Was the United States Guilty of Terrorism During the Years It Saw Castro as a Threat?





Mr. Chomsky is a Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and the author of Hegemony or Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books).

Following is an excerpt from Mr. Chomsky's new book, Hegemony or Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books).

The Batista dictatorship was overthrown in January 1959 by Castro's guerrilla forces. In March, the National Security Council (NSC) considered means to institute regime change. In May, the CIA began to arm guerrillas inside Cuba."During the Winter of 1959-1960, there was a significant increase in CIA-supervised bombing and incendiary raids piloted by exiled Cubans" based in the US. We need not tarry on what the US or its clients would do under such circumstances. Cuba, however, did not respond with violent actions within the United States for revenge or deterrence. Rather, it followed the procedure required by international law. In July 1960, Cuba called on the UN for help, providing the Security Council with records of some twenty bombings, including names of pilots, plane registration numbers, unexploded bombs, and other specific details, alleging considerable damage and casualties and calling for resolution of the conflict through diplomatic channels. US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge responded by giving his"assurance [that] the United States has no aggressive purpose against Cuba." Four months before, in March 1960, his government had made a formal decision in secret to overthrow the Castro government, and preparations for the Bay of Pigs invasion were well advanced.

Washington was concerned that Cubans might try to defend themselves. CIA chief Allen Dulles therefore urged Britain not to provide arms to Cuba. His"main reason," the British ambassador reported to London,"was that this might lead the Cubans to ask for Soviet or Soviet bloc arms," a move that"would have a tremendous effect," Dulles pointed out, allowing Washington to portray Cuba as a security threat to the hemisphere, following the script that had worked so well in Guatemala. Dulles was referring to Washington's successful demolition of Guatemala's first democratic experiment, a ten-year interlude of hope and progress, greatly feared in Washington because of the enormous popular support reported by US intelligence and the"demonstration effect" of social and economic measures to benefit the large majority. The Soviet threat was routinely invoked, abetted by Guatemala's appeal to the Soviet bloc for arms after the US had threatened attack and cut off other sources of supply. The result was a half-century of horror, even worse than the US-backed tyranny that came before.

For Cuba, the schemes devised by the doves were similar to those of CIA director Dulles. Warning President Kennedy about the"inevitable political and diplomatic fall-out" from the planned invasion of Cuba by a proxy army, Arthur Schlesinger suggested efforts to trap Castro in some action that could be used as a pretext for invasion:"One can conceive a black operation in, say, Haiti which might in time lure Castro into sending a few boatloads of men on to a Haitian beach in what could be portrayed as an effort to overthrow the Haitian regime, . . . then the moral issue would be clouded, and the anti-US campaign would be hobbled from the start." Reference is to the regime of the murderous dictator"Papa Doc" Duvalier, which was backed by the US (with some reservations), so that an effort to help Haitians overthrow it would be a crime.

Eisenhower's March 1960 plan called for the overthrow of Castro in favor of a regime"more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the U.S.," including support for"military operation on the island" and"development of an adequate paramilitary force outside of Cuba." Intelligence reported that popular support for Castro was high, but the US would determine the"true interests of the Cuban people." The regime change was to be carried out"in such a manner as to avoid any appearance of U.S. intervention," because of the anticipated reaction in Latin America and the problems of doctrinal management at home.

Operation Mongoose

The Bay of Pigs invasion came a year later, in April 1961, after Kennedy had taken office. It was authorized in an atmosphere of"hysteria" over Cuba in the White House, Robert McNamara later testified before the Senate's Church Committee. At the first cabinet meeting after the failed invasion, the atmosphere was"almost savage," Chester Bowles noted privately:"there was an almost frantic reaction for an action program." At an NSC meeting two days later, Bowles found the atmosphere"almost as emotional" and was struck by"the great lack of moral integrity" that prevailed. The mood was reflected in Kennedy's public pronouncements:"The complacent, the self-indulgent, the soft societies are about to be swept away with the debris of history. Only the strong . . . can possibly survive," he told the country, sounding a theme that would be used to good effect by the Reaganites during their own terrorist wars. Kennedy was aware that allies"think that we're slightly demented" on the subject of Cuba, a perception that persists to the present.

Kennedy implemented a crushing embargo that could scarcely be endured by a small country that had become a"virtual colony" of the US in the sixty years following its"liberation" from Spain. He also ordered an intensification of the terrorist campaign:"He asked his brother, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, to lead the top-level interagency group that oversaw Operation Mongoose, a program of paramilitary operations, economic warfare, and sabotage he launched in late 1961 to visit the 'terrors of the earth' on Fidel Castro and, more prosaically, to topple him."

The terrorist campaign was"no laughing matter," Jorge Dominguez writes in a review of recently declassified materials on operations under Kennedy, materials that are"heavily sanitized" and"only the tip of the iceberg," Piero Gleijeses adds.

Operation Mongoose was"the centerpiece of American policy toward Cuba from late 1961 until the onset of the 1962 missile crisis," Mark White reports, the program on which the Kennedy brothers" came to pin their hopes." Robert Kennedy informed the CIA that the Cuban problem carries"the top priority in the United States Government -- all else is secondary -- no time, no effort, or manpower is to be spared" in the effort to overthrow the Castro regime. The chief of Mongoose operations, Edward Lansdale, provided a timetable leading to"open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime" in October 1962. The"final definition" of the program recognized that"final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention," after terrorism and subversion had laid the basis. The implication is that US military intervention would take place in October 1962 -- when the missile crisis erupted.

In February 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a plan more extreme than Schlesinger's: to use" covert means . . . to lure or provoke Castro, or an uncontrollable subordinate, into an overt hostile reaction against the United States; a reaction which would in turn create the justification for the US to not only retaliate but destroy Castro with speed, force and determination." In March, at the request of the DOD Cuba Project, the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted a memorandum to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara outlining"pretexts which they would consider would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba." The plan would be undertaken if"a credible internal revolt is impossible of attainment during the next 9-10 months," but before Cuba could establish relations with Russia that might"directly involve the Soviet Union."

A prudent resort to terror should avoid risk to the perpetrator.

The March plan was to construct"seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective and create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and responsibility on a large scale, directed at other countries as well as the United States," placing the US"in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances [and developing] an international image of Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere." Proposed measures included blowing up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay to create"a 'Remember the Maine' incident," publishing casualty lists in US newspapers to" cause a helpful wave of national indignation," portraying Cuban investigations as"fairly compelling evidence that the ship was taken under attack," developing a"Communist Cuban terror campaign [in Florida] and even in Washington," using Soviet bloc incendiaries for cane-burning raids in neighboring countries, shooting down a drone aircraft with a pretense that it was a charter flight carrying college students on a holiday, and other similarly ingenious schemes -- not implemented, but another sign of the"frantic" and"savage" atmosphere that prevailed.

On August 23 the president issued National Security Memorandum No. 181,"a directive to engineer an internal revolt that would be followed by U.S. military intervention," involving"significant U.S. military plans, maneuvers, and movement of forces and equipment" that were surely known to Cuba and Russia. Also in August, terrorist attacks were intensified, including speedboat strafing attacks on a Cuban seaside hotel"where Soviet military technicians were known to congregate, killing a score of Russians and Cubans"; attacks on British and Cuban cargo ships; the contamination of sugar shipments; and other atrocities and sabotage, mostly carried out by Cuban exile organizations permitted to operate freely in Florida. A few weeks later came"the most dangerous moment in human history."

"A bad press in some friendly countries"

Terrorist operations continued through the tensest moments of the missile crisis. They were formally canceled on October 30, several days after the Kennedy and Khrushchev agreement, but went on nonetheless. On November 8,"a Cuban covert action sabotage team dispatched from the United States successfully blew up a Cuban industrial facility," killing 400 workers, according to the Cuban government. Raymond Garthoff writes that"the Soviets could only see [the attack] as an effort to backpedal on what was, for them, the key question remaining: American assurances not to attack Cuba." These and other actions reveal again, he concludes,"that the risk and danger to both sides could have been extreme, and catastrophe not excluded."

After the crisis ended, Kennedy renewed the terrorist campaign. Ten days before his assassination he approved a CIA plan for"destruction operations" by US proxy forces"against a large oil refinery and storage facilities, a large electric plant, sugar refineries, railroad bridges, harbor facilities, and underwater demolition of docks and ships." A plot to kill Castro was initiated on the day of the Kennedy assassination. The campaign was called off in 1965, but"one of Nixon's first acts in office in 1969 was to direct the CIA to intensify covert operations against Cuba."

Of particular interest are the perceptions of the planners. In his review of recently released documents on Kennedy-era terror, Dominguez observes that"only once in these nearly thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S.-government sponsored terrorism": a member of the NSC staff suggested that it might lead to some Russian reaction, and raids that are"haphazard and kill innocents . . . might mean a bad press in some friendly countries." The same attitudes prevail throughout the internal discussions, as when Robert Kennedy warned that a full-scale invasion of Cuba would"kill an awful lot of people, and we're going to take an awful lot of heat on it."

Terrorist activities continued under Nixon, peaking in the mid- 1970s, with attacks on fishing boats, embassies, and Cuban offices overseas, and the bombing of a Cubana airliner, killing all seventy-three passengers. These and subsequent terrorist operations were carried out from US territory, though by then they were regarded as criminal acts by the FBI.

So matters proceeded, while Castro was condemned by editors for maintaining an"armed camp, despite the security from attack promised by Washington in 1962." The promise should have sufficed, despite what followed; not to speak of the promises that preceded, by then well documented, along with information about how well they could be trusted: e.g., the"Lodge moment" of July 1960.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the missile crisis, Cuba protested a machine-gun attack against a Spanish-Cuban tourist hotel; responsibility was claimed by a group in Miami. Bombings in Cuba in 1997, which killed an Italian tourist, were traced back to Miami. The perpetrators were Salvadoran criminals operating under the direction of Luis Posada Carriles and financed in Miami. One of the most notorious international terrorists, Posada had escaped from a Venezuelan prison, where he had been held for the Cubana airliner bombing, with the aid of Jorge Mas Canosa, a Miami businessman who was the head of the tax-exempt Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF). Posada went from Venezuela to El Salvador, where he was put to work at the Ilopango military air base to help organize US terrorist attacks against Nicaragua under Oliver North's direction.

Posada has described in detail his terrorist activities and the funding for them from exiles and CANF in Miami, but felt secure that he would not be investigated by the FBI. He was a Bay of Pigs veteran, and his subsequent operations in the 1960s were directed by the CIA. When he later joined Venezuelan intelligence with CIA help, he was able to arrange for Orlando Bosch, an associate from his CIA days who had been convicted in the US for a bomb attack on a Cuba-bound freighter, to join him in Venezuela to organize further attacks against Cuba. An ex-CIA official familiar with the Cubana bombing identifies Posada and Bosch as the only suspects in the bombing, which Bosch defended as"a legitimate act of war." Generally considered the"mastermind" of the airline bombing, Bosch was responsible for thirty other acts of terrorism, according to the FBI. He was granted a presidential pardon in 1989 by the incoming Bush I administration after intense lobbying by Jeb Bush and South Florida Cuban-American leaders, overruling the Justice Department, which had found the conclusion"inescapable that it would be prejudicial to the public interest for the United States to provide a safe haven for Bosch [because] the security of this nation is affected by its ability to urge credibly other nations to refuse aid and shelter to terrorists."

Economic warfare

Cuban offers to cooperate in intelligence-sharing to prevent terrorist attacks have been rejected by Washington, though some did lead to US actions."Senior members of the FBI visited Cuba in 1998 to meet their Cuban counterparts, who gave [the FBI] dossiers about what they suggested was a Miami-based terrorist network: information which had been compiled in part by Cubans who had infiltrated exile groups." Three months later the FBI arrested Cubans who had infiltrated the US-based terrorist groups. Five were sentenced to long terms in prison.

The national security pretext lost whatever shreds of credibility it might have had after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, though it was not until 1998 that US intelligence officially informed the country that Cuba no longer posed a threat to US national security. The Clinton administration, however, insisted that the military threat posed by Cuba be reduced to"negligible," but not completely removed. Even with this qualification, the intelligence assessment eliminated a danger that had been identified by the Mexican ambassador in 1961, when he rejected JFK's attempt to organize collective action against Cuba on the grounds that"if we publicly declare that Cuba is a threat to our security, forty million Mexicans will die laughing."

In fairness, however, it should be recognized that missiles in Cuba did pose a threat. In private discussions the Kennedy brothers expressed their fears that the presence of Russian missiles in Cuba might deter a US invasion of Venezuela. So"the Bay of Pigs was really right," JFK concluded.

