Plus Ca Change

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Out: Sabre-rattling against Libya.
In: Sabre-rattling against Venezuela.

You have to salute the efficiency of the State department getting all of this done in one afternoon.

NEXT: Kling Kong on Health Care

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  1. 1. Suck up to Khaddaffi.

    2. Threaten Chavez.

    I say Bush goes for the threefer, and gives a speech about how “our interests and our ideals are now one and the same,” and proclaims that democratic governance is the solution to terrorism.

  2. The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela on Monday, banning all arms sales to a major oil supplier for what it believes is a lack of help in Washington’s war on terrorism, a State Department official said.

    So now we will impose sanctions on any country who we deem isn’t doing enough or helping Washington out in their perpetual WoT?

    Yeah, that sounds like a great rationale for sanctions.

  3. I always wondered what happened to Ambassador Bolton’s 2002 (?) assertion that Cuba was neck-deep in biological weapon manufacturing. Maybe it never happened and I’ve been sniffing airplane glue.

  4. Announcer: And now, “SNL Newsbreak”, with anchor Brian Doyle-Murray.

    Brian Doyle-Murray: Good evening, I’m Brian Doyle-Murray.

    Our top story tonight: This man, Libyan leader, Col. Moammar Kadaffi, has been the study of intense news coverage this week by every major news origanization in America. However, every time his name appears in print, it has a different spelling. The Chicago Tribune spells it K-H-A-D-A-F-Y; The Los Angeles Times spells it K-A-D-A-F-I; Newsweek Magazine, K-A-D-D-A-F-I; Time Magazine, G-A-D-D-A-F-I; The Wall Street Journal, Q-A-D-H-A-F-I; The Washington Post, Q-A-D-D-A-F-I; The New York Times, el-Qaddafi. My personal favorite is from the comic book publishers – Kadaffy Duck.

    Brian Doyle-Murray: How do you spell Kadaffi? Let us know. Our news research department has determined that no two people spell it alike. Send us your spelling of Kadaffi, and remember, it can’t be the same as any of these spellings you’re seeing on the screen right now. The most original spelling of the Libyan leader’s name will be awarded a one-way ticket to Tripoli – that is, if your passport allows you to go there. so, send that in, let us know how you spell Kadaffi!

  5. You know, as satisfying as sanctions feel at one level, I think that the vicious dictators of the world have figure out by now how to turn them to their own advantage.

    Instead of being held to account for the suffering of their populaces, they can always say, “Your suffering is completely due to the sanctions imposed by the imperialist running dogs of the US. If not for the sanctions, we would be prosperous and happy!”

    Time for a new tactic, I think – open up trade, wide open, and then watch the dictators’ utopias still fail, without the excuse of those rotten Americans to fall back on.

  6. Chavez is a “vicious dictator?” :O

    JMJ

  7. I know nobody likes a pedant, but Chavez is a democratically-elected populist demagogue, not an actual dictator.

  8. “The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela on Monday, banning all arms sales to a major oil supplier for what it believes is a lack of help in Washington’s war on terrorism, a State Department official said.”

    I suppose Hugo refused to torture someone for us.

  9. I know nobody likes a pedant, but Chavez is a democratically-elected populist demagogue, not an actual dictator.

    Like that matters to the people who vehemently oppose him?
    Your facts are just biased.

  10. The isssue of Chavez’s arms puraches is an interesting one. Venezuela has been buying weaponry – mostly light arms and some helicopters and old warships – from Russia, Spain, and others. The State Department and Pentagon have been complaining for years.

    I don’t think anything we do in response to Chavez is going to have any credibility, since Ambassador (now DNI) Negroponte went in front of the press and supported a coup attempt against an elected president.

  11. We could see this as progress. Maybe the State Dep’t is following a zero-sum bullying policy: if you want to rattle your sabre against a new nation you have to stop rattling it against an existing one. Now if we can just get Congress to adopt a similar policy regarding legislation. . .

  12. The best part of all of this is that we are also refusing to help Venezuela fight its own war on terror, and they have a far more credible reason to accuse us of this. We have in custody terrorist mastermind Luis Posada Carriles and refuse to send him back to the Venezuelan prison he escaped from. But hey, I guess I’m some sort of reality-based revisionist-history bitchmonkey to even bring this up.

  13. so, send that in, let us know how you spell Kadaffi!

    Comment by: mclaurin at May 15, 2006 02:18 PM”

    that was a hilarious sketch. “chicago” was one of the spellings.

    also the “students from the middle east (but not from libya” sketch was fan-fuckin’-tastic 🙂

  14. Fill in the blank:

    ____________ is a democratically-elected populist demagogue, not an actual dictator.

    Bush? Chavez? Hell, how about Castro or Hussein? One thing every caudillo has figured out is that you need at least the veneer of an election these days.

    The point being that “dictator” and “popular elected demagogue” aren’t exactly mutually exclusive categories.

