We'll Always Have Mugabe

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Is anyone enjoying the Olympic torch protests more than Robert Mugabe? The first week after he lost the Zimbabwe general elections, Mugabe's thuggery and attempts at rigging the contest were international news. Then the Olympic relay hit Paris, and the Zimbabwe story slowed, and that modestly-sized hole the media has for human rights abuses got filled. Meanwhile, as Jamie Kirchick shows, Mugabe has been mounting up to wreck his country and his enemies.

"I say don't wait for dead bodies on the streets of Harare. Intervene now. There's a constitutional and legal crisis in Zimbabwe," MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti pleaded at a Monday news conference, drawing allusions to the Rwandan genocide. Though the likelihood of such a massive slaughter is slim, Biti has reason to be scared. The regime has already detained scores of opposition activists and arrested seven members of the country's electoral commission, accusing the latter of undercounting votes for Mugabe. Last Friday, 400 "war veterans" marched through the streets of Harare in silence, a demonstration of force meant to signal that the state-sanctioned terror of 2000 could easily be repeated should Mugabe give the order. The way Mugabe sees it, bloodshed is in his best interest: Inciting violence would give him the pretext to declare a state of emergency and postpone a runoff presidential election indefinitely. Mugabe has reportedly drawn up plans to dispatch 200 senior military commanders throughout the country to execute a campaign of intimidation and violence in preparation for a potential run-off.

The BBC's reporting on this has seemed overly optimistic, probably because it's hard to allow for the high-level lying of Zanu-PF sources. The coming regional meeting of powers doesn't look like it'll solve anything. Meanwhile, Mugabe's regime is getting away with this:

Zanu PF militants have invaded the farm of Commercial Farmers' Union president Trevor Gifford, saying he is never to return home.

Mr Gifford, who has spent a frantic week in Harare trying to assist at least 60 fellow farmers cope with their own invasions around the country was not at home near Chipinge, about 220 miles south east of Harare, when the mob of about 30 wearing Zanu-PF T-shirts arrived at his security gate.

"They have left messages with staff for me that they are taking over the farm and will manage the livestock with some of my workers," Mr Gifford said.

I'd hoped an 84-year old, unable to even muster fraudulent support for his government, would see the writing on the wall. 

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  1. I’d hoped an 84-year old, unable to even muster fraudulent support for his government, would see the writing on the wall.

    My guess is he is afraid of being arrested and put on trial if he relinquishes his hold on power.

  2. “They have left messages with staff for me that they are taking over the farm and will manage the livestock with some of my workers,”

    Am I wrong to assume this means they will burn the crops and slaughter the livestock?

  3. It is hilarious that Reason would invoke the name of Jamie Kirchick in a story about misplaced media priorities. The great smearmonger has zero credibility as a media watchdog, what with crying loud and long about ten year old anonymously written newsletters that might appear politically incorrect if taken grossly out of context.

  4. I always thought “anonymous” meant “without a name.”

  5. I’m not normally a violent guy (at least, no more than the average guy), but it really sounds to me like its time to start cracking heads. I suspect the army over there pretty much has all the guns, but a few well-placed farm tools would start to shift that balance of power.

    Maybe we could hire out some of those Atlanta SWAT teams to the anti-Mugabe forces. They could stand some useful work.

  6. “I always thought ‘anonymous’ meant “without a name.”

    How about “newsletters of unknown authorship”? Kind of proves my point, really. Focusing on technicalities and trivialities rather than the big issue of newsworthiness.

  7. Regardless of certain parties acting like horrid douchebags and not coming clean in re: the newsletters, Kirchick is still a pretty vile piece of work. He digs/dug on Giuliani hard. Plus, he’s never seen an international conflict the US army shouldn’t be involved in.

    See? Substantive criticism isn’t all that hard.

  8. Focusing on technicalities and trivialities rather than the big issue of newsworthiness.

    So basically, you’re saying that it was a mistake to give Paul’s campaign any coverage.

    That seems a bit harsh. Although his impact has been trivial and hardly newsworthy, small headlines and page A14 have their place.

  9. I am assuming Mugabe is thinking “I’m dead if I step down”. If that is the case, he will hold on as long as possible, taking more people with him.

    Someone should just pop him in the head. With a quality rifle you have plenty of options.

  10. Apaulogist –
    Get over it. It is past time to move on. This obsessing is not healthy.

  11. joe,

    He said they were “anonymously written” not “anonymous.” Quit being a D-Bag.