The Bush I administration reacted to the elimination of the security pretext by making the embargo much harsher, under pressure from Clinton, who outflanked Bush from the right during the 1992 election campaign. Economic warfare was made still more stringent in 1996, causing a furor even among the closest US allies. The embargo came under considerable domestic criticism as well, on the grounds that it harms US exporters and investors -- the embargo's only victims, according to the standard picture in the US; Cubans are unaffected. Investigations by US specialists tell a different story. Thus, a detailed study by the American Association for World Health concluded that the embargo had severe health effects, and only Cuba's remarkable health care system had prevented a"humanitarian catastrophe"; this has received virtually no mention in the US.

The embargo has effectively barred even food and medicine. In 1999 the Clinton administration eased such sanctions for all countries on the official list of"terrorist states," apart from Cuba, singled out for unique punishment. Nevertheless, Cuba is not entirely alone in this regard. After a hurricane devastated West Indian islands in August 1980, President Carter refused to allow any aid unless Grenada was excluded, as punishment for some unspecified initiatives of the reformist Maurice Bishop government. When the stricken countries refused to agree to Grenada's exclusion, having failed to perceive the threat to survival posed by the nutmeg capital of the world, Carter withheld all aid. Similarly, when Nicaragua was struck by a hurricane in October 1988, bringing starvation and causing severe ecological damage, the current incumbents in Washington recognized that their terrorist war could benefit from the disaster, and therefore refused aid, even to the Atlantic Coast area with close links to the US and deep resentment against the Sandinistas. They followed suit when a tidal wave wiped out Nicaraguan fishing villages, leaving hundreds dead and missing in September 1992. In this case, there was a show of aid, but hidden in the small print was the fact that apart from an impressive donation of $25,000, the aid was deducted from assistance already scheduled. Congress was assured, however, that the pittance of aid would not affect the administration's suspension of over $100 million of aid because the US-backed Nicaraguan government had failed to demonstrate a sufficient degree of subservience.

US economic warfare against Cuba has been strongly condemned in virtually every relevant international forum, even declared illegal by the Judicial Commission of the normally compliant Organization of American States. The European Union called on the World Trade Organization to condemn the embargo. The response of the Clinton administration was that"Europe is challenging 'three decades of American Cuba policy that goes back to the Kennedy Administration,' and is aimed entirely at forcing a change of government in Havana." The administration also declared that the WTO has no competence to rule on US national security or to compel the US to change its laws. Washington then withdrew from the proceedings, rendering the matter moot.

Successful defiance

The reasons for the international terrorist attacks against Cuba and the illegal economic embargo are spelled out in the internal record. And no one should be surprised to discover that they fit a familiar pattern -- that of Guatemala a few years earlier, for example.

From the timing alone, it is clear that concern over a Russian threat could not have been a major factor. The plans for forceful regime change were drawn up and implemented before there was any significant Russian connection, and punishment was intensified after the Russians disappeared from the scene. True, a Russian threat did develop, but that was more a consequence than a cause of US terrorism and economic warfare.

In July 1961 the CIA warned that"the extensive influence of 'Castroism' is not a function of Cuban power. . . . Castro's shadow looms large because social and economic conditions throughout Latin America invite opposition to ruling authority and encourage agitation for radical change," for which Castro's Cuba provided a model. Earlier, Arthur Schlesinger had transmitted to the incoming President Kennedy his Latin American Mission report, which warned of the susceptibility of Latin Americans to"the Castro idea of taking matters into one's own hands." The report did identify a Kremlin connection: the Soviet Union"hovers in the wings, flourishing large development loans and presenting itself as the model for achieving modernization in a single generation." The dangers of the"Castro idea" are particularly grave, Schlesinger later elaborated, when"the distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes" and"the poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living." Kennedy feared that Russian aid might make Cuba a"showcase" for development, giving the Soviets the upper hand throughout Latin America.

In early 1964, the State Department Policy Planning Council expanded on these concerns:"The primary danger we face in Castro is . . . in the impact the very existence of his regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American countries. . . . The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the US, a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half." To put it simply, Thomas Paterson writes,"Cuba, as symbol and reality, challenged U.S. hegemony in Latin America." International terrorism and economic warfare to bring about regime change are justified not by what Cuba does, but by its"very existence," its"successful defiance" of the proper master of the hemisphere. Defiance may justify even more violent actions, as in Serbia, as quietly conceded after the fact; or Iraq, as also recognized when pretexts had collapsed.

Outrage over defiance goes far back in American history. Two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson bitterly condemned France for its"attitude of defiance" in holding New Orleans, which he coveted. Jefferson warned that France's" character [is] placed in a point of eternal friction with our character, which though loving peace and the pursuit of wealth, is high-minded." France's"defiance [requires us to] marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation," Jefferson advised, reversing his earlier attitudes, which reflected France's crucial contribution to the liberation of the colonies from British rule. Thanks to Haiti's liberation struggle, unaided and almost universally opposed, France's defiance soon ended, but the guiding principles remain in force, determining friend and foe.


Reprinted by permission of Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Copyright C by Aviva Chomsky, Diane Chomsky, and Harry Chomsky. All rights reserved.

This article first appeared on www.tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, a long time editor in publishing, the author of The End of Victory Culture, and a fellow of the Nation Institute.


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Jerry West - 11/4/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

Noam Chomsky wrote an apologia for Fidel Castro. Your response to my condemnation of Castro has devolved to vague generalities. In fact, your last post doesn't bother to mention Cuba at all.

JW:

Your response to Chomsky skirted the issue. To distill down a barrel of rhetoric, he posed the question whether or not US acts agains Cuba were acts of terror. Your answer boiled down to saying that they are Communists, then wandering off into your condemnation of them. You say Chomsky is apologizing for Castro, so what? The issue is not Castro in this context, but the activities of those who used violence against him.

Were terrorist acts committed against Cuba? Perhaps blowing up civilain airliners is not a terrorist act, just to name one instance.

Then perhaps one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, eh? Maybe they are all terrorists on both sides.

BH:

You do try to deflect criticizm of Castro by bringing up other countries however.

JW:

When the discussion moved away from the issue of whether terrorist acts were committed against Cuba or not and evolved into condemnations of Castro in particular and Communism in general it is certainly fair game to put forward examples that might explain both why these regimes might act the way they do and that their opposition is not dealing from an honest deck when they ignore their own transgressions, of which there are many.

BH:

The difference is obvious to anyone not blinded by ideology.
El Salvador and Guatemala are Republics with freely elected Presidents and free people who may leave when they wish.

JW:

Who is blinded by ideology? El Salvador and Guatemala might be Republics, so what? Communist countries can be Republics too. And freely elected. Right, never were any death squads were there? People were not fleeing from those countries in fear of their lives? Thousands weren't butchered by the Argentines and Chileans either I suppose? Maybe there was no Holocaust also?

BH:

By the way, what makes you think you're the only person who's traveled extensively in Central America and the Caribbean?

JW:

Huh? Where did that come from? Could you quote where I said that?

BH:

You and Gus apparently think the rest of us are bucolic dullards whose experience with the world coincides with our subscriptions to National Geographic, National Review and Readers Digest.

JW:

I never thought that, why do you? Besides I enjoy National Geographic for one and am pretty bucolic myself. :)

Semprer Fi


Bill Heuisler - 11/4/2003

Mr. West,
Noam Chomsky wrote an apologia for Fidel Castro. Your response to my condemnation of Castro has devolved to vague generalities. In fact, your last post doesn't bother to mention Cuba at all.

You do try to deflect criticizm of Castro by bringing up other countries however. For instance you wrote:
"When refugees from El Salvador, Guatamala and other places choose freedom and come to the US we often lable them economic refugees and send them home. What is the difference between them and the Cubans or Vietnamese?"

The question throws your knowledge and objectivity into doubt.
The difference is obvious to anyone not blinded by ideology.
El Salvador and Guatemala are Republics with freely elected Presidents and free people who may leave when they wish.
Cuba is a Communist dictatorship. Cubans cannot leave unless their jailors give them permission. Ditto VietNam.

By the way, what makes you think you're the only person who's traveled extensively in Central America and the Caribbean?
You and Gus apparently think the rest of us are bucolic dullards whose experience with the world coincides with our subscriptions to National Geographic, National Review and Readers Digest.
Bill Heuisler


Jerry West - 11/4/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

You continue to avoid direct responses by citing generalities that have no basis in reality. One of your more memorable is,
"Are people with absolute freedom of speech and no food freer than those who have some limitations on their speech but get plenty to eat?" Limitations? You mean like prison, or death?

JW:

Actually Bill, they do have a basis in reality. We make choices every day between desires and necessities and life is a balance of those choices. The debate is where do we draw the boundaries when reconcilling thoses choices, and why.

The fact that I draw an illustration with to extreme polls does not mean such a situation actually exists or not, but shows the size of the field we are playing on. Of course there are places in the world where freedom of speech is tightly controlled, and other where people die daily from hunger and malnutrition. If your want me to spend the time to dig up exact references then I should conclude that either you are putting me on, or you really lead a sheltered life.

BH:

Reality? Given food and no freedom, people all over the world choose freedom - VN boat people and Cuban refugees.

JW:

Of course food vs freedom is not the only issue. And what freedom exactly are these people choosing? When refugees from El Salvador, Guatamala and other places choose freedom and come to the US we often lable them economic refugees and send them home. What is the difference between them and the Cubans or Vietnamese? People leave one place for another for a variety of reasons, and sometimes freedom when spoken from their lips is just a euphemism for something else.

Personally I think people should be free to migrate wherever they will. Do you agree?

BH:

The dissolution and destruction of nearly every free society in history has come about when government decided power was more important than freedom -

JW:

A good reason to look to our own house, our own governing class comes to mind of which the Cheney crowd is just the most recent and most active bunch.

BH:

Bernie Sanders? Research his background and net worth.

JW:

Who cares? Bernie is not the issue. What he writes, however, is and he isn't alone in remarking on this. I see considerable material on the problem of the widening gap between the top and the bottom of the pile. Sometime back I saw a piece on a study that found that overall quality of life was better in countries where the gap was smaller, and as the gap increased so did the plight of large numbers of the population.

BH:

Carter visited Fidel and embraced him right after the Cuban petitioners were shot and right before he got the Peace Prize.

JW:

Ah, I thought that was ancient history, the kind you don't want us to drag up? :)

We could name a raft of president's and their cabinets that participated in unsavoury alliances with thugs and murders. No party is exempt, and it continues as we speak.

I object to all of it.

Stephen Thomas wrote:

In the U.S., the poor person Frank discusses eats to obesity, has a late model car, an air conditioned abode and a color TV.


JW:

I guess you haven't seen the places that I have.


Derek Catsam - 11/3/2003

Bill --
Damn! I've reached my allotment for times I can be correct in one year. Looks like I'll have to borrow on next year's capital!
dc


Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

Started reading the Barney Frank article and had to stop because it just got silly.

50 years ago, when we talked about people living in poverty, or not sharing in the wealth, we were talking about people who actually went without necessities.

In the U.S., the poor person Frank discusses eats to obesity, has a late model car, an air conditioned abode and a color TV.

Disparity of income is not the same moral issue in these two circumstances. Even if the disparity of income between rich, middle class and poor is as Mr. Franks says, what does it matter? That poor person, who doesn't have the percentage of wealth Franks wants him to have, is living like a king by the standards of 200 years ago.

You cannot apply this Grapes of Wrath wailing over people who are eating themselves to obesity. It's a ludicrous pretense. It's kind of obscene to pretend that the "poor" in this country are living without the basic necessities.


Bill Heuisler - 11/3/2003

Mr. West,
You continue to avoid direct responses by citing generalities that have no basis in reality. One of your more memorable is,
"Are people with absolute freedom of speech and no food freer than those who have some limitations on their speech but get plenty to eat?" Limitations? You mean like prison, or death?

Cite an example of either condition. To make them exclusive sets up an unrealistic (Socialist?) situation. The second might be in prison, but the first situation is ridiculous unless on a desert island. You avoid the issue that bites and juxtapose untenable instability. The second assumes Government coercion; the first assumes entropy; neither results in freedom.

Reality? Given food and no freedom, people all over the world choose freedom - VN boat people and Cuban refugees. Given freedom and no food, people either provide for themselves or starve to non-existance. There are no comparative situations in the real world to your static choices, Mr. West.

But food versus freedom sets up an ugly enigma. Food is power to an oppressor, because it's necessity. Malthus to Marx, humans become units and groups of units become classes. The Socialist game-player moves one against the other, promising the future. Always the future. Always failure. Always another's fault.

