Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Men Behaving Badly

Almost everything that could be said about Venezuelan Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez's brazenly vile "stand-up routine" before the UN General Assembly last week has been written by now. So I will make that mammoth mound of verbiage complete with a light fisking of my own (via Newsmax):

On the Bush speech at the U.N. General Assembly: "An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: The Devil's recipe."
Two observations: (1) Serious world leaders don't shoot off their mouths like that, particularly in the country whose leader they're attacking; (2) Bad guys know they can get away with it, and these days also know they have an indigenous audience for talking such smack.

On the United Nations: "I don't think anyone could defend this system, let's be honest . . . it is worthless."
How can words that are so true hide a meaning that is so false? But it does shed light on how our enemies envision the UN: as a collective global dictatorship through which the West in general and the U.S. in particular can be crushed once and for all.

On his visa fight: "You know, my personal doctor had to stay on the plane. The chief of security had to remain in a locked plane. None of the gentlemen were allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all."
His "personal doctor" and "chief of security" were undoubtedly spies. Chavez as much as says so, or at least so I surmise from the raucously silly "abuse of power" crack.

Have you ever noticed that it isn't the Ronald Reagans or George W. Bushes who claim the Almighty's partisanship, but the murderous pagans who shake their fist in His face? Besides, didn't Adolph Ahmadinejad stake dibs on God's alliegance? Or has Comrade Hugo converted?

As Chavez moved out of the General Assembly hall, the party moved onto the press briefing room where the president said: "Venezuela's campaign to get elected to the Security Council is well founded, an independent voice that would represent not only Venezuela, but also the peoples of the third world." (The United States is supporting Guatemala as the Latin American council representative.)
"Independent" as in "anti-American." And apparently not so well-founded after all, since Guatemala is the front-runner to be elected to the Security Council from Latin America - an election that Chavez would have a more difficult time fixing. Maybe Jimmy Carter will lend Comrade Hugo a hand.

On the Middle East: "I love Damascus (Syria's capital), beautiful Damascus. I was in Damascus only a month ago with my "brother" President (Bashar al) Assad. . . . Satan, the Lord of Sulfur (a.k.a. Bush) says I supported Saddam Hussein. . . . I went to Baghdad once and I went to speak to Saddam. What did I tell Saddam? At the time, the price of oil was $7 (a barrel), we were giving it away. We were following the mandates of the White House imperialism, so that oil would be cheap. . . . So my first foreign trip was to all the countries, the members of OPEC. . . . and oil rose to $20 a barrel.
Did Chavez deny supporting Saddam? Or disclose what he told Saddam on his Baghdad visit? When was oil $7 a barrel in my lifetime? When did Comrade Hugo ever follow "White House mandates"? How did his OPEC tour single-handedly triple the price?

You weren't expecting answers to these questions, were you? That's the occupational hazard of attempting to analyze gibberish.

"Yes, I supported Syria and Iran, the position of Venezuela is the same as the position of the non-aligned movement. We support Iran, we support Lebanon and demand that all imperialist troops leave Iraq."
"Non-aligned" {chuckle}. I wonder if he realizes the contradiction he offered of supporting the country that is subverting and attempting to imperialistically vassalize its western neighbor.

And to the White House: "They (the United States) should not even think about invading Iran or even Venezuela unless they want to see oil reach $200 a barrel."
There's some doubt about that, actually.

But getting back to the tone of Comrade Hugo's remarks, it really wasn't any different than what he spews on a perpetual basis from Carracas. Only the venue, and therefore the stage, shed additional spotlightage on the spectacle of high-octane Bushophobia of such power and magnitude that you could have sworn it came from the Democrat National Committee.

I don't know if Chavez and Ahmadinejad would have been deterred from running wild on our country and our president by a united domestic political front where foreign policy and the war are concerned, or at least a modicum of civility, maturity, and class from the DisLoyal Opposition. As it is, the two would-be world rulers - the Mussolini and Hitler, respectively, of their time - were plowing already amply plowed rhetorical ground, and they knew it.

So, dimly, did House Donks Charlie Rangel and "Crazy Nancy" Pelosi, who made some lethargic, half-hearted attempts at damage control.

