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Peruvian village militia bleg:

One tactic of the Peruvian government, in its war against the Maoist terrorist organization that called itself "El Sendero Luminoso" (The Shining Path), was to supply arms to village militias which had already formed spontaneously. These village militias were known as "Rondas."

Sometimes Rondas created their own parallel judicial system, outside the formal legal system. Yet their community defense was very consistent with the Peruvian Constitution, which declares that the protection of the human person (a term from Catholic thought) is the supreme objective of the state, and that every person has the right to legitimate defense:

art. 1: “La defensa de la persona humana y el respeto de su dignidad son el fin supremo de la sociedad y del Estado.” art 2: “Toda persona tiene derecho:…§ 23. A la legítima defensa.”
However, the Rondas were also charged with human rights violations.

A similar policy is currently being implemented in southern Thailand, where the government has been supplying defensive arms to village militias for protection from Islamic terrorists. (The Thai situation is discussed at page 17 of my forthcoming article in the Connecticut Law Review, "Pretend 'Gun-Free' School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction."

I would like to learn more about Rondas. Well-informed commenters are invited to recommend sources in either English or Spanish.

einhverfr (mail) (www):
I close parallel would be the AUC (the militia network set up in Colombia to fight the FARC). Of course the AUC supported themselves with extortion, drug running, etc. just like the FARC but at least they were nominally on the side of the government. Now the AUC has been officially disbanded, but this has meant that the previously officially sanctioned group has, for all practical purposes split up into regional mafias.
4.16.2009 2:50pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Also for some sources on the AUC-related mess in Colombia, I found the ICG's papers on the subject were quite good.
4.16.2009 2:51pm
Per Son:
These problems always are popping up. NATO gave tons of arms to Kosovans associated with the KLA. Unfortunately, those same arms are now being used by Albanian organized crime.

The AUC was/is about as credible as the Central American death squads that targeted street kids. To say the AUC supported itself with that stuff is putting it lightly. They were simply a competitor with the FARC in the narco-traffic industry. They also are just as guilty of mass butchering of innocent folks as the FARC.

The enemy of my enemy is not always a friend.
4.16.2009 3:34pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Per Son:

Agreed with your points, but that doesn't change the fact that the AUC was sponsored and supported by the Colombian Gov't until recently after "disarmament," when they more or less broke up into regional versions (Aquilas Negras, etc).

I think the Colombian govt's involvement in supporting the AUC for that time really ought to have resulted in an American arms embargo on that country.
4.16.2009 3:48pm
DennisN (mail):
This was also done in Guatemala.

Whenever you get militias involved in military matters, there is a problem with rights violations. They don't have the discipline of military personnel, and they stand a little closer to the fight. It gets personal.

Civil wars are messy things.
4.16.2009 4:04pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Paramilitary death squads aren't exactly uncommon in Latin America, and human rights abuses by the same also aren't uncommon. Indeed, usually the reason governments like them so much is they can apply la mano dura while disclaiming responsibility for the inevitable consequences.
4.16.2009 4:34pm
DennisN (mail):
There is a great difference between paramilitary death squads and arming villagers in self defense.
4.16.2009 4:58pm
Moderately Informed Commentor (on this issue):
Mauceri, Phillip; State Under Siege,
Boulder: Westview Press, 1996.

McCormick Gordon H, From the Sierra to the Cities: The Urban Campaign of the SP, Prepared for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 1992.

Mauceri overviews the Rondas -but mainly from the perspective of Lima "arming the peasants."

Might try mining their sources.
4.16.2009 6:00pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
There is a great difference between paramilitary death squads and arming villagers in self defense.

In Latin America, not as much as you might think.
4.16.2009 7:09pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DennisN:

There is a great difference between paramilitary death squads and arming villagers in self defense.


Having been in Quito during amunicipal bus drivers' strike, I can tell you the populace has interesting ideas of empowerment. They HAD to call in the army that time...
4.16.2009 8:09pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
(I am just glad I wasn't there during the taxi cab strike a few years earlier)
4.16.2009 8:12pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
In case you are wondering about the strikes, the basic issue is that fares of these sorts are regulated by the government. However, the mass transit drivers are powerful enough to generally get their way.

Why was the army called in with the bus strike? To tow the busses away, of course! If you take every bus and park it in the middle of a city street (or better yet, intersection) you can cause a lot of problems. The bus driver strike caused a small amount of disruption and the army was able to keep traffic moving.