But a free people first feed their families and then look elsewhere for mental, social and political engagement. Total freedom without food is impossible to sustain and impossible to realistically invision. Deal with reality instead of the Socialist wonderland in your mind. Reality? The dissolution and destruction of nearly every free society in history has come about when government decided power was more important than freedom - food more important than liberty. Rome comes to mind.

Bernie Sanders? Research his background and net worth. Some Socialist, a dilettante probing for gravitas. And it shows.
His wishful proselytizing won't withstand cursory examination. His inflation valued '73 dollars do not reflect the nearly flat inflation of the past ten years and his wage scale might reflect the rust belt if we take the highest paid worker in the Carter years and the lowest now. Carter gave us 18% unemployment and 21% inflation in the late Seventies - a poor baseline for any so-called measure of prosperity, but an excellent example of the disasters brought on when a Socialist gamer exerts power.

Carter visited Fidel and embraced him right after the Cuban petitioners were shot and right before he got the Peace Prize.
Talk about a parable on Socialist hypocrisy.
Bill Heuisler


Jerry West - 11/3/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

We write at cross-purposes and fence like two blind men. Orthodoxies butting dogmas, wasting our time.

JW:

We might get a majority vote on that. :)

BH:

Jefferson wrote "All men are created equal." He did not write all men should be made equal by other men or governments.

JW:

Neither did he write that they should be made unequal.

BH:

And of course you avoid providing historic examples of more free nations than US or less free than Cuba.

JW:

But what is more free or less free? I avoid those examples because no matter what examples we use we can debate ad nauseam the degree of freedom or lack thereof depending on what component of a society that you look at, and what the value or cost of that freedom is. Are people with absolute freedom of speech and no food freer than those who have some limitations on their speech but get plenty to eat? It is not a black and white issue.

BH:

Again, the crux of my arguments with you and Mr. Moner has been that history draws inescapable conclusions through the agony of millions, the clash, triumph and failure of men and movements. We have this last century as our text.

JW:

For one the conclusions may not be all that inescapable, for another the agony and so on can be used to indict more than one social or economic system. If I were to look for an inescapable conclusion I would say that greed and uncontrolled self interest were the biggest culprits in creating human misery, regardless of the economic or political underpinnings of the society.

BH:

Those of you who cling to tragedy and depravity through misplaced loyalty or some dire wistfulness for grand, but flawed, ideas must suffer the penalty.
Problem is, you want to drag the rest of us back to the abyss.

JW:

You think we are out of the abyss? The messes that we are dealing with today did not just happen to us. Think of them as consequences.

BH:

....one who seeks to understand everything, understands nothing. Noam and folks like you have no empathy for our President, but all the sympathy in the world for a bloody-handed dictator. I will never have enough understanding for Castro...or for you.

JW:

I expect far more from our President, particularly given the power and resources that he controls. That is not to say that I do not understand him. I think that I do and it is not to his credit. I didn't care too much for Slick Willy either, perhaps you can tell us why we should have empathy for him too.

Just for kicks here is a piece by Bernie Sanders that shows some of the problems our society is facing because of the decisions of Slick Willy, GWB and others. This is not exactly a road map for any meaningful freedom, at least for a large number of our citizens.

http://www.inequality.org/goinggoingfr.html


Bill Heuisler - 11/3/2003

Mr. West,
We write at cross-purposes and fence like two blind men. Orthodoxies butting dogmas, wasting our time. But a few rather distinct differences should be mentioned:

Jefferson wrote "All men are created equal." He did not write all men should be made equal by other men or governments.

Using Uzbekistan as an example of happy toleration of tyranny is like citing Jupiter for moon shadows. You mock the discussion. And of course you avoid providing historic examples of more free nations than US or less free than Cuba. What point in throwing ideas past each other unacknowledged?

Again, the crux of my arguments with you and Mr. Moner has been that history draws inescapable conclusions through the agony of millions, the clash, triumph and failure of men and movements. We have this last century as our text. Those of you who cling to tragedy and depravity through misplaced loyalty or some dire wistfulness for grand, but flawed, ideas must suffer the penalty.
Problem is, you want to drag the rest of us back to the abyss.

Last, Jerry, I can't remember who said it (Churchill?) but one who seeks to understand everything, understands nothing. Noam and folks like you have no empathy for our President, but all the sympathy in the world for a bloody-handed dictator. I will never have enough understanding for Castro...or for you.
Semper Fi,
Bill Heuisler


Jerry West - 11/3/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

Thought we all should be familiar with the West/Moner Paradise.

JW:

Not from the site that you referenced. Kind of like me telling people to check out capitalism by reading the manifestoes of the American Nazi Party and other conservative fringe fruit bars. I know better than that, and you should too.

BH:

....you seem more serious, less ideologically-driven if you'll pardon my presumption.

JW:

I am certainly serious, whether or how much it is ideologically driven could lead to a multifaceted debate on the nature of ideology and its motivations.

BH:

You wrote,
"Freedom and Democracy for all exists to a greater degree in societies where there is more equality...." "Cooperation and teamwork often are far more effective methods of accomplishing tasks and ordering society than selfish individualism."

These two rote statements are not true, not in the real world.

JW:

I certainly disagree. From my experiences, starting in youth with sports, cooperation and teamwork have seemed to almost always produced overall better results for the group or society than individual glory hounding, or in other cases gluttonous accumulation of wealth. I am not sure what they taught in the Marine Corps in the 50's, but we were taught to work together and that the group was more important than the individual. It was a good principle then and still is.

BH:

First, the word, equality, is meaningless in political context or even human context. No one's equal, nor should we be.

JW:

A major dividing line between us. I guess I take Thomas Jefferson's words and our founding documents far more seriously and literally than you do.

BH:

We all strive in free societies for equal opportunity/equal treatment under the law,....

JW:

Equal opportunity and treatment can easily be subverted by unequal distribution of wealth and power. In order to have the first you must approximate the other. This does not necessarily mean an absolute leveling, individual initiative is important, (though economic gain need not be the motivator or measure of success), but the relationship must be recognized and mitigating mechanisms built into the social structure.

BH:

....your substitution of Equality for a Free republican, market-driven society is chimerical and you know it.

JW:

What a mouth full. You can have a free republican society that is not market driven, and you can have a market driven society that is neigher free nor republican. The problem with an unfettered market driven society is that the market is only good for ordering certain segments. Just as applying the instrument of public control to every facet of society would be a mistake, so is applying the free market model to every aspect. Greed is a very poor foundation upon which to build a social and economic system.

I await you endorsement of private police, fire departments, the military and all roads and bridges with no tax support for any of them. That would be truly anti-socialist.

BH:

Name a society with....

JW:

Simplistic. We could do social comparisons for days and some of us would find good points in many of them that compare more favorably to the US, just as we would find some things better, by certain standards in the US.

Sometimes which is better depends on what you personally value. I live where healthcare for the average person is better over all than for the average person in the US, and personal freedoms are equal if not greater in some areas and lesser in others. Many of the differences are nuances, and nit picking over them would be a silly waste of time.

BH:

Castro's "...evils, since they are happily tolerated or abetted elsewhere..." Really, Mr. West? Where are concentration camps, the murder of refugees and dissidents happily tolerated?

JW:

We could try Uzbekistan for openers, I hear pretty gruesome tales of our ally there. Historically you know where as well as I do, so I am not sure why you even bring this up again. To you all transgressions of non-Communist nations are past history to be forgotten.

Anyone who has seriously spent their life in the service of the US (among other countries) believing that they were working against all evil, murder, political repression, torture and so on has been living in a delusion.

BH:

This is a history site, not a philosophy site. Historic examples could be very effective when defending Castro's Cuba.

JW:

Seeking understanding is not the same as defending, but it sure leads to better solutions than knee jerk oppostion.


Gus Moner - 11/2/2003

Mr Heuisler,
I suspect you have entered perhaps the kookiest fringe party web page you could find. It is undoubtedly a brilliant example of serious historiography and current events research.

Here is what serious Socialist and Labour parties are about. I have selected as examples you might find palatable Spain’s and Britain’s Labour Party manifestos, given that they are both bush administration allies. I am hoping that since you have had dealings with Spanish speaking elements from at least Nicaragua and Cuba, you might know enough Spanish.

The British Socialists, as you may recall, have bought into the US administration’s rampant capitalism and Judeo Christian vision of the world that you seem keen on, and thus supports, albeit with dissent, the war in Iraq. Spain’s does not. How is than for balance and fairness?

I hope it is instructive and informative and affords you the opportunity to understand what people other than right wing ideologues really believe in. Similar commentary, goals, objectives and visions may be found in the myriad Socialist or labour oriented parties in Europe where they have reached a level of experience and success with social oriented governance that is often praised. However, these other pages require translation. I am not up to that task.

All the best,

Gus Moner


About Labour
‘The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. Where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe. And where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.’

Clause 4 of the Labour Party constitution
The Labour Party was set up in 1900 to fight for representation for the Labour movement - trade unions and socialist societies - in Parliament. Its first leader was Keir Hardie, one of the earliest Labour MPs.
Though Labour was only in government for three short periods of the 20th century, its achievements revolutionised the lives of the British people. The values Labour stands for today are those which have guided it throughout its existence.
Our values:
• social justice
• strong community and strong values
• reward for hard work
• decency
• rights matched by responsibilities
For more, here is the link: http://www.labour.org.uk/aboutlabour/

If interested, and as you might have picked up some Spanish whilst shooting up the Caribbean, here are the Spanish Socialist Party objectives and their link:



Queremos hacer un mundo mejor

Queremos que la política vuelva a ocupar su papel al servicio de las personas, en la resolución de sus problemas, en su bienestar, en garantizar el progreso en sociedades libres, en paz, justas y cohesionadas.
Queremos poner en valor el principal capital social que tenemos, la ciudadanía. Porque creemos que en la resolución de los conflictos cada vez es más importante y efectiva la participación activa de los ciudadanos y las ciudadanas. Porque creemos en la política democrática, en la que se favorece la participación responsable de las personas, en las que sus ideas y demandas cuentan. Porque la gente conoce sus problemas y, muchas veces, sabe como resolverlos.
Queremos avanzar en una democracia cívica, que parta de los ciudadanos y ciudadanas. Aquella en la que las personas participan en las decisiones que les afectan, en la que tienen los recursos necesarios para poder decidir libremente su futuro.
Queremos, también, una democracia de calidad. No nos conformamos con una democracia de mínimos, con defender lo ya conseguido, aunque haya que hacerlo frente a embates externos. Queremos más. Más libertad, más igualdad, más justicia social, más solidaridad…
Queremos contar con la gente, ser un partido al servicio de los ciudadanos, al servicio del país, de los intereses generales y del bien común. Por eso somos un partido abierto, transparente y próximo a los ciudadanos.

El PSOE, con más de 120 años de historia, es una organización política cuya razón de ser se asienta en su función social de ser un instrumento útil en la tarea de hacer una sociedad mejor. Detectar los problemas, aportar soluciones, sobre la base de los principios de libertad, igualdad, solidaridad y justicia social son nuestros principales fines.
Somos un partido de progreso al servicio de los ciudadanos, abierto a la participación de hombre y mujeres que expresan sus ideas, sus preocupaciones y que buscan soluciones. Somos un partido transparente, abierto a los cambios, a la evolución y la innovación. Que cree y practica otra forma de hacer política: la que se entiende, la que es participativa, la que es próxima a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas a sus problemas y deseos.
Una organización atractiva y confortable, no sólo para los militantes sino para todos los ciudadanos que trabajan por mejorar la sociedad
Un partido que aborda los problemas complejos de una sociedad cambiante como la que vivimos, buscando soluciones que hagan efectivos los principios de:
Libertad, para que toda persona pueda llevar a cabo su proyecto personal de vida.
Igualdad, de condiciones para que todas las personas puedan desarrollar sus capacidades y potencialidades.
Solidaridad, para que todas las personas tengan aseguradas sus necesidades básicas.
http://www.psoe.es/ambito/elpartido/index.do


Bill Heuisler - 11/2/2003

To save everyone time, the web site referred in the last post is:

http://www.geocities.com/glasgowbranch/TMSMG12.html


Bill Heuisler - 11/2/2003

Whoever might be interested in understanding the social and economic nostrums spouted by some of our friends here who defend Fidel are hereby strongly urged to go to the Socialist Party web site. At the bottom of the page, click "The Socialist Solution".

