are at historical lows, falling even below the plummeting economic factors that have ruined tens of millions of families. Do American citizens deserve the wrath of the world that this president has wrought, even if we don't support his policies? If not, then surely citizens of foreign lands also deserve some discretion when their leaders operate in opposition to the will of the citizenry.
The Los Angeles Times would better serve the American people by studying the accusations being made by not only Chavez and Morales, but leaders elsewhere in the world as well. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has reached out several times to the American people. He has written letters (1, 2), traveled to our country and made several public appearances, even subjecting himself to questions by our media and ridicule from a caustic Columbia University president.
The Times has obviously not delved into the charges leveled by Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other leaders, no more deeply than they have sought to understand the allegations made by Chavez.
No, the Times’ editors are no more trustworthy on this issue than the Bush administration itself. They seek to mitigate, minimize and move on. They refuse to acknowledge that no one but our government could possibly be trusted when charges of clandestine operations are brought up.
When America is painted as a bully, a terrorist and a monolithic monster who rapes and pillages, the Times’ editors hear none of it … even if some or all of it is true.
And that, unfortunately, means we no longer have an objective truth-seeking panel of leaders sitting at the upper echelon of the Los Angeles Times. The truth seems irrelevant in this circle of upper-crust elitists.
The only thing that appears to matter to these blue-blooded bad-asses is that they can use the big mouth of the Times to broadcast a cynical viewpoint and minimize serious long-term allegations by important leaders of nations with which the U.S. must get along. And by so doing, they reflect an investment in the same idiotic system we see operated by an untrustworthy White House: Dispense with dialogue, demonize those we don’t like and denounce two-thirds of the world as jealous and dependent upon us.
It’s no wonder the Times’ editors have such a skewed perspective of U.S. foreign relations.