With the taxi cab strike (there are MANY, MANY more taxi cabs than busses), the city roads were not drivable for 3 days......
4.16.2009 9:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Whenever any force combats leftists, human rights violations are charged. It's part of the package.
Question is whether the charges are true.
4.16.2009 9:18pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Whenever any force combats leftists, human rights violations are charged. It's part of the package.
Question is whether the charges are true.


Luckily, people who are smarter and more informed than snarky ideologues on the Internet spend a lot of time documenting the truth of the charges.
4.16.2009 9:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dilan.
Your, your parents, or your grandparents tax dollars at work. Depending on your age.
I learned to run both sides of the ridge, so to speak, in the Army. Insurgent or counter insurgent. Depending on the day, I suppose.
Human rights charges are in the package. Only somebody who intends to use them as part of the package would deny they're in the manual (metaphor alert).
Or somebody who has not been paying attention.
You, it is obvious, have been paying attention.
To put it another way. Can you imagine a leftwing outfit claiming the peasants have been oppressed, suppressed, repressed and depressed and so they start blowing up McDonalds NOT claiming human rights violations as a routine?
Of course not,denials notwithstanding.
The question,as I said, is whether the charges are true.
4.16.2009 10:25pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Richard Aubrey wrote:

Whenever any force combats leftists, human rights violations are charged. It's part of the package.
Question is whether the charges are true.


The ICG reports are pretty good. They are not exactly a leftist organization and one of the few groups I can count on for reliable policy analysis, for example when I am looking at foreign business deals. They are also extremely even-handed.

They were the only group whose reports on Iraq I read before the war were accurate regarding weapons of mass destruction and the structure of of society as it related to civil defence.

Secondly, the human rights violations by the UAC and their offshoots (Aquilas Negras and others) are not disputed. These human rights violations were a major part of the reason for the reconciliation process. However, what makes the violations qualitatively different from those of the FARC is that the organizations which perpetuated them were at least formerly state-sanctioned and supported. This isn't to let FARC off the hook by any means, but to say that when the state is sanctioning the same sorts of human rights violations the matter is far worse.

Your other points are entirely outside this picture. The major differences between the UAC and the FARC were that the UAC was right-wing while FARC is left-wing and the UAC was state-sponsored while FARC was not directly sponsored by states. Otherwise they were just narco-terrorists pursuing business and legal goals.

I am not sure hence what right vs left has to do with this problem....
4.16.2009 11:33pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein.
I was referring to the charges against the rondas.
The right vs. left didn't appear. I was talking about the left.
In the last forty years, the left hasn't had much luck on the battlefield. They win their wars in DC. The most important terrain in their wars is the six inches between the ears of the American voter.
David Horowitz, in his lefty years, wrote a book called "Colossus of The South". He said later he'd been told that it influenced several influential Carter advisors and was the reason Carter bailed on the dem oppo in Nicaragua, thereby favoring the Sandinistas. Or it could have been that Carter was just stupid in a certain, predictable direction. Always. But Horowitz is entitled to think what he thinks and he may be right.
The lefty guerillas just have to hang on while their buds in the States, the dems once Scoop Jackson died, the journos, academia, and assorted loopy domestic lefties do their work for them.
And human rights charges are standard.
I spent a couple of weeks in Central America in 1987 looking at stuff and hearing accusations of human rights violations--all on the side favored by the US-- which fell apart at the first skeptical question. But my peacenik buddies were gasping in horror. The dog-and-pony shows for the peace freak trade didn't even have to try. Lame. But effective. Which is the point. My peacenik buds went home and Preached It, brother.
4.17.2009 8:22am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
And because Richard Aubrey has a personal vendetta against the left, we are supposed to believe him and not all the credible human rights reports about right-wing death squads in Latin America?
4.17.2009 11:43am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dilan.
Good for you. Misrepresented my--not that I'm alone--statement.
Good for you.
Problem with you, Dilan, is you're just not subtle about it. You always get busted.
You should work on that.
My question is that, given that the left lies about human rights issues when convenient and that their sympathizers pretend to be concerned, it would be well to make sure these complaints are actually true.
Surely you wouldn't have an objection to that, would you?
Not that you could actually say out loud, I suspect.
4.17.2009 12:19pm
Brett A. (mail):
I think the Thai program in question actually predates the Islamists in the south; they also used that type of program to deal with a communist insurgency a long while back.
4.17.2009 12:36pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
My question is that, given that the left lies about human rights issues when convenient and that their sympathizers pretend to be concerned, it would be well to make sure these complaints are actually true.