Five well-written pages of wishes, homilies and platitudes that try to explain the Socialist Utopia. Just theories. Harmless?
That's debatable. First paragraph's a bit unsettling:

"Socialism is the only system within which the problems that now face workers can be solved - but what will it be like? Socialism is a system in which the means for producing and distributing wealth will be owned by society as a whole. Socialism will end the class monopoly of the means of production that exists in capitalism, converting what is now the private property of a few into the common property of all. Socialism will be a genuinely classless society in which the exploitation and oppression of human by human will have been abolished. All human beings will be social equals, freely able to co-operate in running social affairs."

Equals with no private property? Exploitation abolished?
And farther along it tells how certain "administrators" will be needed, and how they'll have no real power. Sound familiar?

Thought we all should be familiar with the West/Moner Paradise.
Go to the site. Open your eyes and understand Fidel's motives.
History is, after all, a learning process.
Bill Heuisler


Bill Heuisler - 11/2/2003

Mr. West,
Mr. Moner often invents history for debating points, but you seem more serious, less ideologically-driven if you'll pardon my presumption. Outrageous claims have become common in this Cuba discussion, but your recent misuse of concepts and neglect of history surprises me after all of our extended correspondence.

Two quick examples. Two quick challenges:
You wrote,
"Freedom and Democracy for all exists to a greater degree in societies where there is more equality...." "Cooperation and teamwork often are far more effective methods of accomplishing tasks and ordering society than selfish individualism."

These two rote statements are not true, not in the real world.
First, the word, equality, is meaningless in political context or even human context. No one's equal, nor should we be. We all strive in free societies for equal opportunity/equal treatment under the law, but your substitution of Equality for a Free republican, market-driven society is chimerical and you know it.

Name a society with more equality of opportunity and justice than the US. Now name a society with more individual Freedom.
Name a society with more Government-inspired equality than Pot's Cambodia, Ho's Vietnam, Castro's Cuba and Andropov's USSR.
Now name any societies with less individual Freedom.

2) Castro's "...evils, since they are happily tolerated or abetted elsewhere..." Really, Mr. West? Where are concentration camps, the murder of refugees and dissidents happily tolerated?

This is a history site, not a philosophy site. Historic examples could be very effective when defending Castro's Cuba.
Bill Heuisler


Gus Moner - 11/2/2003

Point taken, person Suetonius. Thanks for your observation.

For your information, I’ll say that this comment you quote was directed at Mr Heuisler’s only, due to his own description of his own military activities, not as a broad brush statement for all service men and women.

I believe you misinterpreted my remarks or took them as directed at everyone when they were addressed to one person based on his description of his activities. Moreover, Mr Heuisler, presumably, was following orders and not running his own show…..


Gus Moner - 11/2/2003

Thanks for the response to Mr Heuisler's pontification on the Socialist-Democracy inversion theory.I had become tired of his rants and you have effectively addressed something that required it.

I would add that socialism and democracy are not mutually exclusive as his commet tends to imply. Perhaps Mr Heuisler would have put it better had he said capitalism-communism ot totalitarianism-democracy.


Gus Moner - 11/2/2003

Thanks Mr Brody, for offering a reasoned response to my comments. I appreciate your effort and interest in clarifying this matter.

One question I have is just why is the French interview suspect? Bear in mind it was published in 1998, years before the current situation reared its ugly head. I’d like to hear why it is you think that, for perhaps I have overlooked something.

I'll have another look at the Gates book myself. It has been awhile since I looked at it, so I’ll wait to comment much further on this. As to what aid the ‘finding’ involved, where and how it was funnelled, I would say that it is understated in your comment.

The coordination with Pakistan’s ISI is ignored. Evidence to that understatement, I believe, lies in the magnitude and result of that effort.

You mention, Mr Brody that “US help was nonlethal and modest in size until the invasion, but it was a start.” Additionally, you add that the aid authorized was “Insurgent propaganda and other psychological operations, radio access to the Afghanistan population through third country facilities (Radio Free Afghanistan) and cash and non-military aid. Gates describes this aid as very small, less than a half million dollars. There were no “arms” given to the Mujahedin.”

This is at a minimum highly debatable when the incipient Mujahideen were already clashing with the Soviets and in light of the tendency of the secret services to cover up these types of lethal aid as non-military. Additionally, we must recall the tendency to use the Pakistani ISI as conduit and cover for US aid of all sorts. Nevertheless, I’ll admit there is certain leeway for interpretation here and your quotes and literal interpretation are reasonable enough.

Regarding your comment that “Bob Gate’s book does not support your contention that the US began providing aid to the Afghan Mujahadin with the knowledge that it would provoke the Soviets into invading Afghanistan”, recalling I need to look at it again, for now I’ll have to respectfully disagree.

The question is what sort of aid, through whom, etc. Mr Brzinski’s comments hand in hand with Mr Gates’ book are the elements, together, that led to my thinking.

Now, seeing the impact that my use of ‘long before’ as a time reference has had, I’ll have to say it was a poor choice of wording, as the time line is about a year. Simply saying “before” would have sufficed.

The reason for the entire comment about US involvement '(long) before the Soviets invaded' is that presidential findings, this one signed on 3 July 1979, don't just 'pop up' one day but are the results of prior, often extensive inter-agency deliberation, some on the ground examination of facts, etc.

Both men imply that the US had been fomenting trouble in the Muslim republics, with Afghanistan included and with Pakistani involvement, perhaps looking to open up just the front they did open in the 'soft underbelly' of the USSR.

On the topic of the Soviets being in Afghanistan before, and the Mujahideen existing before the aforementioned date of US involvement both are correct and I ought to have emphasised that more. In fact, the Soviet Union had steadily interfered in Afghan affairs in an effort to bring Afghanistan into its orbit since the early 1920’s.

Soviet meddling in Afghan politics was as frequent and blatant as US meddling in Latin America. This is my omission and I oughn't to have left it out.

Moreover, since you have raised these elements, I’ll expand and say that to all these pieces must be added three background themes.

Firstly, that the US ally, Pakistan, felt threatened with encirclement, with the possibility of Soviets on the vast western border with Afghanistan, if Afghanistan fell, and Soviet sympathiser India on the equally vast east frontier, with the icing on the cake being that China claimed part of the Pakistani-Indian-disputed Kashmir region.

Secondly the feared continuation of the ‘Great Game’ of the late 1800’s early 1900’s a concept and fear that was ‘inherited’ by the US after Britain’s withdrawal from the East. The obsession with avoiding at all costs the Russian/Soviet opening to the Gulf/Indian Ocean - the southern Eurasian coastline.

Thirdly, there was Soviet concern about the spread of radical Iranian politics into the Soviet Muslim Republics. To the Soviets, this included the Afghan region, the latter being a sort of no-man’s land where no one really ruled (or yet rules, apparently).

Now, I realise a Castro story is no place for this discussion. However, it turned up in the context of Mr Heuisler’s remarks which were made without the basis of reason or fact that you have thankfully provided. I too would like more information and clarification of the origins of this conflict.

Perhaps, HNN staff can commission an article on the subject, so we can discuss it in an appropriate forum. Finally, thanks again for your effort to clarify my comments and get at the facts. I appreciate this kind of discourse, even if I were to have been wrong.

Any additional facts or information that you or others can add would be welcome. This remains, in my mind, at least an unresolved question. Bear in mind the revelations began to surface in the mid to late 1990's. Information and truth often take a score of years or more from the events to begin to surface.



Steve Brody - 11/2/2003



Gus, this is the most recent of many posts in which you’ve asserted that Jimmy Carter formed the Afghan Mujahedin BEFORE the Soviet invasion and began arming the Afghan Mujahedin long before the Soviet invasion started and did all of this knowing that it would provoke the Soviet invasion. You claim for your source of all this is a book by Bob Gates, former CIA director, and an interview, which I find suspect, of Zbigniew Brzezinski in a French weekly.

I’ve now read Gates’ book and it is fascinating. What it does not do, however, is support your proposition that Carter “formed the Mujahedin long before the Soviet invasion” (your words, not mine). Nor does it support your assertion that the US “armed the Mujahedin long before the Soviet invasion”. Finally, it does not support your declaration that Carter did this all with the knowledge that it would provoke a Soviet invasion.

“It was the US...forming the Mujahiden in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, knowing it would lead the USSR to invade Afghanistan”.. Gus Moner, 10/16/2003.

First Gus, your statement that Carter “formed the Mujahadin prior to the Soviet invasion” is nowhere to be found in either Gates’ book or the suspect Brzezinski interview. I don’t know what your source is for this extraordinary assertion is but it is not contained in either of the sources that you cite. In fact, what is clear from both sources is the opposite. The Mujahdin were existent prior to any aid being given by Carter.

“my comment that the US began arming the Mujahideen long before the Afghan invasion, bear in mind that I do have plenty of evidence, …Two authoritative sources, Robert Gates former CIA Director and former NSC Chairman Brzezinski have confirmed it”…. Gus Moner, 10/18/2003

You’re claim that the US armed the Mujahedin before the Soviet invasion is nowhere in Gates’ book or the Brzezinski interview. What Gates does relate is that in July 1979 six months before the Soviet invasion, Carter did sign a presidential “finding” authorizing aid to the Mujahedin. The aid authorized? Insurgent propaganda and other psychological operations, radio access to the Afghanistan population through third country facilities (Radio Free Afghanistan) and cash and non-military aid. Gates describes this aid as very small, less than a half million dollars. There were no “arms” given to the Mujahedin.

In fact, Gates stresses this point on page 149 of his book, when he states ”Carter..implemented a covert finding to help the insurgents resist the Soviets almost six months before the massive Soviet move. US help was nonlethal and modest in size until the invasion, but it was a start.”

Nothing in the Brzezinski interview indicates that the Mujahedin received arms.

Again, I’m not sure what your source for this is, Gus, but it clearly is not the source that you cite.

“It just so happens that the US started the Afghan war by arming Mujahideen long before the Soviet invasion, in fact triggering it as part of the NSC-CIA policy, with Jimmy Carter fully aware it would trigger a Soviet invasion”….Gus Moner, 10/18/2003.


Gus, Bob Gate’s book does not support your contention that the US began providing aid to the Afghan Mujahadin with the knowledge that it would provoke the Soviets into invading Afghanistan. On the contrary, Gates says very clearly, “ But between summer and December (the date of the actual invasion-sb), CIA’s Soviet analysts just couldn’t believe that the Soviets actually would invade in order to play a major part in ground combat operations. They saw all the reasons why it would be foolish of the Soviets to do so-the same reasons many in the Soviet leadership saw-and simply couldn’t accept that Breznev or the others might see the equation differently.”

Brzezinski, in the suspect interview, does claim that he foresaw the Soviet invasion as the result of the aid given to the Mujahadin. But really, how could anyone credibly predict the massive Soviet invasion would result from the small amount of non-lethal aid that was given.

By the way, Gus, the Soviets were in Afghanistan long before the massive invasion of December, 1979. Military and political advisors were on the ground in Afghanistan at the time of the July, 1979 finding.

In fact, the Afghan government had turned considerable inhospitable towards the Soviets by the time of the invasion. That is why on the day that the invasion started, special KGB troops, dressed as Afghan troops, assassinated Afghan Prime Minister Haffizula Amin.




Jerry West - 11/2/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

People thrive with personal freedom and Democracy; prosperity exists in inverse ratio with Socialism.
That's reality, Gus. That's history.

JW:

Actually, it is a fairy tale. Freedom and Democracy for all exists to a greater degree in societies where there is more equality. The greater the gap between people the more freedom and democracy those on top have at the expense of those on the bottom. Money talks, and votes, and buys influence and laws.

Cooperation and teamwork often are far more effective methods of accomplishing tasks and ordering society than selfish individualism. A balance between the two, not the exclusion of one or the other, is the sign of a healthy society.

Taking the anti-socialist argument to its logical extreme conclusion we would disband all public services such as police, fire protection, the military and so on, leaving those who wanted such to buy it for themselves. We would also have toll gates on every road and bridge and licenses of any kind would no longer be required. Social and economic relationships would once again be feudal.

A degree of socialism is a good thing. The debate is not whether to have it or not, but how much and where.

One's defense of Castro, despite one's disagreement with some of his policies, may have more to do with the nature of the attacks against him than with Castro himself.

On the other hand, the attacks on Castro citing his evils probably have little or nothing to do with the evils, since they are happily tolerated or abetted elsewhere, but more with the fact that he is a Communist (whatever that means anymore) who tossed the Mafia out of Cuba and angered a lot of people who were doing quite well under the old regime, as well as those who cling to an archaic social view fired by greed and fuelled with paranoia.