After Comrade Hugo went to Harlem - in Rangel's district - and dispensed the sort of left-wing racist garbage to a black church audience that one would have expected to hear at any large American college campus, along with calling Bush "sick" and a "drunk," Comrade....er, Congressman Rangel called an impromptu presser to, in essence, cry "gimmick infringement":

We are deeply appreciative to the Venezuelan government, and this is so because we buy millions of barrels a day, the United States, and it just seems to me that those that supply us that are sensitive to the higher price and the ability of the poor to meet it, that the United States oil firms ought to take a page from the Venezuelan book and do the same thing.

Gotta kiss Chavista ass for his "home heating oil for the poor" PR scheme, dontcha know, or he might get offended and cut off Rangel's freeloading constituents. Plus he can't be seen as actually and sincerely defending President Bush, or those constituents might lynch him.

I want President Chavez to please understand that even though many people in the United States are critical of our president, that we resent the fact that he would come to the United States and criticize President Bush. He has to understand that while we have problems politically sometimes with President Bush, that we - he is still our president, and that we resent foreigners coming and condemning our president.

Such deference. Such a pre-emptively apologetic tone. As if to say, "Bear with me, Comrade Hugo, I don't really mean any of this, but we haven't advanced the revolution as far here as you have in Venezuela; we're losing ground, actually, and we'll lose more if you don't leave the ripping of that malaproping, criminal, warmongering boob from rectum to belly-button to us."

And make no mistake, the apologetic tone wasn't directed solely at Chavez. The Dem base had to be eating this up. Which helps explain Rangel's descent back into moral equivalence:

Even though I'm fully aware that he and President Bush enjoy these personal attacks on each other, they can do politically what they see fit to do, but you don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district, and you don't condemn my president. If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans whether he voted for him or not.

When has Dubya ever said word one about Hugo Chavez, much less "personally attacked" him? Hell, when has Bush ever said a cross word about anybody outside of al Qaeda? How is it that the architect and sole practitioner of "The New Tone" is the only one who acknowledges its existence in his own conduct?

This "boys will be boys" crap won't cut it. Especially in light of what Rangel himself said about Bush only a year ago:

When George Bush took this country and tried to abolish every progressive step that we've made, when he took this nation into war against a country that was no threat to the United States of America, when he made certain that all of the distortions of weapons of mass destructions and terrorists and attacks on 9/11 and identification of al-Qaeda, when 1900 Americans have died, 25,000 people are maimed in the hospitals around this country, and tens of thousands Iraqis, all God's children, have been killed because of democracy which is really oil in disguise. When you're able to see not the Emmett Tills, not the murders of children, not just the fire hoses and the Bill Connors, but you're able to see Katrina, when you actually see that if you're black in this country and you're poor in this country, it's not an inconvenience, it's a death sentence.

How is the above any less disgusting than what Chavez or Ahmadinejad said? Chavez called Bush "the devil"; Rangel called Bush a racist mass-murderer. The only ostensible difference is that the former is not an American and the latter is. And that excuses it?

No, it does not. There are some lines you do not cross. There are some things you do not say. Partisan differences are not supposed to be blood feuds. That the Left considers them as such, and provides a rhetorical template for enemies who want to kill all of us regardless of party registration, is the core of why the Democrats remain - and will continue to be - out of power.

The aforementioned House Minority Leader-cum-Gloria-Swanson-reject at least had the PR acuity to recognize the need for actual strong rhetoric, and slammed Comrade Hugo as a "thug" and "a modern day Simon Bolivar." Which made her sound patently phony as opposed to Rangel's snivelry. This Orange County Register cartoon pretty much nails it.

The rest of the Donks apparently didn't get Crazy Nancy's memo. Senator Tom Harkin actually defended Chavez, essentially saying that Bush brought the abuse on himself. This is a variant on the "Bush has damaged our international reputation" canard, as though the eight years of Bill Clinton traveling the world vicariously prostrating his country before one dictator after another, to say nothing of running away from every genuine national security threat (North Korea, Iraq, Iran, al Qaeda), was a prestige enhancer. And, of course, the fever swamp was apoplectic at Pelosi's rare episode of public relations lucidity, so much so that you get the impression if Chavez ever returned to our shores at the head of an invading army, the Kos-hacks, Sorosians, and Moveon.orgers would take up arms and fight right alongside him. Makes it hard to argue with Rush Limbaugh's take that this confession of de facto fifth columnism, despite Pelosi's and Rangel's tepid damage control, will add considerably to the minority party's negative home stretch momentum.