A statement like this has no content. Left! Left! Left! Lies! Lies! Lies! Enemy! Don't trust! It reads like the rantings of a mad lunatic.

The activities of right wing death squads in Latin America have been documented by NGO's that sent professional investigators down there, highly respected journalists, the US State Department, etc. Somewhere in this process, I think you have to assume that it becomes more than some sort of leftist PR strategy.

It doesn't matter, though. You don't care. Because this discussion, to you, isn't about arriving at the truth about right wing death squads. It's just about pursuing whatever personal bone you have to pick against the political left.
4.17.2009 1:04pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
To Richard Aubrey:

What do you think of this report?

How about this one?

Lest you think that the ICG is particularly left-wing.... take a look at their assessments of Ecuador and Bolivia some time.....
4.17.2009 1:06pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW anyone interested in the darker side of arming the populace in civil wars should also read the reports linked to there.
4.17.2009 1:16pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein.
Old news, and not relevant. I was referring to the subject of the post, rondas in Peru.
Any reports of their committing human rights violations which are likely true?
That was my question. Obviously, Dilan doesn't like the question. Might be a problem with the anticipated answer, is my guess.
4.17.2009 1:44pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Richard:

Let's put it this way. The former President of Peru was convicted a few days ago for his role in arming right wing militias to fight Sendero.
4.17.2009 1:54pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
See, but Dilan:

That doesn't matter because even the Right-wing of Peruvian politics is left of the Left-wing of American politics. They are ALL leftists and therefore not credible ;-)
4.17.2009 2:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dilan.
Let's put it this way. Where are the valid reports of human rights violations by the rondas?

Being convicted of arming a group means what, exactly? Is there a Peruvian law against arming sillyvilians? If so, he apparently broke it.

Now, I know you don't like defense against leftists, but let's go over the question again: Are the reports about human rights violations true or not? Or are they the usual bumf from the left every time they run into some peasant who objects to being beheaded?
4.17.2009 2:55pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Or are they the usual bumf from the left every time they run into some peasant who objects to being beheaded?

I'll let this stand for itself. If I were arguing with someone who cared about the truth, I might continue this conversation. But I am not, so I will let you do your own research.
4.17.2009 2:59pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I think the standard reference on the Peruvian rondas is:

Starn, Orin. (1999). "Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes". Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2321-4.
4.17.2009 3:01pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein.

Note that Dilan bailed when asked to address the issue?

Further note. FARC will no longer be committing human rights violations. Being lefties, they never did. Ask Dilan. But how they're not even terrs. They're insurgents. Right up there with Freedom Riders and the Twelve Apostles.

US vets, on the other hand, must be carefully watched for terroristic tendencies.

Despite a couple of checks on the board,things overall are going Dilan's way.
4.17.2009 3:38pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Richard:

Again, all your posts show is that you hate the left. Perhaps you might want to seek counseling and deal with the serious mental demons you have.

When you come back with a better attitude, I will be glad to discuss the truthfulness of human rights claims.
4.17.2009 3:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Richard:

Shining Path human rights violations are well documented and accepted. Same with the FARC. However, tu quoque doesn't get us anywhere in this sort of discussion.
4.17.2009 4:25pm
Mark in Texas (mail):
While the government of Mexico is extremely unlikely to arm local militias or even permit them to arm themselves, I have read a number of stories over the years where groups of people in rural areas of Mexico where official law enforcement is a bit spotty have tied people believed to be guilty of serious crimes to trees, doused them with gasoline and burned them to death.

Maybe that's just the way they do things south of the border and the presence or absence of arms or government sponsorship does not change that sort of thing that much.
4.17.2009 10:45pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein.
I'm not doing t q. Point is, when Sendoros or FARC commit human rights violations, nobody on the left cares.
So it's not the violations that interest me for this discussion, but the left's standards for outrage.
Now,let's see some serious documentation of human rights violations by the rondas. Which was the original point.
Dilan % Co. need those violations, or bogus reports will do just as well, because they don't like resistance to lefty groups and HR violations are useful tools.
4.18.2009 9:57am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Richard:

So let me ensure I understand what you are complaining about:

It isn't that you deny that human rights abuses occured from groups like these but you want more emphasis on human rights abuses by Sandera, etc. While this is reasonable in a larger discussion, if we are talking about the Rondas Compasinas in particular, I think it obscures an important element of the dialog, which is the tradeoff that occurs with the use of citizen militias in civil wars where those militias develop tribunal systems.