Suetonius - 11/2/2003

Gus, suggesting that eight years of military service for this country is "eight years of terrorist acts" is offensive to those people on here who, whatever their politics, served their country in the U.S. military with honor and distinction. Regardless of your disagreements with Mr. Heuisler or your objections to the operations that he served with, your overly broad brush taints far too many with that sort of language.


Gus Moner - 11/2/2003

Mr. Moner,
Still nothing about Fidel but excuses.
Not excuses, explanations, Mr Heuisler. Dictatorships are inexcusable, no?

My platitudes are not Marxist. The entire Marxist-Capitalist argument is long dead. You yourself have admitted the existence of the oligarchy and their being a legacy of Spanish rule. You continue to obsess on the Cold War theme that traumatised you. Move on, to therapy, yourself.

“Chattel? Provided? No, Mr. Moner, people must have their freedom”.

Freedom from what? Freedom to what? Roam the streets in criminal behaviour? Be consigned to the poverty the system creates? To not have schools or medical care? What use is being “free” if you don’t eat, can’t clothe your family and live in corrugated tin shacks?

Don’t get too hung up on the word “provided”. After all, the government provides roads, provides schools, provides roads, provides security…..You’re barking up the semantics tree because you may be out of factual argument. Your absence of answers to my queries on Cuba, the French at the Marne, East Timor Afghanistan clearly indicates the vacuous content of your phrases.

Your obsession with labelling people to attempt to discredit them is clear and useless, as is easily perceived from the vitriolic rants about Marxism, commies, etc. Tell the poor in Nicaragua about their prosperity in freedom.

And by all means, visit the island sometime. Get to know its people and how they live, and compare them to El Salvador or any other regional neighbour.

See you in therapy.


Bill Heuisler - 11/1/2003

Mr. Moner,
Still nothing about Fidel but excuses.
The US is at fault for everything. You serve the nation "where you live" by promoting values, attempting to teach, creating conditions and steering the nation. Damn, you must be busy.
I'll bet all those unfortunates are grateful.

You reveal more than you know with your Marxist platitudes:
1) "People are chattel to the oligarchs and the poisonous, crippling capitalist system all over Latin America today."
2) "People must be provided proper education, health care and dignified employment solutions to function in a democracy(?)."

Chattel? Provided? No, Mr. Moner, people must have their freedom.

We're at the nub aren't we? Capitalism is the problem. People are chattel to the oligarchs. They need to be provided things. This stuff hearkens back to the Thirties. Are you serious? Hasn't the Twentieth Century taught you anything? Marxism is a failure because it replaces the individual with the State.
The elite work for the State (you?), the rest are victims.

You need those victims to feel superior, don't you? You're a Socialist/Marxist eaten up with envy and class hatred who detests the US and the Capitalist system. You can't make it here, but you love those chattel, don't you, Gus. They need you so. But look around: People thrive with personal freedom and Democracy; prosperity exists in inverse ratio with Socialism.
That's reality, Gus. That's history.

You've found people who will ignore history and agree to blame their problems on everyone else? Good for you, but don't expect anyone with a decent knowledge of history to take you seriously.
And you've finally admitted your problem. Now therapy.
Bill Heuisler


Edward Phillips - 11/1/2003

RE D. Catsam's comment above:

There is no need to derail a discussion about Castro into a tit for tat exchange over Israel and Egypt. The 1967 example was simply one of many such examples indicating that Heuisler, whose numerous strident remarks cover this page and this website, affords a rather low priority to basic factual accuracy. You and Moner, also copious commenters, have your impressive and less impressive moments, but you at least try to get your facts straight and tend to apologize when you get them wrong (rare in your case, still rarer with Moner).


Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Dear Mr Heuisler,
There you go again.
You begin an earlier diatribe with this jewel: “You've used many insults, racist to whatever, but terrorist? Gus, I proudly served my country from January 1958 to July 1967. Have you ever served the United States in any fashion at all?”

What is service to one’s country? Well, I am remiss at having to ‘defend’ myself by ‘proving’ I have served my country. It seems a shallow and idiotic correlation. However, since evry now and then you use that tactic, I’ll indulge you a bit.

Almost every day of my life after my schooling I have served the nation where I live and the area where I studied. I do so by promoting its values and its principles, attempting to teach and learn, so that people think and not follow blindly. In this way, I try to help create the conditions to steer the nation from political blunders, crass errors, and hypocrisy and by improving the understanding of people in the rest of the world within its population.

To me, that beats your eight years of terrorist acts and support for corrupt, blood-stained Batistianos, Zomozanos and the lot of murdering Latin American dictators and whatever like activities you may have done.

I have served on five boards of directors of social service agencies and currently serve on another. These try to improve the lot of people cast aside by the reckless profiteering of those like the current war profiteers who are friends of the people in power. The system needs defending in ways other than military, as surprising as that may seem to you. Our social structure is chaotic; every year 5 million people drop out of school. If they do not re-enter the educational system, we’ll have another 40 or 50 million people without the basic education to function in an increasingly complex world within a decade, on top of the same amount now in that situation. You do the math.

People must be provided proper education, health care and dignified employment solutions to function in a democracy, in an ever more complex world, as your vitriolic rants and accusations often prove.

Your hypocrisy does make you competent to discuss the topic. If my sources were those you listed, I’d be unable to even participate in this forum. My historical illiteracy is accompanied by two university degrees and over half a century of experiences.

So, I serve my country and its people every day with everything I do to try to make a better world, without ever feeling compelled to fire a weapon.

Here is the link to the Brzezinsky article. If you can’t speak French, find a translator, since you can’t seem to accept the English translations I have cited. http://archives.nouvelobs.com/recherche/article.cfm?id=87487&mot=&mm=01&mm2=12&aa=2002&n_mag=8&num=1732

Do some research - you’ll learn history. If you don’t like this link, (it is French- no doubt that is disqualification enough for you- never mind what Brzezinski said) and since you’ve proven you can read, go to the library and checkout Gates’s book. I’m sure if you can use the book’s index that you’ll quickly find the comment there too. Then, get back to us cowardly historians with your findings.

You asked your interlocutor a number of rhetorical questions about his or here knowledge of Cuba. I’ll put like questions to you.

Have you ever been to Cuba, Mr Heuisler, (other than to shoot at it) either before or after the revolution? Have you ever lived there? Have you ever written a dissertation on Cuba and the revolution? Have you ever lived under any dictatorship? What qualifies you to speak about Cuba’s social conditions other than rants with your war mates?
Have you ever spoken to Cubans who have actually stayed in their country and worked to make it a better place?

Writhing in poverty? Get real. Go to a Brazilian slum, a Nicaraguan or Salvadorian peasant village and talk to us or your interlocutor in this message about writhing in poverty. It is not just Marxism that has dropped Cuba to the level of debt you mention, assuming it true. There has been a US embargo that has crippled the nation. How?

Well, if you had studied Cuban history, you’d know that by 1959, Cuba’s dependence on the US was such that the entire infrastructure was US made; from each water tap, to light switch, wall plug, fire hydrant, electric generator, street light, traffic lights, nearly every car, lorry, tractor, the air conditioners, cash registers, and so on to the largest items, railway stock, water treatment facilities, sewerage, etc.

Once US spare parts were cut off, things could not be repaired. They had to be substituted at great cost. It’s not all black and white, Mr Heuisler, because, as usual, you don’t read various opinions. Yours are filtered from the right of Attila the Hun.

No one denies that Castro runs a dictatorship and uses cruel means to maintain the revolution he believes in. No one here has said, to my knowledge, that they support the tyrant. People just seem to see more there than you do. Why might that be?

However, I have noted that you seem to have a predilection for certain barbarous tyrants (for example Zomoza) whilst others are vilified (Castro). That, sir, makes you an expert on hypocrisy, as I mentioned earlier. If they are fascist and favour capitalism and US deals, they are cool with you. If not, they are bad.

People are chattel to the oligarchs and the poisonous, crippling capitalist system all over Latin America today. Go to Paraguay, Bolivia or Venezuela. If my choice were a subsistence diet and health care with schooling for my children or rampart capitalism with lives of crime, poverty, no health care or schooling, as in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru etc. I’d take the former.

The gusanos you so love are the educated and wealthy people who left their nation in the lurch when it most needed them rather than sand and fight for what they supposedly believed in within their own nation, as Fidel did. They went to the US and have since tried to have the US fight their war by proxy while accumulating wealth to lobby and influence the likes of the Bush clan.

They deprived the nation that educated them of the doctors, mechanical, electric, petroleum, construction, road and railway engineers, sugar mill operators and trained mill staff, nurses, architects, veterinarians, etc. Real patriots, right? It is another contributing factor to Cuba’s Marxist failure. But you only see Red.

Finally, I leave you with a quote to apply to yourself, you’ll recognise it as its’ yours. “Reflexive descent to insult is an admission of shortcomings”.

You missed class the day they traught that comparison is one method of study, a way to put things in context. I hope that's not too complicated.


Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Dear Mr Heuisler,
There you go again.
You begin your diatribe with this jewel: “You've used many insults, racist to whatever, but terrorist? Gus, I proudly served my country from January 1958 to July 1967. Have you ever served the United States in any fashion at all?”

What is service to one’s country? Well, I am remiss at having to ‘defend’ myself by ‘proving’ I have served my country. It seems a shallow and idiotic correlation. However, since evry now and then you use that tactic, I’ll indulge you a bit.

Almost every day of my life after my schooling I have served the nation where I live and the area where I studied. I do so by promoting its values and its principles, attempting to teach and learn, so that people think and not follow blindly. In this way, I try to help create the conditions to steer the nation from political blunders, crass errors, and hypocrisy and by improving the understanding of people in the rest of the world within its population.

To me, that beats your eight years of terrorist acts and support for corrupt, blood-stained Batistianos, Zomozanos and the lot of murdering Latin American dictators and whatever like activities you may have done.

I have served on five boards of directors of social service agencies and currently serve on another. These try to improve the lot of people cast aside by the reckless profiteering of those like the current war profiteers who are friends of the people in power. The system needs defending in ways other than military, as surprising as that may seem to you. Our social structure is chaotic; every year 5 million people drop out of school. If they do not re-enter the educational system, we’ll have another 40 or 50 million people without the basic education to function in an increasingly complex world within a decade, on top of the same amount now in that situation. You do the math.

People must be provided proper education, health care and dignified employment solutions to function in a democracy, in an ever more complex world, as your vitriolic rants and accusations often prove.

Your hypocrisy does make you competent to discuss the topic. If my sources were those you listed, I’d be unable to even participate in this forum. My historical illiteracy is accompanied by two university degrees and over half a century of experiences.

So, I serve my country and its people every day with everything I do to try to make a better world, without ever feeling compelled to fire a weapon.

Here is the link to the Brzezinsky article. If you can’t speak French, find a translator, since you can’t seem to accept the English translations I have cited. http://archives.nouvelobs.com/recherche/article.cfm?id=87487&mot=&mm=01&mm2=12&aa=2002&n_mag=8&num=1732

Do some research - you’ll learn history. If you don’t like this link, (it is French- no doubt that is disqualification enough for you- never mind what Brzezinski said) and since you’ve proven you can read, go to the library and checkout Gates’s book. I’m sure if you can use the book’s index that you’ll quickly find the comment there too. Then, get back to us cowardly historians with your findings.

You asked your interlocutor a number of rhetorical questions about his or here knowledge of Cuba. I’ll put like questions to you.

Have you ever been to Cuba, Mr Heuisler, (other than to shoot at it) either before or after the revolution? Have you ever lived there? Have you ever written a dissertation on Cuba and the revolution? Have you ever lived under any dictatorship? What qualifies you to speak about Cuba’s social conditions other than rants with your war mates?
Have you ever spoken to Cubans who have actually stayed in their country and worked to make it a better place?

Writhing in poverty? Get real. Go to a Brazilian slum, a Nicaraguan or Salvadorian peasant village and talk to us or your interlocutor in this message about writhing in poverty. It is not just Marxism that has dropped Cuba to the level of debt you mention, assuming it true. There has been a US embargo that has crippled the nation. How?

Well, if you had studied Cuban history, you’d know that by 1959, Cuba’s dependence on the US was such that the entire infrastructure was US made; from each water tap, to light switch, wall plug, fire hydrant, electric generator, street light, traffic lights, nearly every car, lorry, tractor, the air conditioners, cash registers, and so on to the largest items, railway stock, water treatment facilities, sewerage, etc.

Once US spare parts were cut off, things could not be repaired. They had to be substituted at great cost. It’s not all black and white, Mr Heuisler, because, as usual, you don’t read various opinions. Yours are filtered from the right of Attila the Hun.