For their part, the Bushies are doing the usual rope-a-dope:

The verbal attacks Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched against President Bush should not affect diplomatic relations between the countries, the U.S. ambassador said Monday.

William Brownfield said officials in Washington would try to overlook the string of insults uttered last week by Chavez, who called Bush "the devil" at the U.N. General Assembly and an "alcoholic" at a church in Harlem, New York.

"My government's position is that we are going to ignore, we can ignore and we should ignore the words. It's the actions that count," Brownfield told the local Globovision television network.

Precisely what I would expect a diplomat - a breed that has not the slightest clue as to the meaning of honor - to say. But sometimes words are not so easy to discount, because they portend actions to follow. Case in point:

While the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement nations were making speeches at the 14th conference of their movement in Havana in mid-September, three groups of intelligence experts were off in a well-guarded corner next door to talk about matters far from the conference’s main theme of how to develop backward economies and societies. Iranian, Cuban and Venezuelan teams were putting their heads together on ways of translating their leaders' hostile rhetoric and slogans into effective war action against the United States.

DEBKAfile’s Exclusive intelligence and counter-terror sources disclose that the three teams were made up of intelligence officers and civilian officials on the staffs of the three rulers; their job is maintaining clandestine ties with underground and terrorist organizations.

After the NAM conference ended, the Iranian and Venezuelan teams moved their talks to Caracas where Ahmadinejad continued his talks with Chavez on September 17 and 18.

Why Chavez as opposed to Castro? Apparently, as the quoted story goes on to explain, because Castro was only willing to be a Soviet stooge, not an Iranian one.

Enter Comrade Hugo:

Castro is too old a hand to be manipulated in matters of subversion and terrorism. Chavez in contrast is just as anti-American but also rated by Tehran an easier mark. Although he needs to be handled with kid gloves as head of an oil-exporting country, the Iranians have noted that the Venezuelan leader is also open to cooperation in the politics of oil.

On September 18, he insisted that Ahmadinejad attend a ceremony celebrating the gushing of the 7th Aya Well of the Kuchouy Oil Field developed by a Venezuelan-Iranian partnership. This was to be a landmark on the road to a merger between the two oil industries. Tehran is not too happy about this partnership but is going along with small, symbolic steps while extracting from Caracas – and eventually it hopes from Havana – forward facilities for running Iranian clandestine agents in North and South America. [emphasis added]

This burgeoning axis has greater ambitions than just espionage and subversion, however:

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that Ahmadinejad also talked persuasively to Chavez about making a show of deploying a few Iranian-made 2,000-km range Shahab-3 missiles – first in Venezuela then in Cuba – as a menace to the United States.

Chavez has not given Tehran his answer. But both he and Castro will think twice about granting this request, for fear of crossing one line too many for the Bush Administration to swallow. However, Iranian ambitions to harm America know no limits. [emphases added]

Iranian ICBMs. Based in our hemisphere. And they're hell-bent for nuclear weapons capability. Didn't we get into a crisis about something like this the year before I was born?

Words mean things. The words of Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad couldn't more openly express their malevolent intent. It isn't a question of being "big enough to take a few insults"; it's a question of pre-empting the rapidly approaching crisis they telegraph while - if - there's still time.

Is anybody listening?

UPDATE: The Anchoress sure was:

If tinpot tyrants and madmen now come to the United Nations and believe they can say anything they wish about The American President, it is because - as some of us have been warning, for some time - while all manner or irresponsible nonsense and hate has been directed at this president…the world has been watching.

And now, these tyrants and madmen sound eerily like the Democrats and the press and the left. One ideology, the world over, has completely lost its bearings, its self-control and its manners concerning one man who has never - not once -repaid them back in kind. Not in speeches. Not to the press. Not to “friendly audiences.” He came to town talking about “changing the tone,” and that’s what happened, in a perverse way. One side’s tone went rabid, the other side went nearly-silent, but this one man…kept his tone.
And it may yet end up being the political death of him - and the literal death of the rest of us.