Now, let me tell you my view of South America as someone who has spent some time down there, is looking at investing in some business opportunities in Ecuador, and collaborates closely with businesses in both Columbia and Venezuela (no partner businesses in Brazil or Peru yet, but I am sure they will come!).

In most of the countries I have looked at, there is a very real tendency towards thugocracy in the region, esp. when a threat of civil war looms. This is true in Colombia (and the AUC is a GREAT example of this), and it is one of the main tools that Chavez uses to maintain control as well. In fact, I would argue that currently both Uribe and Chavez are the best examples of thugocrats in the region, so this is not a matter so much of left and right so much as what happens when one's control over the state is threatened.

This being said, there is a second dynamic at work here that is almost never understood by Americans. These countries are by no means homogenous nation states and instead are somewhat loose federations of Mestizo-oriented states (which often include minority ethnic groups as well) and very powerful Native American states with a fair bit of autonomy. A lot of the early (pre-government sponsorship) conflict between the Shining Path and the Rondas occurred primarily in these Native American groups. The tensions here are very profound and the social values are quite different.

The Native American nations are generally exempt from the requirements of the national constitutions, and it is not unheard of for "internal extraditions" to take place in countries like Ecuador. In these cases, someone who commits a crime against members of such groups may find himself extradited by the state to what are essentially tribal courts. These courts can impose wider ranges of sentences and operate in different ways from state courts. For example, imprisonment isn't common but corporal punishment (whipping and caning) and even the death sentence (outlawed elsewhere in South America due to the influence of the Catholic Church) can be imposed.

I am not prepared to do a human rights analysis of Native American groups in South America.[1] The larger question occurs regarding human rights violations by Rondas operating outside the traditional boundaries of Quechua society in the Andes, as well as human rights violations of the Shining Path once it moved outside these same boundaries. I think these are reasonably well documented and accepted.

However a LOT of civil wars in Latin America involve collisions of Native American and Mestizo worlds.

[1] I see human rights as a cultural issue, not a transcendent one. Thus I think one has to look at human rights as they relate to structures of cultural ideology as they relate to one's own population, and to international or regional norms when they involve interactions between cultures. In this way I am far more of a nationalist than an internationalist.
4.18.2009 12:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein.
Missed again.
Let me try to make this simpler. It was said that there are reports...or something...that the rondas are responsible for human rights violations.
I said two things. 1. That claim is always heard when anybody resists the left in any fashion, true or not.
2. Is there anything solid on the subject of human rights violations by the rondas, or is this another example of 1?

I will say that when you arm civilians and tell them to participate in collective self-defense, it can get personal.

I have heard from an exchange student from Indonesia that the massacres during the Sukarno years were neighbors beating up on neighbors over water issues.

So if the left is interested in avoiding human rights violations, they should stop committing them on the peasants which then requires that the peasants be armed. Seems simple to me.
4.18.2009 4:03pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Richard:

1. That claim is always heard when anybody resists the left in any fashion, true or not.
2. Is there anything solid on the subject of human rights violations by the rondas, or is this another example of 1?


On number 1, I seem to recall a great number of concerns over human rights abuses by the Shining Path. For example, kidnapping kids and forcing them to become child soldiers was not exactly acceptable under current international norms, right? However, this thread really isn't about Shining Path, so.....

On number 2... Most of the evidence is found in court records where the members of the Ronda movement were being prosecuted (oddly enough by the Fujimori regime).
4.18.2009 7:47pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, Richard:

I think that one of the big reasons Fujimori was successful at bringing Peru out of the civil war was the successful prosecution of Rondero movement leaders for various human rights abuses.

Columbia is a good example of what happens when a government stops well short of prosecuting folks under these sorts of laws........

