Saturday is always a slow day at Babalú as at most blogs, which affords its editors an opportunity to delete comments with a freer hand because (virtually) no one is watching. As we all know, Babalú deletes comments for content. I don't know if they realize just how bad this makes them look. Not just because it shows them to be despotic and noncollegial (after all, they do invite comments); but because it leaves the impression that the commenter stumped them with his powerful logic and they had no recourse but to make his words disappear because they could not refute them. This is in fact rarely the case. Most of the comments that Babalú deletes are stupid and easily refuted, as was this one. One of their longtime commenters, Doorgunner, blew this "Thomas Jefferson Martí" out of the water with his compelling evidence that the "Brothers to the Rescue" plane had indeed been in international water when it was shot down at Castro's orders. Doorgunner disposed of TJM's tedious verbiage with a few well-chosen facts. It was masterful but meaningless, because by deleting TJM's comment they also decapitated Doorgunner's rebuttal.
What is most remarkable, however, is that Henry's original post was dedicated to justifying the inclusion of pro-Castro spokesmen (and Castro himself) in Shoot Down, the controversial documentary about the aerial murder of the four "Brothers to the Rescue" pilots. As Henry writes in his review of Shoot Down, "I think I need to address some criticisms of the film. This film is a serious attempt to look at a controversial event in the contentious history between the U.S. and fidel castro. This is not a piece of propaganda like the so-called documentaries by Michael Moore. As such, Khuly [Kholy?] included interviews and excerpts of interviews with people that perhaps some of us don't like to listen to. Such people include castro himself, castro-apologist Saul Landau and former Clinton staffer Richard Nuccio. I think its unfair though to criticize the film simply for including people whose opinions the viewer might disagree with."
So Henry believes that the film's producer was right to present the other side in her documentary, though it contributes nothing to the film but lies and imposes on it the responsibility of refuting those lies. Nevertheless, Henry asserts, the documentary is more credible because it is not one-sided like Michael Moore's opus. Moreover, Henry believes that it is "unfair" to criticize the film because it allots a third or half its time to justifying, in effect, that monstrous and inexcusable crime.
But what is good and commendable in Ms. Khuly (Kholy?) is not acceptable at Babalú. There conflicting opinions are not welcome and will be excised according to the caprices of its editors. This need to control not merely what is written in the posts but what their commenters observe in the corresponding threads, so that no head sticks out higher than their own and no opinion contradicts their received knowledge, is totalitarian in conception and execution, and betrays a lack of confidence in their ability to defend their positions at least as effectively as their critics maintain theirs.
Read the comment that they chose to delete: what a pitiful and intellectually bankrupt utterence; how transparent it is in the worst sense; and how easy to ignore because its shallowness leaves no impression. But Babalú does not ignore it. Nor does it refute it (as Doorgunner did). It simply erases it. If it were possible to erase our enemies, Cuba would have been free long ago. But we must engage our enemies, not pretend that they don't exist. A decent respect for the intellect of one's audience, also, precludes the necessity of "protecting" them from the tendentious nonsense of idiots.
Here is the execrable thing and Doorgunner's refutation. Judge for yourselves (here at RCAB we actually let you do that):
I am looking forward to seeing the movie as well and draw my own conclusions. But what I do know is:
1. The planes were shot down by the Cuban government.
2. There is a dispute whether it occurred in international airspace. But the actions of our government suggest it did not occur in international waters. This I do know. If the planes were shot down in international waters the United States would have been in its rights to retaliate and perceive the shoot down as a provocation to the national security of the U.S. Deliberate shoot down of civilian aircraft in international airspace = provocation and act of war against the nation those aircraft are registered to. The U.S. did not respond militarily. Thus, that would support my hypothesis.
3. Those planes started the whole problem by flying into Cuba unauthorized and dropping leaflets to incite rebellion to begin with. That is a violation of international law and a highly provocative act. The U.S. did not act to stop these flights. Did Cuba warn the U.S. they would take military action against these aircrat? Those pilots should have known their lives were in danger from the get go. When we sent spy planes that were shot down, ie. Soviet Union - Gary Powers, or caught and disabled - U.S. China spy plane incident April 2001, those pilots and crew lives were always at risk.
4. Regarding whether or not to "engage". Diplomacy 101, Foreign Policy Foundations - You engage your adversaries and enemies to find solutions to disputes and avoid war.
5. There is a conspiracy theory that the shoot downs occurred in a mutuality of sorts - everyone got what they wanted. President Clinton was going to veto Helms Burton. The shoot down reversed Clinton's position. The hard line community in FL wanted to stop reapproachement and they got what they wanted. Clinton got Florida in the 1996 election. Castro also had to know that the shoot down would stop the developing reapproachement, playing into his plans to stop the progress. Castro needs the embargo and all the hostility to justify his police state. So this tragic incident served the needs of all the parties.
Posted by: Thomas Jefferson Marti at January 26, 2008 01:26 PM
As found by the UN's ICAO (hardly a right wing org) the ambush occurred in int. waters as verified by radar trancripts and eye witnesses' accounts, all that was again established at a civil court of law in addition to several Cuban officials indicted for the criminal activity of murder conspiracy, period. It was an act of war on the US by a an enemy power never responded to in kind because we had a government sympathetic to our enemy.
Posted by: Doorgunner at January 26, 2008 01:58 PM