Monday, May 15, 2006

Two degrees of seperation 

Today the U.S., again showing off its "either you are with us or against us" mentality, criticized Venezuela's anti-terrorism efforts and as punishment cut off all arms sales to Venezuela. As a practical matter this has little effect on Venezuela as they aren't currently purchasing much of anything from the U.S. The main impact will be on some aging F-16 fighters that they now won't be able to get spare parts for. Most likely, they will now buy Russian fighters to replace them.

However, the most interesting aspect of this news isn't the arms cutoff but the non-sense about terrorism. For those wishing to read the State Departments report it can be found here. It really doesn't go into any detail beyond what can be found in the media reports such as this:

WASHINGTON - The United States is imposing a ban on weapons sales to Venezuela because of what it claims is a lack of support by President Hugo Chavez’s leftist government on counterterrorism efforts, the State Department said Monday.

The Bush administration will also list Venezuela — the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United States — as a “country of concern” in the war on terrorism, an official told NBC News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The label is not as severe as being listed as a “state sponsor of terror,” but it reflects what the State Department reported in April about Venezuela in its annual terror report.

“Venezuelan cooperation in the international campaign against terrorism remained negligible,” the report said. “President Hugo Chavez persisted in public criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, publicly championed Iraqi terrorists (and) deepened Venezuelan collaboration with such state sponsors of terrorism as Cuba and Iran.”

The report also accused Chavez of having an “ideological affinity” with two leftist guerrilla groups operating in neighboring Colombia, the FARC and the National Liberation Army. The United States considers both to be terrorist organizations.

If this doesn't show the imperial arrogance and hubris that comes with being the worlds sole superpower it's hard to think of what would.

Let's see, Venezuela itself is not involved with terrorism. But it befriends country's that supposedly are - Cuba and Iran. So now its not what you do but what your friends do that matters. If that's the case how does the U.S. avoid decertifying itself? For example, the U.S. openly befriends and supports Packistan. Yet that country supports terrorists operating in the Kashmir and India. Further, that country is a proliferator of WMD as the designer of its atomic bomb was shopping its design around to other countries like Iran. And this is not only a country that the U.S. befriends but funds with hundreds of millions of dollars. I guess no-one will ever accuse the U.S. government of being consistant.

Then they accuse Chavez of having "publicly championed Iraqi terrorists". I assume they mean he supports the insurgency which is resisting U.S. occupation. Well, welcome to the club Hugo. And who'd have thought by defending the right of self-determination and standing against good old fashioned imperialism we would be viewed as coddlers of terrorists? I guess given that smearing people with the "commie" label doesn't really work anymore they had to come up with something else.

Then we get to the heart of the matter - he has a “ideological affinity” with some Colombian guerillas? Wow, I guess I better run right out and burn my Karl Marx Reader that I still have hanging around from my college days. They're beyond even guilt by association. It's now guilt by even having some shared thoughts. Scary. I think I just realized I'm in league with Hamas. Hamas thinks Bush is an asshole. I think Bush is an asshole. Damn, Hamas and I are practically the same thing!

The other day I said Chavez should wear his not being selected to a human rights commission (with such human rights lumineries as Saudi Arabia and China) as a badge of honor. Yet now the State Department has handed him another badge of honor. Looks like he is going to have quite a collection before these people are done.


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