Note this is not pro-left as both Fujimori and Uribe are or were reasonably right-of-center in their countries.
4.18.2009 8:03pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein
This isn't about Shining Path. But it is in part about the left's view of such atrocities--they don't happen except if they do they're justified--and the ronda phenomenon.
I repeat. If the left is interested in curtailing human rights abuses, they should stop inflicting human rights abuses on the peasants so that the peasants won't have to defend themselves.
But if the peasants get guns and training and their tormentors are nearby, they probably aren't going to be interested in the GC, no more than Sendero was. And since the left didn't whine about Sendoro's abuses, they hardly have any standing to whine about the peasants' actions.
I know there were concerns, but not from the left.
4.18.2009 8:26pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I'm not doing t q. Point is, when Sendoros or FARC commit human rights violations, nobody on the left cares.

That's quite a statement. There's a huge "left" in Peru, from Alan Garcia and APRA all the way to the Chavista, Ollanta Humala, all of whom condemned repeatedly the Maoist terrorism of Sendero and the MRTA and promised to fight it.

Richard, you know nothing-- literally nothing-- other than the fact that you hate the left. You really need to get some help-- I'm sorry that some Commie beat you up in Junior High, but it's really time to get over it and learn about the world.
4.18.2009 8:45pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Richard:

Read slowly what you just wrote:

This isn't about Shining Path. But it is in part about the left's view of such atrocities--they don't happen except if they do they're justified--and the ronda phenomenon.


So what do you think of prosecutions of those involved in the Randero movement by the right-wing governments? Interestingly I can't find ONE case that was acquitted on self-defence grounds.


I repeat. If the left is interested in curtailing human rights abuses, they should stop inflicting human rights abuses on the peasants so that the peasants won't have to defend themselves.


Read the above carefully a few times then read the first bit I quoted from you again. This is a sophisticated t. q. but a t. q. nonetheless.

But if the peasants get guns and training and their tormentors are nearby, they probably aren't going to be interested in the GC, no more than Sendero was. And since the left didn't whine about Sendoro's abuses, they hardly have any standing to whine about the peasants' actions.
I know there were concerns, but not from the left.


Having spent time in South America and watching people both in the "right" and "left" of South American politics (the "right" is sort of where the "moderate left" is in American politics).....

I have to say that my experience is entirely different from yours. I have seen a lot of people condemn with equal vigor Leftist groups like the FARC, and right-wing groups such as the Aquilas Negras. I have similarly watched Peruvians be glad that the Rondero movement was put down and at the same time glad that the Shining Path was removed.

Now.... I suppose those on the fringes might argue that their side is entirely justified because the other side is worse (t. q. again), but most folks I met did not sympathize with either.
4.19.2009 12:16am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein. Have you ever asked yourself the question of why the peasants wanted to be armed? Don't they have enough to do as it is? And, once armed, why go after Sendero? What have the senderos done to anybody?
I am aware that "many" people oppose abuses on the left and the right.
I am referring to the left --pas d'ennemis dans la gauche--who only worries about abuses by their enemies, or makes them up, as necessary. Abuses by the left are ignored or justified.
Now, my original question was whether there was good evidence of Ronda abuses or was it merely the usual leftist bumf issued when opposed.
It appears that the rondas did abuse others' rights.
That was my question and it appears to have been answered.
4.19.2009 9:54am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Richard:

First, Prof. Kopel is wrong that this started with the peasants arming themselves in semi-autonomous (Quichua) regions, the same as with the Shining Path. The reason, according to the book I cited above, is that cattle-rustling was a problem.

Also what you say about the left also goes for the right as well. Furthermore this was sufficiently endorsed by the right-wing of American politics supported regimes like Pinochet.

The simple fact is that there are folks on the fringe on both right and left who refuse to acknowledge (or when they can't get away with that) seek to justify any human rights abuses on their side.

This is why my comment about Koh's paper on international arms control included a comment that everyone wants to see their enemies disarmed and their friends armed, so no international gun control regime can ever be particularly effective in these sorts of cases.
4.19.2009 12:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ein.
Couple of differences in the left/right divide over human rights.
Despite the huffing and puffing, the left's buddies commit and have committed hugely, enormously more.
The left mourns their lost heroes. Seen any Pinochet tee shirts lately?
Most of the right-wing tinpots the US has been involved with has been a matter of nose-holding for tactical gains.
Not an ideological agreement.
And, of course, most of those folks are gone.
See elections in Central America, for example.
4.19.2009 4:51pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
The left mourns their lost heroes. Seen any Pinochet tee shirts lately?