No one denies that Castro runs a dictatorship and uses cruel means to maintain the revolution he believes in. No one here has said, to my knowledge, that they support the tyrant. People just seem to see more there than you do. Why might that be?

However, I have noted that you seem to have a predilection for certain barbarous tyrants (for example Zomoza) whilst others are vilified (Castro). That, sir, makes you an expert on hypocrisy, as I mentioned earlier. If they are fascist and favour capitalism and US deals, they are cool with you. If not, they are bad.

People are chattel to the oligarchs and the poisonous, crippling capitalist system all over Latin America today. Go to Paraguay, Bolivia or Venezuela. If my choice were a subsistence diet and health care with schooling for my children or rampart capitalism with lives of crime, poverty, no health care or schooling, as in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru etc. I’d take the former.

The gusanos you so love are the educated and wealthy people who left their nation in the lurch when it most needed them rather than sand and fight for what they supposedly believed in within their own nation, as Fidel did. They went to the US and have since tried to have the US fight their war by proxy while accumulating wealth to lobby and influence the likes of the Bush clan.

They deprived the nation that educated them of the doctors, mechanical, electric, petroleum, construction, road and railway engineers, sugar mill operators and trained mill staff, nurses, architects, veterinarians, etc. Real patriots, right? It is another contributing factor to Cuba’s Marxist failure. But you only see Red.

Finally, I leave you with a quote to apply to yourself, you’ll recognise it as its’ yours. “Reflexive descent to insult is an admission of shortcomings”.


Bill Heuisler - 11/1/2003

Gus and other Chomsky acolytes,
This article is about Cuba. You want to argue about Libya or China or Nicaragua or Cambodia or some other country then write an article. Stop avoiding Chomsky's article with all your sour sanctimony and studied duplicity. Stop excusing Fidel Castro.

Do you have anything to say about Fidel Castro, the Communist dictator of Cuba who imprisons or executes dissidents and who puts homosexuals in concentration camps? Guess not.

It says a lot that so many Lefties in this disagreement think insults replace facts. Amazing how they find excuses for a murderer because he's a Communist and supposedly means well. Pathetic isn't it how these hypocrites castigate President Bush for supposedly lying, but can't find it in their bleeding hearts to even admit the economic and cultural degradation in Cuba, or address the Isle of Pines political death camp, the executed petition carriers or the thousands of homosexuals dying in the mountains without any health care at all. Everyone should read Armando Valladares' "Against All Hope" and then every dogmatic, hypocritical, Lefty who defends Fidel Castro should hang his head in shame.

But they won't. They'll just call people names and feel smug.
Bill Heuisler




Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

One question Mr Heuisler, you authoritatively cite AI reports on Cuba. Do you accept them for other staes as well, with equal vehemence and clarity? Or is it just for the dictatorships you despise that these reports have value? Ooops, sorry. Two queries.


Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Mr Heuisler’s opening remark to Mr Perkins sound like an autobiographical description of his tactics with others on this site by just exchanging a few events and ideologies.
“So now disagreement is sabotage. Discussion is running amok and participating in Operation Mongoose is compared to MyLai. Any conservative commentary is a "flaw at HNN" to the Left. Typical. Can't argue? Try to silence the opposition”.

His closing remark:
“My anti-Communist experiences are a little slice of history.
And this is a History site. Life's a bitch”.

Well, yes the operations you describe sir are indeed a part of history. So are Nazi death camps, Batista murders of opposition members, and Zomoza’s brutality with the peasants and opposition. Pol Pot’s genocide and Pinochet’s death marches and disappearances are all part of history as well.

As with your terrorist activities and the samples above, having happened and having had your hand in them does not make them right. Minor detail.


Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Well, linguists and philosophers happen to study history, economics, political sciences, social behaviour, you know, some of what one might have missed at school.

One oughtn't be so quick to shred people for what they believe. What they say and do is what we must deal with. Agree or disagree, but with the facts.

If Hitler had said the world was round, would the source have made the fact a lie?


Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Mr Heuisler has commented:
“Make all the effort you want to understand Castro. Then try to make a little effort to understand our own President Bush. Got a problem with that? Your desire to see the full extent of every side of everything must paralyse all reaction to everything. You'd have real problems as a cop”.

Perhaps understanding all sides of an issue is actually good for determining policy. Mr Heuisler would never know that, of course. There is only one side of an issue, his.

Mr Bush is understood perfectly. He needs the votes of the exiled Cubans and would prefer policies that please them to the policies that may serve best the Cuban people in Cuba and alleviate their plight, or might best assist a transition to a better life for the vast majority of the 11,000,000 Cubans, not 900,000 exiles.

No one has any trouble understanding Bush. It’s just that we often disagree with his retro policies, ideology and methods.

By the way, what does being a cop have to do with the price of coffee beans or the article?


Jerry West - 11/1/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

You wrote, "Freedom is not the real issue here for those who oppose Castro." Tell that to Elian Gonzales' mother and all the other Cubans who gave their lives to escape Communism. They died while trying to achieve freedom in the United States; simple and profound, but definitely an issue for them.

JW:

By "those who oppose Castro" I was referring to those who push this issue in the US who are not Cubans. Perhaps I should have phrased it better. The Cubans, no doubt, have a wide variety of reasons for moving on, and no doubt some times freedom is one of them. People also leave the US for some of the same reasons. Admittedly that is easier to do.

I seem to recall others escaping repressive regimes to find freedom in the US, from Guatamala, El Salvador and other places, and the US sent them back. Some commitment to freedom, so I question whether freedom is the real issue. It makes good 30 second sound bites though. :)

Also I recall people like Idi Amin fleeing Uganda to find freedom in Saudi Arabia, and I don't even remember where Baby Doc went for his freedom. How many of the Cubans in Miami might fit into a similar picture?

Perhaps they are coming to the US purely for economic reasons, hordes of Mexicans do, yet I hear very little objection from the champions of the Cubans when the Mexicans are rounded up and sent home. Maybe there are different degrees of freedom depending on how convenient your case is to certain interest groups.

BH:

You'd have real problems as a cop.

JW:

Never did have any, at least as you are intimating. In fact looking at all sides of an issue often leads to a better resolution of the problem.

BH:

And he who is without sin? Hell, if we waited for that nobody would ever throw stones. Or the stone-throwers would be liars.

JW:

Exactly! :)


Bill Heuisler - 11/1/2003

Mr. West,
You wrote, "Freedom is not the real issue here for those who oppose Castro." Tell that to Elian Gonzales' mother and all the other Cubans who gave their lives to escape Communism. They died while trying to achieve freedom in the United States; simple and profound, but definitely an issue for them.

Make all the effort you want to understand Castro. Then try to make a little effort to understand our own President Bush. Got a problem with that? Your desire to see the full extent of every side of everything must paralyse all reaction to everything. You'd have real problems as a cop.

And he who is without sin? Hell, if we waited for that nobody would ever throw stones. Or the stone-throwers would be liars.
Bill Heuisler


Jerry West - 11/1/2003

-
Well Bill, I am glad to see that you have faith in Amnesty International. Perhaps we should discuss many of their other reports on countries that are not Communist. Perhaps you would agree with me that we should oppose all of those too.

What you mistake for my rosy assessment is in fact my not rabidly hostile one, a major difference. I don't condone abuses of human rights, and I particularly object to executing people. Perhaps you will join me in opposing this barbaric practice of judicial murder no matter what country engages in it?

The fact that I do not condone these abuses does not mean that I blinker myself not to see the bigger picture and try to develop some understanding for why people and governments do things. Knowing why is often the first best step in making changes. You may not think so, but there are more than one side to the Cuban or any situation.

You said: "Then you haul out the old moral equivalency excuse."

But it is not an excuse. Calling it an excuse is a dodge to avoid responsibilty for one's own actions. Fault does not adhere to only one side in most issues, and as I recall a person of great respect once instructed us the it is he who is without sin that should toss the first stone. Do you suppose those who oppose Castro are without sin? Perhaps the world would be a better place if the Mafia still ran Cuba?

Without morals we sink into the ends justifies the means. I am not willing to accept that. Others may.

Then you say: "We live in freedom, Mr. West, the Cubans do not."

Yes, but it is relative for both of us. And, too many times have I seen this argument used in the name of security, national interest, or even freedom to justify acts that took away a people's freedom rather than enhance it. Freedom is not the real issue here for those who oppose Castro.

You said: "Castro is a Communist dictator", and this hits the heart of the issue. Communist is the key word of course, not dictator. Heaven knows we have enabled, created, supported and otherwise abetted brutal dictators in the name of anti-communism. Freedom has had nothing to do with it.

Castro's infringement on human rights are only a tool, not an issue for most who oppose him. And some would argue that while human rights have been restricted in one area they have been expanded in others. I may not necessarily agree with the trade offs but I think that it is important to make an effort to understand them.



Bill Heuisler - 11/1/2003

Mr. Erickson,
Basis for accusing? Relevance of questions? Pardon me if I've offended your tender sensibilities or run afoul of Geoff's Rules of disputation, but this person compared me to Calley and compared Mongoose to MyLai. Didn't you notice? Maybe not.

For your benefit, I'll repeat myself. Mongoose was considered in national interest by two presidents and many elected politicians from both parties; Mr. Phillips mentioned his playmates during the intentionally insulting diatribe about Calley.

Mr. Phillips said: "There is no mechanism, for example, by which Lt Calley could not post 20 comments a week here denouncing “Marxist academics” or opponents of the Iraq War as evil “communists” and belittling the ideas of those who disagree with him, if they had not “served” as he did at My Lai."

Phillips just can't argue issues so he tries to insult. That's okay, calling people murderers and terrorists seems to be the way many Leftists discuss issues. But Phillips brought up the Marxist academics, remember? Perhaps self conscious about his friends - birds of a feather etc.? In any case, next time before bringing up pointless irrelevancies read the dialogue first. Concentrate on the central issues. Voila. You'll notice we are after all talking about Communist dictators and their allies in American Colleges. Pay attention, eventually you'll get it.
Bill Heuisler





Geoff Ericson - 10/31/2003


What is the basis for accusing Mr. Phillips of having "Marxist academic friends" ? Because he disagrees with Bill Heuisler ?
And what is the relevance of anyone's "academic friends" to the question of whether Operation Mongoose was a justifiable action in the national interests of the United States ?


Bill Heuisler - 10/31/2003

Mr. West,
Corresponding with you is like communicating with Mars. We evidently have nothing in common except having served in the Marine Corps.

You wrote:
"...after listing all of the alleged horrors of Cuba's past."
Alleged? Did Amnesty International lie? Did Valladares lie?
And we're not talking about the past. Those concentration camps are killing people as I write. Castro is a Communist dictator. His health care involves imprisoning homosexuals as AIDS risks.
Address this issue just once in your rosy assessment of Cuba.

Then you haul out the old moral equivalency excuse.
"I look upon both the Cuban horrors and our own as crimes still waiting to be prosecuted."
We live in freedom, Mr. West, the Cubans do not. Try writing your critical commentary in Havana.
Freedom, Mr. West, is the enormous difference.
Bill Heuisler


Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Mr West is tenacious and patient. Hats off.


Jerry West - 10/31/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

Explain why it's worth your time to defend a murderous tyrant who kills dissidents you describe as:
"...much like we would consider any American who helped Al Qaeda"
Wrong, Mr. West. These people passed a petition to form an opposition party in Cuba. That's all they did.

JW:

You should read my entire statement. Upon doing so you will note that I objected to the killing of dissidents. I would objected to the killing of them if they were caught red handed blowing up the presidential palace or whatever.

Castro has his reasons for what he did. Do we know all of them? When the shoe is on the other foot those who oppose Castro certainly seem to have no qualms about using some of his same tactics to deal with their opposition. How would an American fare in New York passing a petition to help Al Qaeda? Probably better than in Cuba if the law intervened first, but I bet many would demand extreme punishment. And who is to say that passing a petition in Cuba wasn't providing assistance to a similar threat to the Cuban state?

I disagree with what the Cubans did in this instance, but I also understand that some of the most strident opposition to Cuba comes from people who have no qualms about supporting the same kind of things committed by other regimes. This hypocrisy is what bothers me most.

BH:

These people you know are breaking US law prima facie, and their testimony that it's "no horror story" in Cuba sounds terribly apologetic. Aren't you a little ashamed repeating this travesty?

JW:

What travesty? These people are not subject to US law for one, and have no reason to apologize for Cuba or anyone else on for another. Now if you want to talk about people breaking US law, perhaps we could bring up Ollie North and his fellow drug dealers again.

