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April 12, 2005

More on Randi Rhodes

and I suppose you can read that title phonetically.

Half an hour talking today about John Negroponte, half an hour talking about US Central America policy in the 1980s and our horrid support of torturers, half an hour talking about the Contras, and she mentioned Nicaragua exactly once - in a throwaway line read verbatim from a 1995 Baltimore Sun article.

She actually said that the Contras were fighting to support US policy in El Salvador. She actually said that. And not just once. Not just in "slip-of-the-tongue" mode. But over and over again, talking about the US support of the Salvadoran 14 Families oligarchy, talking about selling Tow missiles to Iran and US involvement in the drug trade in order to fund the Contras... and no mention of Nicaragua.

Yeah, El Salvador was mentioned by Reagan during Iran Contra - in the context of the "evil Sandinista regime" "aiding" the Marxist FMLN in the hills of El Salvador. But that's not what Rhodes was after. She spoke seamlessly and effortlessly, giving every indication that she knew what she was talking about... and rewrote the history of the region to completely omit any mention of Nicaragua but that one verbatim quote.

It's as if a radio personality went on for half an hour about the US war in Indochina, describing the history of our diplomatic and military involvement in Southeast Asia, never once mentioning Hanoi or North Vietnam, and saying it was all about South Vietnam and Laos.

She completely misrepresented the rationale behind the Boland Amendment, making it sound as though House Democrats passed the law because they opposed the Salvadoran regime. (The amendment forbade spending federal funds "for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Nicaragua." House Democrats routinely voted to support the Salvadoran government. Actively undermining foreign governments in public was, for a time in the heady post-Carter days, distasteful to Congressional liberals. Funding kidnapping, torture and murder, however, has always been Democratic SOP.)

It's not like this is just a minor mistake among inconsequential Third World nations. The Contras issue resulted in a landmark decision against the US in the world court. From the Wikipedia article linked above:

In 1984 Nicaragua filed a suit in the World Court against the United States in Nicaragua v. United States, which in 1986 resulted in a guilty verdict against the US, calling on it to "cease and to refrain" from the unlawful use of force against Nicaragua through direct attack by US forces and through training, funding and support of the terrorist forces. The US was "in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another state" and was ordered to pay reparations (see note 1). The US response to this ruling was to dismiss the jurisdiction of the court and escalate the war.

In other words, Iran-Contra held the roots of Bush policy toward the other nations of the world. It's a crucial piece of information to have when considering current US actions, and Rhodes camouflaged it - for reasons of ideology or ignorance - from her listeners.

Hint to Rhodes: The word "Contra" is Spanish for "against." The reactionary Contras were against the government in their country. The US supported them. The US supported the murderous government in El Salvador. What does that say to you?

It's sad that the optimistic answer to this is that she's inexcusably ignorant. Spreading misinformation like this to her sycophantic listeners, making sure they completely misunderstand the history of the region and of Negroponte. She's gotta go.

Posted by Chris Clarke at April 12, 2005 08:40 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.faultline.org/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1047

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Comments

You listened to Randi Rhodes for a half hour? On anything? Were you stuck in traffic with a car that got only one radio station? I mean I heard the same stuff but I could only stand listening for about a minute. I am impressed you stuck with it.

Posted by: jon stanley at April 13, 2005 05:02 AM
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Point taken, jon. I was curious as to whether she'd correct herself.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at April 13, 2005 06:51 AM
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I think you can write that large. It's amazing what a mind-eraser the Reagan administration was, that "okay, we've gone through Nam and Watergate, now let's stop beating ourselves up and start beating up people smaller than us". We talk a lot about the Republicans' "message", or more accurately "bumperstickers", and frequently ignore the willful acts of blindness that facilitate them.

Posted by: doghouse riley at April 13, 2005 07:12 AM
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I can't listen to her. The sound of her voice hurts.

Posted by: Roxanne at April 13, 2005 10:52 AM
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I can't stand having someone like her argue my side of things: she's so intellectually dishonest, and constantly distorts facts to suit her purposes. She uses Limbaugh tactics in the service of ideas that are better than that.

Posted by: Harry Teasley at April 13, 2005 08:22 PM
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