Sunday, October 22, 2006

A note on Paul Berman's "anti-totalitarianism"

It transpires that Berman is a Jeane Kirkpatrick "anti-totalitarian". That is to say, he spent much of the 1980s trying to smear the Sandinistas (while professing to support the revolution), and in the 1990s took to making heroes of the Contras. Although initially he used the language of anarchism to oppose the Sandinistas, he later came out openly claiming (during the famously CIA-rigged election), that the Contras were a broad-based peasant army fighting against a Leninist dictatorship (as opposed to CIA-sponsored death squads who raped and killed teachers and their pupils). In 1996, writing for the New Yorker magazine, he penned an article so enthusiastic for the Contras that it produced an angry retort from the Center for Constitutional Rights, who were then trying to ensure that the Contra killers of Benjamin Linder were tried. This is ironic, for at the time Berman was busily supporting Western intervention into Yugoslavia on the grounds that Milosevic was a 'totalitarian'.

Funny how 'totalitarianism' works, is it not?