BH:

Climb out of the past. Stop defending Castro by pointing out the horrors of the past century.

JW:

Well, at least you acknowledge the US policy is responsible for many horrors. That would of course include the crimes of Samoza and a whole raft of brutal dictators and fascists that we have supported to keep the world profitable for Coca-Cola, United Fruit, various mining companies and so on.

Too bad it is still happening today. And if our past crimes are not revelant, why are Castro's?

BH:

We have a horror 90 miles from Key West and people like you give him solace and encouragement by minimizing his crimes.

JW:

It may be more of a horror in your mind these days than in reality. Or is it the alleged horror at Gitmo you are referring to? Perhaps instead of defending the Mafia in Cuba our policy should have been more cooperative. It may have removed the whole issue of Russian influence there.

BH:

Could it be because you think (like others on this stream) that the end justifies the means? What end justifies executing dissidents? Communism?

JW:

I had to take a laugh break when reading the above statement. How many times have I heard brutal so called anti-communist actions described as necessary, though regretable. Mothers and babies had to die to keep those terrible socialists from whatever. The end justifies the means is SOP for that wing of the political spectrum now featuring GWB as its dancing monkey.

How many times have I listened to people tell me that "you just don't know what is going on (meaning it is so secret no one should know outside a select circle), these killings and drug smuggling and such are really necessary to defend our country."

I don't buy it. Such thinking and action compromises our principles and destroys our moral authority.

BH:

Like I suggested before, listing the wrongs of the past doesn't
persuade anyone of anything.

JW:

Strange that you should say that after listing all of the alleged horrors of Cuba's past.

I look upon both the Cuban horrors and our own as crimes still waiting to be prosecuted.

BH:

Terrorism? Actions described were against military targets and authorized by two Presidents and their cabinets:

JW:

Presidential order, no less than orders of any other leader, a certain German comes to mind, do not extinguish the posibility of an act being terrorism or a crime. Check Nuremburg.

Exactly when was the declaration of war against Cuba anyhow?

BH:

My anti-Communist experiences are a little slice of history.

JW:

Mine too, and few other experiences to boot. :)


Bill Heuisler - 10/31/2003

Derek,
You're right. My reflexive "dole" comments probably come from an animus toward academics who hold otherworldly convictions about my country that obviously come from the isolation of Academe and not from experience in the real world.

That's twice you've been right in the past year. Travel's good for you.
Best, Bill


Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

An epiphany. Mr Heuisler has seen the evil of cruel dictators and regrets his past support for cruel Somoza. Now, like any born again Chrsitian (or anything else), he's on a fervent crusade to get evil dictators, having seen the light.

Ok, get the ones in Azerbaijan, Takikistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, etc. Treat them all the same, then I'll say Castro is fair game, not till then.


Bill Heuisler - 10/31/2003

Mr. Perkins,
Sorry. My comments were obviously addressed to Edward Phillips.
This running amok has tired me out.
Bill Heuisler


Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Good comments Mr West.


Bill Heuisler - 10/31/2003

Mr. Perkins,
So now disagreement is sabotage. Discussion is running amok and participating in Operation Mongoose is compared to MyLai. Any conservative commentary is a "flaw at HNN" to the Left. Typical. Can't argue? Try to silence the opposition.

Don't like my version of history? Then don't read it. The reason you know enough about me to comment is that I've described anti-Communist operations carried out in the Sixties after it was evident Fidel Castro was cooperating with the Soviet Union.

Terrorism? Actions described were against military targets and authorized by two Presidents and their cabinets:

Mar. 17, 1960 - President Eisenhower signed National Security Council directive authorizing anti-Castro action by CIA and others. It was called Operation 40.

Nov. 30, 1961 - President Kennedy Authorizes Operation Mongoose directed by Edward Lansdale under the guidance of AG, Robert Kennedy and under a high level inter-agency group, Special Group Augmented (SGA). The JFK memo to Rusk orders him to "Use our available assets to help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime."

Jan. 19, 1962 A meeting of the SGA held in RFK's office putting Wm. Harvey in charge of Task Force W, that eventually involved more than 400 Americans, 2000 Cubans a private Navy and a budget of more than $50 Million, under control of the Miami CIA office.

I was one of those Americans, recruited from Quantico's Enlisted Instructors because of my demolitions expertise. It's too damned bad you can't handle, "Heuislers...run amok trashing common sense and history...". You apparently can't handle the truth.

My opinion? You don't like my denouncing your Marxist academic friends and since you can't refute me, you want to silence me.
My anti-Communist experiences are a little slice of history.
And this is a History site. Life's a bitch.
Bill Heuisler



Gus Moner - 10/31/2003


Mr. Heuisler,

All your data on Cuba are facts fed you by the exiled oligarchs. Did you ever live there? Did you experience the countryside poverty and serfdom?
Your perennial attempts to discredit arguments by attacking people simply do not work.
I’ve just been told to add to my list of unanswered questions that you believe claims that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, or that the June 1967 Mid East war happened because Israel was “invaded”.

Tsk Tsk,sir. You must catch up on your reading. Also, please start supplying data to back up your claims.
Bye for now.


Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

OK, thanks, I'll add them on my next post. Mr heuisler is living in the past, a not uncommon situation for old warriors. Once in a while he actually hits on one, so.....

He's not the only nuisance.


Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Mr Heusisler,
Your personal attacks are reasonable and consistent. However, you fail to address either my points or the points in the article.

I still think jumping on a boat and attacking another nation, violating US law, is wrong. It is piracy or terrorism or both. I asked you why Castro was worse than Pinochet or your pal in Nicaragua and got no reply. Case closed? Are brutality and deaths by fascist bullets OK, Castro’s brand not good?

Your E Timor story has changed; before it was the US that saved them. You still have yet to provide evidentiary proof the US did not start the war 6 months before the USSR invaded, as the CIA Director and the NSC Advisor to the President have stated. So, I await some facts. Meanwhile, let the vitriol run.


Derek Catsam - 10/31/2003

So what does what happened to Israel in 1967 have to do with any of this? And why conflate it with these other points? I am certainly willing to say that in fighting an evil regime one can nonetheless commit unjust acts, wrong acts, terrorist acts. But why conflate these other things except as an attempt to score cheap points. One can support Israel and oppose US policy in Cuba. One can support Israel and believe CO2 is a greenhouse gas. One can support Israel and believe that the defeat of Pickering is a good thing for America. So on an article and series of opinion posts about American policy in Cuba and whether or not it was terrorism, what on earth does Israel have to do with it, unless you are saying support if Israel is a litmus test for all sorts of issues. And if you are saying that, you are being silly.

In 1967 after Nasser said he would drive the Jews to the Sea and wipe Israel off the face of the planet, troops started amassing at the Israeli border. These are facts not in dispute. Did Israel technically strike first? I suppose so, though generally speaking announcing that you are going to wipe an entire people off the planet and then amassing troops is seen as a hostile act. I see it as one, anyway. But I imagine you must be consistent -- you are equally condemnatory of the first strike against Israel in 1973, yes? Or of the current jihad, declared as a consequence of Sharon's (ill conceived but witjhin his rights) visit to Temple Mount and waged against Israeli citizens?


Bill Heuisler - 10/31/2003

Mr. West,
We've had this discussion. Explain why it's worth your time to defend a murderous tyrant who kills dissidents you describe as:
"...much like we would consider any American who helped Al Qaeda"
Wrong, Mr. West. These people passed a petition to form an opposition party in Cuba. That's all they did.

These people you know are breaking US law prima facie, and their testimony that it's "no horror story" in Cuba sounds terribly apologetic. Aren't you a little ashamed repeating this travesty?
Climb out of the past. Stop defending Castro by pointing out the horrors of the past century. We have a horror 90 miles from Key West and people like you give him solace and encouragement by minimizing his crimes. Why do you bother? Could it be because you think (like others on this stream) that the end justifies the means? What end justifies executing dissidents? Communism?
Read Armando Valladares' "Against All Hope" and tell me there's no horror story in Cuba.

Like I suggested before, listing the wrongs of the past doesn't
persuade anyone of anything. Do you have anything useful to say about the present? Or do you enjoy making excuses for evil?
Bill Heuisler


Derek Catsam - 10/31/2003

Bill --
I don't have a dog in this fight, but how on earth is someone with a job at a public university on the public dole? You raise this point all the time for those of us who work at public institutions when you want to add a little smear to your sometimes legitimate actual points. Never mind the fact that most public universities only earn 40-50% of their revenues from tax money. It's utterly irrelevant to the discussion. And it's wrong -- unless you know that Mr. Beres is not on a contract of legal standing, that he does not show up for work and earn his pay, that he is not qualified to do his job. You should be above this, but you certainly should be called out on it. Plus, it seems to me that when you open that can of worms, all it does is legitimize any dumbass criticism of you for spending a decade or so in the military that, to my knowledge, was never private. I respect what you do even when i think you say things that are wrong. Why can't you show someone similar respect even when their points are invalid (and I think Mr. Beres' point was irredeemably silly).
dc


Edward Phillips - 10/30/2003

I wonder which search engine HNN used to dredge up this bit of Chomskyania ? Nevertheless, whatever the ulterior motives, it has served to unmask one of most prolific and rudest posters on HNN. It was probably not Bill Heuisler's personal choice to be part of the Cuban dirty tricks campaign of the late ‘50s / early ‘60s, but he has certainly personally chosen to sabotage discussion after discussion at HNN, frequently bragging about his military service while being very coy about what that record really entailed.

It may not be quite accurate to call the "Mongoose" operation "terrorism", because, though it certainly employed terrorist tactics, the purpose seems to have been to destabilize the Cuban regime, not to strike terror into the Cuban populace. And if Castro was a “legitimate "national leader (Perkins) than so was Marcos, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and Parks of Korea (i.e. Castro is not and never was “legitimate”).Nonetheless, that hardly makes blowing up civilian airlines and fishing boats the stuff of honorable combat.

The flaws at HNN that encourage Heuislers to run amok trashing common sense and history are inherent. There is no mechanism, for example, by which Lt Calley could not post 20 comments a week here denouncing “Marxist academics” or opponents of the Iraq War as evil “communists” and belittling the ideas of those who disagree with him, if they had not “served” as he did at My Lai.

Meanwhile, Gus Moner, to your list of Heuislerian evasions, you can add his lack of support for his claims that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, or that the June 1967 Mideast war happened because Israel was “invaded”.


Jerry West - 10/30/2003

-
Bill Heuisler wrote:

....but opened your heart to concentration camps, Communism and the systematic murder of dissidents?

JW:

Golly, it sounds like a discription of US supported regimes in Chile, El Salvador, Guatamala, Argentina, Spain, Uzbekistan, etc., etc., etc. and etc. Just remove the word Communism and insert Fascism or something similar.

Makes one wonder if concentration camps, terrorism, torture and murder are the real objection here, or only when they are linked to other more benign issues that would be hard to argue so vehemently against with these charges.

Terror and murder are wrong, whether it is done by Castro, Samoza, Mao or Pinochet. Death squads are an abomination, though the US has a record of supporting them selectively and even training and supplying brutal regimes to enhance their skills in doing such things. We even provide a haven for known terrorists in Miami.

Perhaps if we focused more on ending terror and murder and gave up on forcing sovereign states to follow one economic path or another, we would not have near as many problems in the world today.

As far as Cuba goes, I know a number of people who have been there and some who go there to train workers in Cuban industry. The message tht I get is that it may not be nirvana, but it is no horror story either.

As for the recent execution of what the Cuban state would consider traitors, much like we would consider any American who helped Al Qaeda, that execution was wrong. But all executions are wrong and they should be opposed on that point. Truly civilized nations do not execute people, ever, period.


Bill Heuisler - 10/30/2003

Mr. Beres,
Thanks for a fact-filled, informative post. Kennedy a terrorist? Bush a terrorist? But Castro's a victim. All those years on the public dole as Sports info Director at U Oregon have soured you on the United States, but opened your heart to concentration camps, Communism and the systematic murder of dissidents?

Truth in advertising would be nice. Aren't you the guy who gave Barbara Lee the Wayne Morse Integrity in Government award? Sure.
Barbara Lee's traveled to Cuba more times than she's visited Fisherman's Wharf. She thinks Fidel Castro's a great leader.
Babs was a speaker at the International March for Peace in San Francisco on Jan. 18. Speakers included Rep. Lee, ILWU Local 10 Rep. Trent Willis of U.S. Labor Against War and Richard Becker of International ANSWER. ANSWER? Isn't that the WWP creation?