    Of course, the real issue is the quality of the election. I wonder if anyone trustworthy has compared and contrasted the electoral machinery and climate in Venezuela with that of the United States.

  15. Fill in the blank:

    ____________ is a democratically-elected populist demagogue, not an actual dictator.

    Bush? Chavez? Hell, how about Castro or Hussein? One thing every caudillo has figured out is that you need at least the veneer of an election these days.

    The point being that “dictator” and “elected demagogue” aren’t exactly mutually exclusive categories.

    Of course, the real issue is the quality of the election. I wonder if anyone trustworthy has compared and contrasted the electoral machinery and climate in Venezuela with that of the United States.

  16. “The isssue of Chavez’s arms puraches is an interesting one. Venezuela has been buying weaponry – mostly light arms and some helicopters and old warships – from Russia, Spain, and others. The State Department and Pentagon have been complaining for years.”

    Indeed. I seem to recall reading more than one report of Venezuela importing hundreds of thousands of Kalashnikovs.

    I get a distinctly paranoid vibe from Chavez, like he’s literally afraid the US is going to invade.

  17. “importing hundreds of thousands of Kalashnikovs.”

    O/t: are AKs illegal in the US?

  18. “O/t: are AKs illegal in the US?”

    Actual AK’s are illegal* in the US. By which I mean any that are capable of full-auto or burst fire.

    But there are tons of legal, semi-auto Kalashnikov-pattern rifles.

    *Regulated under the National Firearms Act and the 1986 cap placed on the number of full-auto firearms that could legally be transferred to civilian owners.

  19. “I wonder if anyone trustworthy has compared and contrasted the electoral machinery and climate in Venezuela with that of the United States.”

    The Organization of American States thinks the 2004 elections in each country were good enough, for whatever that’s worth. If nothing else, Venezuelan elections are more auditable than ours; their electronic voting machines produce a voter-verifiable paper record. Now, you do Libya.

  20. joe writes: “The isssue of Chavez’s arms puraches is an interesting one. Venezuela has been buying weaponry – mostly light arms and some helicopters and old warships – from Russia, Spain, and others. The State Department and Pentagon have been complaining for years.”

    The problem there is not that he’s buying arms, but that he is not buying arms *from us*.

    Speaking of arms, I noted one interesting thing about that recent video of Zarqawi. In one report, he was described as firing an M-249. That’s US weaponry, though I believe it is manufactured by Fabrique Nationale and may be available on world markets.

    But it seems odd that he would be using an M-249 when Soviet bloc hardware is probably far cheaper and readily accessible.

    That is, unless US military hardware is being diverted to the insurgents.

  21. “The problem there is not that he’s buying arms, but that he is not buying arms *from us*.”

    Nobody buys small arms from us. AK’s are much cheaper. For all of the blathering people do about the US supplying weapons to whoever will buy them, it doesn’t change the fact that at last count AK-pattern rifles are far and away the most popular small arm of all time.

    “But it seems odd that he would be using an M-249 when Soviet bloc hardware is probably far cheaper and readily accessible.”

    By shooting an M-249 he was rubbing it in the face of the US. “I have taken one of your weapons and will now use it against you!”

    Of course, the fact that he seemed to have a lot of trouble operating the weapon doesn’t bode well for him.

  22. “thanks, MG!”

    No problem. Probably the best place to get a US-pattern Kalashnikov would be Krebs Custom or Robinson Arms. Though the guy who runs Robarm is an asshole.

  23. RC, you might have trouble distinguishing between the elections we have in the US and Venezuela, vs. the sham elections they have in Stalinist countries and Middle Eastern dictatorshhips, but I assure you, very few other people do.

    I guess holding elections doesn’t have the same kick it did on Purple Finger day anymore.

  24. Yeah, for all the kvetching about the 2000 elections the US does a pretty good job. From what I read of the last Venezuela election that one was pretty fair, although there were a lot of allegations of voter intimidation from some pro-Chavez paramilitaries (basically just thugs). Still they were nothing compared to the Husseins/Kims/Mugabes of the world.

    Chavez is being a prick, but so far he’s not really crossed any lines. He’s still treading on the legit side of the caudillo frontier.

    Of course, this also points out why I’ve always had a problem with the “America will do anything for a buck” idea, when we’re often the only country with an arms embargo against any number of countries. If we’d really do anything for a buck, wouldn’t we have been selling to Lybia?

  25. Libya has always been our ally, and we have always been at war with Venezuela.

  26. Does Godwin get a royalty every time his “law” is invoked? If so, I now declare a new law. Pro Libertate’s Law:

    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving 1984 or Orwell approaches one.

    Being an honorable man (Chorus: “So are they all, all honorable men”), I’ll only charge a license fee of U.S. $0.10 for each such invocation of my law. Unless JMJ uses it–then it’s U.S. $1,000,000,000.

  27. The law of conservation of sanctions is thus preserved.

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