Saturday, February 23, 2008

Read it and weep

There is a long, comprehensive headliner in Sunday's New York Times outlining with precision and detail how the Putin election fraud machine works in a regional Russian city. Readers unfamiliar with Putin's m.o. will learn the secrets of his "success" with voters--intimidation, coercion, media domination, violence against opponents, threats against even the mildest critics, and tons and tons of cash for youngsters willing to travel to Moscow to "spontaneously" launch demonstrations for Putin and intimidate passersby who look cross-eyed at them. It is sick, sick, sick, all of it, and true, too-- I've seen a number of these tactics up close and personal.

But then you get to the reader comment section, featuring feedback from Russian readers, and the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach gets worse, not better. Even allowing for the fact that the security services monitor these kinds of sites, this comment from "happy bro" is devastating because it has the unmistakable ring of truth:

"It is funny to read this from people who, for 10 years have invaded other countries, toppled the stable regimes that ruled and enforced their rules there. Especially funny to read it if you don’t forget about prisons and tortures in Guantanamo. And completely funny when you recall how these people hanged the former president of the country they invaded. Why am I saying this? Because Mr. Putin and his team are evil, of course. And only cattle vote for him. BUT these are OUR problems. And WE will sort them out. And you, you’d better write a couple of stories about why a person who is considered an imbecile by 80 percent of the globe’s population is elected for a second term. Also, don’t forget to write what are you still doing in Iraq (you have not found either nuclear, chemical, biological weapons there, so stop pumping oil for free and get back home)."

On the basis of this and so many other, similar assessments, I think it would be impossible to overstate how much damage President Bush has done to this country all around the world. I don't have a clue how the next President, whoever it is, will begin to repair it. I'm completely at a loss.


Blogger betmo said...

yeah- what do you say to the rest of the world? there are those of us who have fought this since day one- doesn't really have enough punch since there were so few of us. sigh.

9:43 AM  

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