Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Compare and Contrast

NPR is rightly giving a lot of coverage to the continuing horror of genocide and warfare in Darfur. Now imagine if the slaughter in Darfur led by the Sudanese government had been given the go-ahead by a sitting US President, and imagine that the US was continuing to supply the Sudanese and the Janjaweed with the weapons they were using. You'd hope that when that President died, NPR would give significant coverage of such vile behavior.

Today offers a comparable situation. By any comparison, the Indonesian genocide against East Timor was as grievous as the situation in Darfur. At the time, President Gerald Ford was an active participant in launching the genocidal invasion of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975 and his administration continued to arm and support the Indonesians. In addition to that disgrace, Ford contributed to the horrors in Chile, Argentina, and Angola. That is the history, but on NPR's eulogies for President Ford you won't hear one word about it. Here's what was aired this morning:
  • "...he successfully led the country through a difficult period." (Renee Montagne)
  • "...a man whose calm and straightforward demeanor helped steer the nation through some turbulent times." (Pam Fessler)
  • "Every American young and old owes [Ford] a heartfelt thanks." (from the 2000 Republican Convention)
  • "Did he in fact help heal the nation?" (Renee Montagne) and John Greene answers "There’s no question that the country believed he helped heal it."
NPR neglected to mention the Ford - East Timor connection last month, and today continues this whitewashed history. Listeners do have other options, especially Democracy Now! which had much fuller coverage this morning of the Ford legacy.


Kevan said...

On Democracy Now!, Amy Goodwin told the story of how when Suhuarto launched the invasion of East Timor, Ford sent him an emergency diplomatic cable. It contained a gift of golf balls.

Porter Melmoth said...

Ford also championed two of the leading culprits in the curent multiple messes of today: Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. He also elevated Kissinger to Sec. of State. Dubious achievements at best. Ford was no mastermind, but many a creep flourished under his short reign.

Porter Melmoth said...

However, some refreshment: Ford criticizes his former servants in 2004 in this Bob Woodward story: