Tuesday, August 23, 2005


BBC News: Christian Coalition Founder Advocating Political Assasination ?

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it

Regardless of one's own political leanings, it must be obvious why this sort of a statement is so irresponsible. The State Department's comment, that the remarks were "inappropriate," fails to capture the significance of such dangerous, and yes, "terrorist" speech. Pat Robertson in a icon of the American Right with a national following and considerable political influence. In recent memory the radical elements in Robertson's America have a pretty mixed track record when it comes to leaving exhortations to violence in the realm of harmless rhetoric. The CBN seeks to portray Chavez as a leader already at war with the United States. Taking their characterization of the situation for granted, one might believe that if the US government is not going to "exercise that ability" then perhaps an enterprising groups of citizens should.

This would be a perfect opportunity for the White House to try to sew some unity for a change by commenting. While the administration is certainly justified in renewing criticisms of the domestic and international policies of Venezuela, it would do well to voice (1)definitive rejection of the instinctively hostile basis for Robertson's sentiments and (2)a hope for a renewal of cooperation between Venzuela and the US on drug control and terrorism.

Chavez is a popular figure and the elected leader of his nation and has demonstrated his ability to withstand challenge. It would be in the best interest of America and regional stability not to alienate the chief oil producer in the Americas and push it even further into an alliance with Cuba. And if a statement to such effect goes a little way towards healing the partisan rift here at home, is that really so bad?


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