Tory blogger Peter Cuthbertson is rightly taking issue with those who express sympathy for terrorism.
What they mean by ‘objectivity’ is an analysis where all moral judgement is removed, where no distinction is made between those who respect the life and liberty of others and those who kill innocents to advance a political cause. This abdication of moral judgement produces not only a warped political outlook, but still more warped solutions.
Indeed. But is this the same Peter Cuthbertson who just the other day was urging us all to ‘understand’ the reasons behind the Chilean terror which claimed around 4,000 lives?
Says Peter: Communists and capitalists were fighting for control of the country, and both did regrettable things. But in all wars and conflicts such things happen. It is difficult to examine one side of the coin – Pinochet’s – without realising that the choice faced may have been between fighting back or letting the communists win.
Of course it escapes Peter’s attention that the democratically elected Chilean government of Allende that was overthrown by the CIA backed coup, resulting in the slaughter was a socialist one not a totalitarian communist one.
Nor does it seem to bother Peter in the slightest that the Chilean right-wing had the choice of trying to defeat Allende at the ballot box but instead chose to kill innocents to advance a political cause
But the fact that communists supported that government helps Peter to ‘understand’ the reasons why Pinochet chose instead to lead the slaughter of thousands of democrats and to excuse him.
And talk about weasel words “Both did regrettable things” – yes the socialists made a bit of a mess of the economy while the fascists had their ‘caravan of death’ and filled football stadiums with victims to be tortured and shot. Is there a moral equivalence between the two?
In fact, you could say that in Peter’s view “no distinction is made between those who respect the life and liberty of others and those who kill innocents to advance a political cause.”
This is not, as Peter seems to think, a particularly radical way of thinking. The excuse of the ‘red menace’ as a justification for passive support to fascism was the standard refrain of quislings throughout Europe during World War Two and remains so for their apologists today.
Ironically for someone who uses the hammer and sickle as a logo for his articles on the Guardian, Peter is also demonstrating a political outlook that is fundamentally Stalinist – the purges and the gulags may have been regrettable but Uncle Joe was defending socialism and defeating the imperialist/Nazi threat.
Or as Peter would say He may have been a son of a bitch but he was our son of a bitch.
But he wasn’t ours.
And for the vast majority of mainstream democrats of the centre-right Pinochet isn’t their’s.
Peter should join them in their condemnation of terror of all colours and leave the world of death camps to the Stalinists and fascists.