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It's a dirty job, but somebody has got to do it!
Right and Wrong


William Grigg

Right and Wrong

November 9, 2007 -- So Pat Robertson, an individual who looks as if he had been given life by the pen of a Disney animator (and speaks as though delivering in earnest lines written as satire by Sinclair Lewis), insists that only Adolf – whoops, I mean Rudolph – Giuliani can defend “our population against the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists.”

Giuliani may be a thrice-married, habitually cross-dressing, gun-grabbing, abortion-loving, pederast-coddling wretch, but according to the self-anointed seer of Virginia Beach, Rudy is “a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead.”

This is hardly the first time Robertson has discerned the stuff of greatness in an authoritarian politician. In fact, sucking up to corrupt dictators, like ending every homily with a pitch for donations, is for Robertson as irrepressible a reflex.

Ten years ago, two pilots employed by Robertson's “Operation Blessing” revealed that aircraft involved in that ministry had been involved in transporting equipment and other materials for the African Development Company (ADC), a joint venture between Robertson and Mobutu Sese Seko, the late CIA-installed dictator of what used to be called Zaire (now called the Congo).

In fact, Robertson was President and sole stockholder of the ADC, which was chartered in Bermuda in 1992. Shortly thereafter he began to inveigle donations for an Operation Blessing “outreach” to Africa, wheedling widows out of their mites in order to fund a lucrative mining and timber project in Zaire.

Robertson, notes one expose, “continually tried to portray Mobutu as a loyal US ally in the war against international communism. He also emerged as Mobutu's close friend, and probably his most valuable asset in a deceptive campaign to maintain his stature with some ruling circles in the United States. Robertson was wined and dined by Mobutu on the dictator's presidential yacht, and entertained at one of his lavish estates.”

Even in Africa, a continent that has suffered for centuries beneath both colonial rule and post-colonial kleptocracy, Mobutu distinguished himself as a practitioner of graft and plunder. Given that he was raised to power and tutored by the CIA, it shouldn't surprise us that Mobutu created a regime in which torture, indefinite detention, censorship, and official persecution were commonplace.

Mobutu's full self-appointed title, incidentally, meant “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his enduring and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake.” Perhaps Robertson can weave a similarly prepossessing title for Rudy the Bold.

Indeed, a speech given by Rudy in 1994 – back when Robertson was lobbying diligently on behalf of Mobutu – seems to partake of a sensibility the African despot would share. “What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be,” insisted Rudy. “Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”

For Robertson, “Freedom” -- like “Salvation” -- is little more than a marketing buzzword. This is illustrated by another of Pat's African ventures, the so-called Freedom Gold Limited enterprise in Liberia.

Like the ADC, Freedom Gold was born in a Caribbean haven for off-shore investment scams, in this case the Cayman Islands. Once again, Robertson was listed as the president of the enterprise, as well as sole director thereof. But in this case, there was at least one other shareholder – Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia.

Taylor was a more difficult sell than Mobutu as an ally against international terrorism. Indicted for embezzlement, Taylor was arrested while visiting the US in 1980 and held in jail to await extradition. He and his cohorts broke jail and fled to Libya, where they received instruction in Libyan ruler Moammar Ghadhafi's Soviet-sponsored terrorist training camps. After ascending to the Liberian presidency, Taylor would refer to Libya as his “second country.” Ghadhafi helped underwrite Taylor's war against neighboring Sierra Leone in the late 1990s.

In recent years, thanks in no small measure to productions such as Blood Diamond, the public has become somewhat familiar with one trademark tactic of forces backed by Taylor: The mutilation of innocent people, including women and children, by hacking off their limbs with machetes.

After the Bush administration condemned Taylor's rule in 2003, Robertson condemned Washington for undermining “a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels....”

“How dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,'” fulminated Robertson, the same figure who a few years later would call for the summary assassination of Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez.

Like many other corporate leaders seeking access to China, Robertson has defended Beijing's one-child policy, which results in coerced abortion and female infanticide.

“[T]hey've got 1.2 billion people, and they don't know what to do,” Robertson insisted in a 2001 CNN interview. “If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable.... I think that right now they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with the forced abortion [policy], but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard.”

The question, of course, is not whether the US government should interfere in China's affairs, but whether or not Robertson, as a purported man of God and proponent of the sanctity of life, would condemn the Chinese regime for a policy so abhorrent that it is opposed even by some who support abortion on demand. Rather than doing so, Robertson – seeking to be a “Friend of China” (which in practice means “friend of the worst elements of the Chinese government,” rather than friend of the Chinese people) regurgitated Beijing's party line, in which the problem is too many people – rather than too much coercion.

Given these bona fides, nobody should be surprised in the least that Robertson would eagerly endorse the most freedom-aversive of the Republican presidential aspirants. After all, Pat has long been in the habit of anointing the posteriors of thugs and dictators with his lips if that's the price of doing business.

Rudolph Giuliani really is the distilled essence of contemporary conservatism. He is almost miraculously devoid of charm or charisma, completely unfettered by principle, and utterly devoted to the aggrandizement of building and retaining State power at whatever cost. Robertson's action in cleaving to Giuliani bears eloquent testimony regarding the true focus of his devotion, whatever pieties may tumble from his lips for public consumption.

Update

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:1-5 (KJV)

That's the chief lesson Jesus would have us extract from conspicuous examples of suffering and tragedy: Life is brief, and it can end very badly practically anytime; all of us (except for Him) are sinners who need to be reconciled to God as quickly as possible. We don't have the right, or the luxury, of auditing the sins of others (which doesn't mean, of course, that we're required to pretend that sin doesn't exist).

It might be useful to bear that passage from Luke in mind while contemplating the infamous post-9-11 colloquy between Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell in which these two titans of the "Christian" Right sought to divvy up the blame for the incident.

Giuliani, with whom Robertson allied himself today, attempted to banish Ron Paul from the realm of respectability when Dr. Paul correctly said that the 9-11 attacks (per the accepted narrative of those incidents) were "blowback" generated by Washington's interventionist foreign policy. Yet the same Rudy Giuliani has now drawn to his bosom a figure who lays most of the blame for that incident at the feet of -- well, social policy leftists such as himself.

Obviously, the Rudester was happy to welcome Robertson's endorsement out of vulgar opportunism. But if Robertson were sincere in agreeing with Falwell's views in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, he wouldn't have come within a parsec of endorsing Giuliani.

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To comment or request reprint permission, please contact William N. Grigg via e-mail.  To learn more about William Grigg, please visit Pro Liberate. 

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