[Marxism] Ahmad Chalabi at the New York Tun

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 14 06:04:15 MST 2005

OK. Normally I wouldn't recommend the NY Sun for any thing related
to Cuba, and Marti scholars may find reasons to comment or correct
this, but here the NY Sun, home to the likes of Nat Hentoff and the
rest of the bash-Cuba claque, takes a look back at the New York Times
and how it looked at Cuba's independence apostle Jose Marti, with the
same derision, more or less, that the New York Slimes looks at Cuba's
Fidel Castro today. That, of course, is not one of the points which
are made here by the New York Sun. Keep in mind that while Jose Marti
lived and worked in the United States for many years, it would be an
impossible flight of imagination to think that he was somehow then an
"asset" for the United States foreign intelligence operations as was
Ahmad Chalabi. Anyway, this is worth reading, inspite of itself...

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

November 14, 2005 Edition > Section: Editorials 

New York Sun Staff Editorial
November 14, 2005
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/23002		

When the deputy prime minister of a Free Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi, stopped
by our offices late Friday, we invited him to take a seat in front of
the portrait of the editor who built the Sun, Charles A. Dana. For it
turns out that Dana, who bought the Sun after riding with U.S. Grant
to preserve the Union, had great sympathy for those foreigners who
aspired to democracy in their own lands and looked to America for
inspiration and backing. Dana had taken a particular liking to the
Cuban patriot Jose Marti, who for part of his struggle for Cuba Libre
operated from a desk in the newsroom of the Sun over on Broadway.
Watching Mr. Chalabi across the editorial table, we couldn't help
thinking that Dana would have had a similar admiration for Mr.
Chalabi and his cause.

We'd first met him in 1998 at a dinner with Robert L. Bartley of the
Wall Street Journal, who, as a visionary editor in the mold of Dana,
recognized early where Mr. Chalabi was going. On Friday, Mr. Chalabi
had just come from Washington, where his meetings included
substantive discussions with Condoleezza Rice, who heads a state
department where Mr. Chalabi was once persona non grata, a department
which, until President Bush put his own person at the helm of it,
had, like the CIA, done so much to undermine Mr. Chalabi and to
stymie his rise to power. The Iraqi leader was also buoyed by his
meeting, here in New York, with the Council on Foreign Relations,
whose magazine, Foreign Affairs, has contributed to the sneering at
Mr. Chalabi that has emanated from the foreign policy establishment.

At every stop Mr. Chalabi found himself given a friendly reception
and engaged in serious discussions. No doubt that is a reflection of
the transformative power of democracy, even a democracy springing
from heretofore arid soil. Mr. Chalabi, of whom the foreign affairs
columnist of the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, once boasted he'd
never made the acquaintance, today is one of the highest ranking
freely elected figures in the Middle East. Yet even today, the New
York Times continues to deride Mr. Chalabi and his movement. Its
editorial last week, calling Mr. Chalabi a "multiply discredited
schemer," is one of the most disgraceful it has ever published. It
prompted us to go back to see what the Times said about Jose Marti.

Well, it turns out that the Times was full of derision for Marti,
too. On June 1, 1895, after Marti died heroically in battle, the
Times issued a dispatch from its special correspondent in Havana,
under the headline "Impression of Marti's Death." It mocked him as
the "so-called President of the Cuban Republic," saying he'd prepared
the revolution "in spite of the little aid which he could find in
Cuba every time he had attempted to create a revolutionary movement."
It called him a "commonplace poet and writer, a prolix orator of
diffuse style..." The separatists, it sneered,"lacking a chief having
any prestige at all, gave him their money."

The Times conceded that it would be "unjust to deny" that Marti "had
remarkable tenacity, activity, and perseverance. Perhaps he was also
a man of conviction, as his friends assure." But it said that "he
must be severely judged." Complained the Times: "To put into
turbulence a country which asked for nothing but peace and work, to
expose it to a ferocious race, thinking always of revenge against the
whites, to light the fires of civil war, pillage under the pretext of
'Cuba libre,' and put obstacles in the way of reforms which had been
demanded for years, are not acts that claim indulgence." It went on
to gripe of Marti: "To sustain the revolution he had recourse to all
sorts of means: lies, false news, calumny."

Well, if that sounds like some early version of Frank Rich or Maureen
Dowd, let us remember history has a way of playing tricks on us all.
Marti is now acclaimed the world over as a hero in the struggle for
freedom. Our own lengthening span in newspaper work has given us
ample chance to observe that democrats in exile face all sorts of
indignities. Mr. Chalabi suffered his with humor, grace, grit, and
sagacity. It was just wonderful to see him now in a moment of
triumph, to hear him articulate his appreciation of America and the
sacrifices Americans have made to help his country, to see that he is
a man without bitterness, and to hear that he is not asking for more
G.I.s but for support for his nation's sovereignty, proud of his
constitution, looking forward to the next elections, and warming to
the business of government at home and abroad. We're only sad that
Charles Dana - and, for that matter, Bob Bartley - couldn't have been
there in person.

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