  12. “So basically, you’re saying that it was a mistake to give Paul’s campaign any coverage.”

    Are you refering to Paul’s presidential campaign? The newsletters were part of a much earlier congressional campaign, where they did have their place. Newsworthiness means timely AND relevant. The newsletter story was neither.

    Good journalism promotes understanding without distorting truth by intentionally quoting selectively and out-of-context. Good journalism is not smearing a candidate merely to damage someone only peripherally connected to him like Lew Rockwell.

  13. “Apaulogist –
    Get over it. It is past time to move on. This obsessing is not healthy.”

    I appreciate your concern for my mental well-being, but the issue is the credibility of a known hatchet man as a media watchdog, and the judgment of Weigel and Reason for using said hatchet man as a source.

  14. Now this is where you see the downside to advances in medicine. If scumbags like Mugabe and Castro were to die, there would at least be hope for an improvement in their countries.

  15. I will say that it’s odd that outside of the Paul newsletter story, H&R has quoted Kirchick a number of times, even though he’s an ass and comments from people who are composed of as much as 99% less ass than Kirchick have been passed up.

  16. Is anyone enjoying the Olympic torch protests more than Robert Mugabe?

    Actually, yes. Gavin Newsom’s hookwinking yesterday in SF was just classic.

  17. Apaulogist – Say Reason never covered the newsletters. Had Paul’s campaign made any real headway, news organizations would have gotten hold of the newsletters and excoriated him for them. There is no way his campaign would have survived. Thinking otherwise is delusional, especially after the ‘Rev. Wright’ incident.

    Also, if the content of the newsletter is no big deal, why didn’t Rockwell own up to writing it?

  18. x,y,

    He said they were “anonymously written” not “anonymous.”

    How can something be anonymous unless it is published without a name?

  19. Actually, yes. Gavin Newsom’s hookwinking yesterday in SF was just classic.

    Hookwinking? Explain plz.

  20. “Apaulogist – Say Reason never covered the newsletters. Had Paul’s campaign made any real headway, news organizations would have gotten hold of the newsletters and excoriated him for them. There is no way his campaign would have survived. Thinking otherwise is delusional, especially after the ‘Rev. Wright’ incident.”

    Yes, Obama is being smeared as a racist just like Paul was, and by many of the same people for many of the same reasons: Failure to Kiss the ring of the Likudniks.

    “Also, if the content of the newsletter is no big deal, why didn’t Rockwell own up to writing it?”

    Probably because he didn’t write it, I am guessing. I have read quite a bit of LR material and the style is not remotely similar.

  21. The content of the newsletters may not have been timely and relevant to people in Ron Paul’s district, but they were to me.

    If Kirchick had written an article about the newsletters whose thesis was “there were some old newsletters the Ron Paul put out that could be controversial, but it would be unfair to denounce him for them” is there any chance at all you would be calling the story irrelevant?

  22. My heart truly goes out to the people of Zimbabwe.

    “Now this is where you see the downside to advances in medicine. If scumbags like Mugabe and Castro were to die, there would at least be hope for an improvement in their countries.”

    No shit. Why don’t these fuckers die already? (hierba mala nunca muere).
    Admittedly, they dont deserve a natural death, but a long and painful one, but at this point I’d be happy with that.

    I have a bottle of whisky at home with Castro’s name on it… just waiting for the good news to crack it open.

  23. Hookwinking? Explain plz.

    The route was changed at the last minute to avoid the protesters. The residents who stood around for hours waiting to see it were hoodwinked.

  24. “The content of the newsletters may not have been timely and relevant to people in Ron Paul’s district, but they were to me.”

    Kirchick intentionally quoted the newsletters out of context, because that was the only way the story would be seen as newsworthy. It was a deceptive spin that was parroted by Reason and exposed by Justin Raimondo.

    http://www.takimag.com/site/article/why_the_beltway_libertarians_are_trying_to_smear_ron_paul/

  25. http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/the_lies_of_jamie_kirchick_part_mclviii/

    “If Kirchick had written an article about the newsletters whose thesis was “there were some old newsletters the Ron Paul put out that could be controversial, but it would be unfair to denounce him for them” is there any chance at all you would be calling the story irrelevant?”

    Obviously not, because either the story would not have been written in the first place, or editor Marty Peretz would have axed it.

  26. Well, at least things aren’t as bad under Mugabe as they were under Ian Smith.

    (Of course, that’s only because they’re about a gazillion times worse.)

  27. What the Hell?! A whole thread about Kirchick and not one post from Casey Siren. I’m disappointed.

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