Sunday, May 12, 2013

Which prior leaders does Greenwald want to hold accountable?

Perhaps you've heard that a Guatemalan court found their former president - Gen. Efrain Rios Montt - guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.

You might not be too surprised to see how Glenn Greenwald reacted to the news.
Fascinating that Guatemala could "look backward" to hold prior leader accountable for crimes but US could not
Of course he doesn't mention that it took Guatemala 30 years to try this criminal. Or that the trial has historic proportions.
Adama Dieng, the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said last month that the case was the first in which a former head of state had been indicted by a national tribunal on charges of genocide.
But what I'd really like to know is what "prior leader" Greenwald is referring to when he talks about those in the US not being held accountable.

Perhaps he was referring to President Dwight Eisenhower - whose CIA manufactured coup in Guatemala in 1954 to oust a democratically elected leader and take care of the interests of the United Fruit Company is what set the stage for a long run of brutal military dictators in that country.

Or perhaps he was referring to E. Howard Hunt, the Watergate burglar who openly described his job in overseeing that manufactured coup as a CIA agent.

But maybe he was referring to President Ronald Reagan who called Rios Montt "a man of great personal integrity...totally dedicated to democracy" while he funded his genocide and cultivated him as a reliable Central American ally in his battle against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and Salvadoran guerrillas.

But then again, perhaps he was referring to George H.W. Bush who was president when the CIA was present at the horrific torture of Sister Dianna Ortiz - an American nun who worked in Guatemala.

Naw. Based on Greenwald's previous writing and the quote about "looking forward," one can only assume that he's referring to the fact that President George W. Bush wasn't held accountable for his crimes.

This is what pisses me off about the "johnny-come-lately" emos who try to pass themselves off as the one and only true holders of liberal principles. They don't seem to know their history.

Greenwald openly admitted that he supported the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq because he trusted U.S. presidents and was politically unengaged at the time. I personally can forgive him for that error. But its high time the guy learned that the American manipulation of other countries didn't begin with Bush and isn't restricted to countries in the Middle East. The Guatemalan coup was followed up by the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba (President Kennedy), and CIA sponsored coups in Brazil (President Johnson), Chile (President Nixon) and Argentina (President Ford) - with similar results. And of course that doesn't even begin to tell the story about what the United States did in Southeast Asia - or the Philippines (1899) and Mexico (1846) for that matter.

So yes, lets talk about holding U.S. leaders accountable. But lets do so with our eyes wide open to ALL of our history. George W. Bush represents an awfully long line of presidents who should be held accountable. And President Obama is hardly the first one to want to look forward rather than backward.

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