Thursday, October 09, 2008

Campos: Ayers and Kissinger sittin' in a tree . . .

University of Colorado praw lof, uh, law prof and News columnist Paul Campos on Obama-Ayers:
[Do I need to put in "Republican presidential candidate John"?] McCain has attempted to link Barack Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers, who, as a member of the Weather Underground, set off several bombs that did some serious property damage [ooooh--ed.]. None of the bombings Ayers was involved with killed anyone, but several years later other members of the group took part in an armed robbery in which two police officers and a guard were killed.
Even neophytes at Ayers-watching will notice that Campos leaves out a few bombings (w/deaths) here and there. Oh well:
Ayers has been characterized as an unrepentant terrorist by McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. At a campaign rally earlier this week Palin accused Obama of "launching his campaign inside the living room of a domestic terrorist."

In fact, Obama doesn't appear to have met Ayers at any time in the past six years.
Nonsequiturs are fun.
When Obama was running for the Illinois legislature in 1995, Ayers hosted a fundraiser for Obama at his house, and they later served on the board of a community anti-poverty group. Obama claims, quite plausibly, that when he met Ayers he was unaware of Ayers' radical past.
Actually, it wasn't ever very plausible, and now it's not plausible at all. No matter. Campos, as befits a genius law prof, quickly moves to the logical argument that nyeh, nyeh, our guy is worse than their guy-- our guy being that hoary ol' debbil man of the left, Henry Kissinger, who, it seems, is "honorary co-chair of John McCain's New York campaign, and a foreign policy adviser to McCain himself":
And here's a very simple question that almost no one in the media seems to ask: If we're going to make the crimes of the radical left in the 1960s and 1970s a campaign issue - a time period much of which Barack Obama spent in elementary school [another strong logical argument] - then how about the crimes of the radical right?

And make no mistake: Henry Kissinger has done things that, morally speaking, make Ayers' actions, deplorable as some of them surely were, look like the equivalent of
You may remember some of these "things":
An abbreviated list of the events that have made it dangerous for Kissinger to travel overseas, because of the possibility he would be arrested as a war criminal, include: covertly sabotaging Vietnam peace talks in 1968 in order to help get Richard Nixon elected; playing a key role in convincing Nixon to launch illegal wars in Laos and Cambodia (the latter action helped create the conditions that led to the Cambodian genocide); helping to plan the overthrow of Chile's democratically elected government, which included numerous assassinations funded by the CIA (again, all this in direct violation of international law); and helping to facilitate the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which may have killed as many as 200,000 civilians.
Even if one concedes that the supposed Kissingerian defugalites happened the way Campos claims, and were as fundamentally evil as he thinks (one doesn't, of course), the context is always missing. The U.S. just seems to blunder around the world doing bad stuff for absolutely no reason at all, or, at best, for some kind of bogus anti-communism (but really to further the interests of big corporations). Anyway:
Kissinger appears to have had every bit as much contempt for the law as Ayers, with the difference being that his brand of contempt led to millions of deaths.

The other difference is that playing a key role in a radical political movement that manages to take over the United States government [remember, he's talking about the Nixon administration] is much more likely to get you to continue to be invited to swank dinner parties on the Upper East Side of New York, no matter how much blood may be on your hands.
Swank dinner parties on the Upper East Side. Blood on your hands. The man thinks in leftist cliches.
That social fact doesn't make Henry Kissinger more respectable than Bill Ayers.
Wait. Is that what we were arguing about?

Update: Ron Radosh notes a two-year-old interview of Ayers by the laughable Reggie Dylan in the Revolutionary Communist Party's ("our chairman is Bob Avakian!") Revolution magazine, in which Ayers voices his support for another progressive educator--Ward Churchill:
In the interview, Ayers also makes a point of declaring solidarity identifying with perhaps the biggest charlatan in modern American academia - Ward Churchill, who was finally removed from his University of Colorado professorship by the school's president for academic misconduct, including false use of sources, plagiarism and the most extreme politicization of the curriculum conceivable.

As Ayers sees it, Churchill was simply challenging students "with ideas they've never seen before," and with encouraging students "to question things." . . .

To Ayers, Churchill was simply "being pilloried . . . for being a leftist, for being a critic of US imperialism."

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