Funny, I've noticed there's still a cottage industry on the right on relitigating the Alger Hiss, Rosenberg, and Joe McCarthy issues 50 years later. I'd say Ann Coulter writing a book defending McCarthy is about on the same level as all the Che t-shirts.

As for who committed more human rights abuses, let's remember Nazi Germany (definitely buddies with the right, not the left), Portugal, Spain, and South Africa. (And yes, on the other side of the ledger are people like Stalin.)
4.19.2009 9:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dilan. Relitigating Hiss and the Rosenbergs? I think the way it goes is some gullible but honest investigator wants to 'splain to the rest of us how they got railroaded and discovers they were, by golly, guilty. You know. Venona and all that.
Venona is one of the hugest sources of embarrassment for the left in this country ever.
Turns out they lied.
Oh, well.
haven't read Coulter on McCarthy. I know McCarthy is supposed to be demonized so that any incidence of finding lefties/sovs in positions of power in this country can be called "McCarthyism" and thus "proven" to be untrue. Nice little gig you got going there, Dilan. I can see why you'd want to keep it unsullied.
4.19.2009 10:43pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Venona is one of the hugest sources of embarrassment for the left in this country ever.

You just proved my point. Mention the Rosenbergs and it's like putting raw meat in front of a pit bull. If you keep slobbering like that, Richard, you may damage your computer.

More seriously, you are, of course, telling 1/2 the story-- Ethel was exonerated, and the right said she was guilty too.

I know McCarthy is supposed to be demonized so that any incidence of finding lefties/sovs in positions of power in this country can be called "McCarthyism" and thus "proven" to be untrue.

Richard, only an idiot would refuse to learn from any historical incident where the "right" was wrong and insist on only learning from incidents where the "left" was wrong.

In the case of McCarthy, the right was wrong. And while I might actually agree with you that "McCarthyism" is an overused term, it also, at its core, refers to something-- guilt by association, insinuations without evidence, ruining people's careers based on rumors and innuendos, refusing to distinguish between traitors and fellow travelers-- that really should be avoided.

But you see, you just want to pick on the left because somebody beat you up in Junior High. So you refuse to acknowledge that these things are bad.

How about you start by acknowledging that at some points in our history, the right wing got some important things wrong? Then you can go on and bash the left and perhaps maybe have slightly more credibility.
4.19.2009 11:00pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Dilan:

This is wandering off-topic but normally I associate McCarthism, like the Salem Witch Trials with the attempt to prosecute an enemy, real or not, which walks traceless among us. Hence the mere accusation is proof of guilt and one does not EVEN need to deal with such weak evidence as guilt by association.

This poses a serious warning in the current struggle against global terrorism.
4.19.2009 11:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, anyway, Dilan. Tell us about Hiss, would ya?
You forget that all the Rosenbergs out to the umptieth generation are supposed to be innocent.
You did a reflexive move on McCarthyism there, sport.
I didn't say McCarthy was right. I didn't say he was wrong.
I said that you use the accusation as a way of "disproving" something not otherwise manageable.
One need not be guilty by association, or insinuation, but by actual, documented action and the left, if no other defense offers, will still cry "McCarthyism" in the hope--unfortunately still frequently valid--that it will serve the same purpose as "Four legs good, two legs bad" repeated endlessly.
IOW, you can be actually and demonstrably guilty of working against the US in favor of a leftist regime and, if the "McCarthy" bell is rung, you get a pass.

ein. Diff between the Salem unpleasantness and McCarthy's concerns is that there are no witches. McCarthy probably pointed to the wrong ones. Had he been sober more often, he might have pointed to the real communists. It isn't, as the left likes to think they have convinced others, that McCarthy's existence proves no communists worked in the US government against the nation's interests.
4.20.2009 11:02pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I didn't say McCarthy was right. I didn't say he was wrong.

Of course not. That's the entire right-wing enterprise. Everytime a conservative does something wrong, rather than admit it, conservatives throw a tantrum and say "wah, wah, I'm a 2 year old and the left is worse!". Rather than admitting anything.

Richard, until you ADMIT that McCarthy was wrong, you are nothing but a dishonest hack.

Make that admission, and then we can have a conversation. But you aren't man enough to do it. You don't have the guts to make a concession.
4.21.2009 3:03am

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