More black Septembers

Four years ago, on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14, explosions destroyed two apartment buildings in Moscow. The first killed 94 people; the second, 121. Children, too. The blasts are attributed to Chechen terrorists, although some believe the FSB was involved, which I hope is not true. Whoever did it, we shall not forget.

On Sept. 11, 1973 — 30 years ago — Pinochet toppled Allende. I’m not in a mood to write about it now (the debilitating flu), but here’s a most illuminating story from Val e-diction, The Allende Myth, and another from WaPo, We All Killed Allende.

OK, I’ll say a few words. Allende was a tragic figure. He bore responsibility for the economic and social chaos in Chile that made the coup possible. That doesn’t destroy the tragic-ness. Nicholas II bore responsibility for a series of disasters and bloodsheds — Khodynka, the war with Japan, the Bloody Sunday in 1905, the brutal suppression of the first Revolution, Russia’s entry into WW1, etc., etc. In the end of the day, he paid with his life. He must have realized a true monarch should be ready to put his head on the block. But does his irresponsible behavior — which did not seem so to him, of course, for he had his own ideas about monarchy — make his life less tragic? No; nor does it justify Bolshevism.

Allende’s fall was inevitable: a) his economic policies were disastrous; b) he alienated the middle class; c) he could not resist the pressure from the Far Left; d) he failed to neutralize the Army; e) he was the person that Havana and Moscow had come to count on — and e) was the worst of all. On the other hand, Allende tried to cling to democratic values — but failed even at that. No matter who had won, he would have been sacrificed. A Communist junta would have disposed of him readily, too.

My mother-in-law has always disliked Allende, though. That’s a good reason to have another think. But she’s also fuming at the Americans for the Iraq adventure.

Pinochet, at any rate, is not my hero. Has he apologized for anything? repented anything? I don’t think so. He stumbled on the right economic policies by mere chance; hadn’t that bunch of Chicago boys come his way, we’d have another basket case on the left slopes of the Andes. Over and above all, it’s the rape dogs. Even the NKVD and Gestapo didn’t go that far. If you must kill, don’t kill the unarmed (rules of war); if you must kill the unarmed, don’t kill children (never happens); if you must kill anyway, don’t torture (Nankin was worse than Hiroshima); and if you must torture (terrorists in Israel), don’t dehumanize. On this scale, rape dogs are among the worst acts ever; being in command of those who committed them is a grave indictment. Allende paid his dues — in part, at least — by his martyrdom; but Pinochet looks set to die in debt.

There’s no denying that various quasi-Communist, pseudo-Marxist tyrants left hecatombs of corpses incomparable with Pinochet’s. Right. But their apparent ideologies have long been discredited; Pinochet, on the other world, is linked to the right kind of economic policies — which he has done no less to discredit than to validate.

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