[Marxism] Reflection in Blood

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 15 13:22:22 MDT 2009

Reflection In Blood

Killing time last night, I came across a link at Facebook that startled 
me. It really shouldn't have; I read much worse on a daily basis. Still, 
it typified what many of my more liberal, mule-centric friends and 
acquaintances are writing and saying these days, still in love with 
Obama or the idea of Obama, despite mounting evidence undercutting his 
"promise," such as it was. So consider this a friendly if stern 
response. These people are not my enemies, but many of them need to 
knock the fog from their minds.

Though he may not believe this, I like Lance Mannion, and enjoy his 
forays into pop culture and how it affects him and his loved ones. But 
when Lance saunters into politics, well, that's where my enjoyment 
usually ends. Like many in the newcritics crowd, whom I've met and 
partied with, Lance is beholden to the Democrats, regardless of any 
complaints or quibbles he might have.

I haven't read everything he's written about Obama, but based on what 
I've seen, Lance is pretty much in the tank for our new Father Leader. 
No surprise. Hardly an unpopular stance. Al Gore's pathetic surrender in 
2000 drove countless liberals 'round the bend, and they've waited eight 
long years to embrace a president of their own. Didn't matter who. 
Kerry. Edwards. Hillary. All would have sufficed. But Obama's even more 
special, what with historical CHANGE and all that. So numerous libs 
cling to him, which clouds their vision and makes them say and write 
things that I suspect they'd never say had McCain won instead.

Would Lance have reconsidered Ronald Reagan under a McCain regime? 
Somehow I doubt it, but there's only so much of the human mind I 
understand. In the wake of Obama's brave order to kill Somali hijackers 
(who, according to Chris Floyd, were essentially unarmed and trying to 
negotiate a truce), Lance, along with many liberals, praised the action, 
convinced that killing poor Africans would show reactionaries how badass 
Obama truly is. But Lance went further, wondering if Reagan would've 
been equally heroic. Based on a book about Reagan, "Tear Down This Myth" 
by Will Bunch, Lance concludes that Obama and Reagan have more in common 
than not, which I agree with, though not in the way Lance does. But 
that's another argument.

What threw me about this post is how Lance portrayed Reagan, softening 
the edges in order to make the old actor palatable to his liberal 
readers. How else to consider this passage:

"Here, though, what I want to highlight is another difference between 
Reagan the actual human being and the Right Wing Hero conservatives 
idealize and idolize.

"Reagan was nowhere near as bloodthirsty.

"In fact, if the bodies are ever tallied, it will probably turn out that 
Ronald Reagan was directly responsible for the deaths of far fewer 
people than any other President since Eisenhower, except Gerald Ford and 
Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama may already have more blood on his hands."

Okay. Eisenhower oversaw the overthrow of the Iranian and Guatemalan 
governments, the latter of which turned into the hemisphere's grisliest 
slaughterhouse. Ike also helped undermine the Geneva Accords, 
establishing a client state in south Vietnam, which began jailing and 
murdering dissidents, the body count in the tens of thousands. This of 
course set the stage for direct US involvement, ultimately killing 
anywhere from 2 to 4 million people. (Eisenhower offered the French 
nuclear back-up at Dien Bien Phu, which France wisely and mercifully 

Gerald Ford had less time to kill people, but he made his mark, backing 
and financing Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor, where a 
third of the Timorese population was wiped out in Pol Pot-style 
violence. Not bad for an appointee. Jimmy Carter kept the Timor abattoir 
running, while backing state violence in El Salvador, military rule in 
South Korea (the Kwangju massacre killing some 2,000 people), and 
helping to assemble, train and arm reactionary Muslim elements in 
Afghanistan, the bloody effects of which, ahem, remain very much with us 
today. Obama does have blood on his hands, which will stay a moist 
crimson so long as he's in office. And while he's already out killed 
Bush in Pakistan, Obama's nowhere near Reagan's body count. That will 
take some doing. But I have faith that Our President will make an 
inspired effort to match one of his political heroes.

Not that Lance is blind to Reagan's faults:

"I'm not forgetting all the people who did die because of what he did, 
all the people in Central America killed by the Contras and the Death 
Squads we trained and supported, all the people who died of AIDS because 
he refused to acknowledge the crisis."

But this is an aside, a caveat to Lance's larger, more flattering point, 
that Reagan thought things out before ordering a hit. I'm sure that 
Reagan thought of a good many things. Yet let's remember that Reagan 
financed and defended mass slaughter in Central America, from El 
Salvador to Guatemala to Nicaragua. The numbers are staggering, given 
the size of these countries. If a Third World leader killed a portion of 
who Reagan killed, he or she would be viewed as another Hitler. But 
Reagan? He not only got away with it, he survived the so-called 
Iran/contra "scandal," which in reality was a systemic cover-up, aided 
in large part by Democrats and our ever vigilant Liberal Media. Since 
then, the focus on the Reagan years has gotten warmer and fuzzier, as 
liberals like Lance see the "positive" side to the Gipper.

Lance testily insisted that I read Will Bunch's book before commenting, 
but based on Lance's summation, I see no need to waste my time. I trust 
that Lance read Bunch closely and carefully, and if this is what he took 
away from it, then nein danke. I'll stick with Edmund Morris' "Dutch," 
an avant garde take on Reagan, as Gore Vidal put it. Morris doesn't 
linger on theory; he gives us Reagan the individual, to the degree that 
there was something to grab onto. Why people are trying to re-think 
Reagan is beyond me, since the evidence is damning and overwhelming. I 
suspect these are practice runs for later assessing Obama, but then, 
only a cynic would say that.

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