Lee helped hand Elian Gonzales back to Communism, shares a dais with Communists and loves Fidel. But all her freedom to complain (and yours) evidently isn't good enough for the Cuban people.
Integrity? Along with opinions, why not explain your duplicity?
Bill Heuisler


Garry Perkins - 10/30/2003

Gus Moner was correct in recognizing that Cuba is by far the least authoritarian of all communist regimes. No one could reasonably call that country totalitarian. Yes, people have been killed for criticizing their regime. Yet, most people are not terrified. They just keep their mouths shut. Cuba had no great cultural revolution. They had no campaigns to wipe out darker-skinned Cubans. They had no execution quotas of saboteurs or imperialist running dogs. Compared with the PRC, Cambodia, Vietnam, or the DPRK, Cuba looks like Switzerland.

Furthermore, you cannot deny that Castro milked the Russians better than anyone could have imagined. For thirty years Cuba sent a hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sugar and tobacco to the Eastern Block, and got billions worth of oil and manufactured products in return. The products might have been of poor quality (people would rather drive a 20 year-old Chevy than a new Trabi), but they were still better than anything Mao, Ho, or Pol Pot could get their hands on. Cubans got a pretty good deal until the USSR collapsed. Castro never could have milked the US like that. Recognizing Castro's achievements does not make one an apologist. It just makes one unbiased.

Castro is a legitimate national leader. US-sponsored actions against him in the early 1960s were not in keeping with our ideals (though an embargo is easily justifiable and legal). The world would have saved tens of millions of lives if Mao, Ho, and Pol Pot gave more four-hour speeches instead of massacring ethnic minorities and internal enemies. Then again, perhaps Castro had to behave better. No other leader had his enemies so close and well-funded.


george beres - 10/30/2003

The Chomsky commentary on the U.S. terrorizing Cuba demonstrates that while the current George Bush may be the worst of U.S. "terrorist" presidents, he had earlier company. Attempts of some respondents to discredit Chomsky merely reinforce the validity of his points. However we might choose to wave our flag, the most impressive achievement of the 20th century in the Western Hemisphere is Castro's success in surviving and frustrating the arrogant monolith 90 miles off his shores. - G. Beres


Herodotus - 10/30/2003

True, but Chomsky's article seems to be little more than a string of quotations from books. There's no there there.


Bill Heuisler - 10/30/2003

Gus,
You've used many insults, racist to whatever, but terrorist? Gus, I proudly served my country from January 1958 to July 1967. Have you ever served the United States in any fashion at all?

Addressing Chomsky by exposing his hypocrisy is acceptable in debate or discussion - I've been doing it to you for months.
You need better sources than Counterpunch, Nation and LaRouche because your historic illiteracy is pitiful and laughable.
Jimmy Carter didn't start the Afgan War; the Australians did save E. Timor and French victories are fewer than UN successes. Employ the truth and maybe you won't have to resort to insults.

As to Castro, you wrote:
"...Cubans have a much more dignified existence. Perhaps they cannot shout Down With Castro, but they can send their kids to school and get better medical care, for example."

Dignified? Does freedom mean anything to you? Have you noticed the executions of dissenters, prison camps, the streams of refugees? Is Leftist Truth an oxymoron? Certainly looks like it.
Because, as usual, your information has been filtered through Leftist sources. Have you ever been in Cuba, before or after Castro? Have you spoken with a Cuban refugee? Had you done proper research you would find that most Cubans writhe in poverty, their children are raised in Socialist ignorance and they must import food to maintain a subsistance-level diet. What once was the economic dynamo of the Caribbean has fallen to the trade and credit level of Haiti. Dignity? Only to a Marxist.

Before exhibiting further ignorance, read Tad Szulc, Jacobo Timerman, Peter Wyden and Armando Valladares. Left to Right they all admit Communist dictator, Fidel Castro is (or has become) a murderous tyrant and the Cuban people slaves and chattel to the poisonous Communist Dream.

Terrorists target civilians the way Castro has targeted Gusanos over the last forty years. My targets were always military.
Reflexive descent to insult is an admission of shortcomings.


Gus Moner - 10/29/2003

Well this article by this author was bound to bring out the werewolves in pack. I claim my place in the wolf pack.

Clearly the thrust of the article and reality on the ground make the unarguable point that government assassinations are a form of terror. For example, if someone ideologically motivated killed a leader, it would be called an act of terror.

An assassination was the case that started WWI, and led to the implementation of the infamous Schlieffen Plan that many of us debated recently. Political assassins have been dubbed terrorists in most of the ‘western’ world for the better part of a century and a half, yet seldom, if ever, has an assassination in the US been treated as a terrorist act, but rather a politically motivated crime.

Northern Alliance leader Massoud’s assassination preceded 9/11 by a mere 2 days and may have been linked. Why? It may have been the US attempts to enter Afghanistan from Pakistan in the preceding dates to 9/11 that convinced al Qaeda to proceed just then with the hijackings and terror. In truth, though, they’d have selected another date in any event. Still, they would have wanted to secure their home base, Taliban Afghanistan. Al Qaeda leaders were feeling threatened by possible US incursions, Pakistan was rife with rumours to the effect.

I am nevertheless always amazed at the level of vitriolic personal attacks at this man, and the refusal to debate his points, some of which are reasonable or right yet because he says them, they become blanket lie. Castro has done many of the awful deeds attributed to him, and has also induced many of the changes that led to improvements in certain aspects of the majority of Cubans lives. In comparison to how most Guatemalan and other Latin American people live, Cubans have a much more dignified existence. Perhaps they cannot shout Down With Castro, but they can send their kids to school and get better medical care, for example.

I am not defending Castro, but just as Chile’s mass murderer Pinochet committed crimes against humanity, he also helped lead Chile to a level of economic development above that of its neighbours. Castro has done a lot for the vast majority of Cubans in terms of basic care. One ought to recognise not just what one agrees with.

Mr Heuisler seems to think himself an expert on Cuba because he was a terrorist assistant to these Cuban terrorist organisations in exile that proliferated with CIA money after Batista was overthrown. He’s only got a slanted part of the history of Cuba from his terrorist pals. The rest of Cuba's pre-Castro reality he chooses to dismiss.

Why can some dictators like his pal in Nicaragua be cool as fresh snow and others he dislikes be so disgusting? Apologia for some tyrants, not for a tyrant. Some tyrants are just better, eh? Their dead and disappeared hurt their families less, do they?

Relax; I don’t expect an answer, Mr Heuisler. I haven’t got one on your refusal of the fact that the US starting the Afghan War, on East Timor being a UN operation or on the French, victories and the Schlieffen Plan.


Jesse Lamovsky - 10/29/2003

Mr. Perkins,

I don't particularly care about gay men serving- they're still men, they still have the strength and stamina of men. Women, however, don't belong anywhere near a battlefield, and it's a travesty that men believe they do.


Garry Perkins - 10/29/2003

I find it deeply disturbing that you, Dave Livingston, would feel more comfortable in fox hole with Noam Chomsky than with a patriotic American who does not conform your gendered view of what a soldier should be. Women are performing bravely in Iraq and Afganistan. Gay men should have the right to join them in the struggle.

Creepy college kids should stay put. Their drug-induced rampages in Vietnam did not help anyone. The last thing we need in Iraq right now are a bunch of high GIs raping and pillaging. Visit a frat party at a local college near you. "The fair sex and queers" can do a lot better.


Dave Livingston - 10/29/2003

Editor: THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED. IT DOES NOT MEET HNN'S STANDARDS OF CIVIL DEBATE AS OUTLINED HERE:

http://hnn.us/articles/982.html#civil


Michael Meo - 10/29/2003

Mr Imm,

Is Mr Chomsky a violent anarchist? If not, is there not a long tradition of freedom of enquiry in academic circles?

Are we engaged in a life-and-death struggle to extirpate everyone who denies the legitimacy of the present government? --Or are you in favor of freedom of speech for everyone, except those with whom you disagree?


Garry Perkins - 10/28/2003

Some plumbers know a lot about Latin American history. So do some philosophers and electricians. One need not write a doctoral dissertation on a subject to give an educated opinion. Even dead Greek guys sometimes have something worthwhile to say.


Garry Perkins - 10/28/2003

Could someone please educate me on this argument? If the US oppresses the world through economic domination, when it is not using the traditional military kind, how is a unilateral trade embargo wrong (or even illegal)? What country has an obligation to buy or sell to another? How is it possible for the US to oppress Chinese with McDonalds, yet oppress the Cubans for not selling them Prozac? Havana would lose its vacation appeal if Cubans were allowed to buy anything they liked from the US. Prof. Chomsky need only visit any country in Asia (save Myanmar and the DPRK) to see how quickly cultures can absorb all of the worst qualities of American suburbia.

As of now Cubans can buy anything they want from China, Mexico, or any other place. Do they really need American products? As we have all read, non-US drugs are cheaper. China makes volumes of them without charging any brand or development costs. The only products one must buy from the US involve military technology or branded products. We should stop selling the former all together. What use would a Communist country have for the latter? Does Fidel need a new Caddy? Are the Cuban masses tired of Chinese knock-offs? Do they demand real Nikes and Coca Cola?

Furthermore, why must the US provide aid to Carribbean countries? Why don't we just leave them alone? Would that not be a universally welcomed proposition? Does Latin America need our soldiers and our aid? Neither have done too much over the years. Neglect could do no worse. Can we all can agree that the world would be a better place if we kept our troops and our money safely in the US?

Prof. Chomsky appears to contradict himself. The US is evil for its actions abroad, and it is evil for its inaction abroad. Well then, what should the US do? I have never read a policy suggestion from Prof. Chomsky. From his criticism it appears that any policy is wrong. Please Professor, tell us what policies would be moral? What should JFK or LBJ have done?

What should President Bush do now?


Jeffrey Imm - 10/28/2003

Many of these articles fail to point to, or even address, Noam Chomsky's role as an Anarchist who has sought the destruction of the United States of America government. I think it is only fair to readers, and also important to Virginia and Federal taxpayers, who support George Mason University, that they know of Noam Chomsky's anarchist beliefs. This provides very important context that would otherwise be lacking. I do hope that the people of Virginia realize the time and money spent by George Mason University in advertising and disseminating the views of an archist.


Bill Heuisler - 10/28/2003

Chomsky is a hypocrite avoiding the truth; he has to hide truth or his whole sorry life becomes a horrible contrivance for evil. Reading the Chomsky article, an alien from outer space would believe Fidel Castro was the Twentieth Century Christ and the Cuban people his disciples. But Castro is a murdering tyrant.
Amnesty International says so. Cuban refugees say so. I say so.

Noam Chomsky never once mentioned that Cuba has had more political prisoners per capita than any other country except possibly Communist China for the past forty years. Noam never mentioned the protestors shot, the homosexual concentration camps in the Sierra Maestra that give lie to his claim about the wonderful Cuban health care system. Sure, get sick, go to prison camp. Belong to a vulnerable sub-group, go to prison camp. Disagree? Prison. Get sick in prison? Mass graves or dumped in the Golfo de Batabano. They say sharks are happy off the Isla De La Juventad. But Chomsky's worried about Lodge and Kennedy.

My experience is unusual. I was part of Chomsky's story, but I witnessed things Chomsky preferrs to ignore. He needs to protect a fellow Communist - to protect the sham of the Socialist State. A willy peter mortar round from the back deck of my boat began the conflagration that destroyed the Santiago de Cuba refinery and tank farm. There's a photograph over my desk of Russian troops in combat gear abandoning the freighter, Baku, in the Santaren Channel after we nearly sank her.

But next to those photos are others:
Starving prisoners after rescue from the Isle of Pines. Missile sites in Matanzas barns. Concentration camps in Pinar Del Rio and the mountains of Sierra Maestra. But the worst is the rows of Cuban refugee bodies we found on Green Key. Women, children, whole families, machine-gunned by Cuban Coast Guardsmen because they dared to flee the Communist Paradise. Three seperate occasions in eight months - over 134 civilians died on Green Key. The US Coast Guard told us there were thousands more and rumors of many, many more. You see, there are thousands of islands in the Cay Sal Bank. Fidel calls the refugees Gusanos (worms) and tells his militia and Coast Guard to kill them as a lesson to others who might want to follow. The men who fought at my side were fathers, sons, brothers of families like those we found, like those I photographed.

Castro rules through terror. You'd never know it reading Chomsky.
Bill Heuisler


Herodotus - 10/28/2003

Who is Noam Chomsky and why should we care what he has to say about anything since he's a linguist and a philosopher and not an expert in U.S.-Cuban relations?