We aren’t now, and never were, a bunch of racist paste eaters.- Jonah Goldberg.

Au contraire. I beg to differ. From today’s LA Times editorial entitled, Iraq Needs a Pinochet:

I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.

Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation. But as I have discovered in recent days, many otherwise rational people can’t think straight when the names Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet come up.

There is no point in actually reading his reasoning. After all, any intelligent, patriotic, and informed person is going to agree with Jonah’s conclusion without even requiring the benefit of his argument. And if you are one of those people that can’t think straight when confronted with the names Fidel and Augusto, then there is no hope for you…you are not going to understand what mainstream media paste-eating is all about.

All you need to know is that Iraq would really benefit, not from the democracy so often trumpeted by our chimperator-in-chief, but by the hard-nosed free-market, pro-business kind of oppression that Pinochet was able to deliver for an ever grateful Chilean society.

Lest you think I am joking, I’ll let you see Jonah’s conclusion after all.

…these days, there’s a newfound love for precisely this sort of realpolitik. Consider Jonathan Chait, who recently floated a Swiftian proposal that we put Saddam Hussein back in power in Iraq because, given his track record of maintaining stability and recognizing how terrible things could get in Iraq, Hussein might actually represent the least-bad option. Even discounting his sarcasm, this was morally myopic. But it seems to me, if you can contemplate reinstalling a Hussein, you’d count yourself lucky to have a Pinochet.

See, contrary to your prejudices, all serious, patriotic, and informed conservative thought revolves around nuance. You see, Pinochet displaced a duly elected official and imposed a brutal dictatorship. Saddam replaced a brutal dictatorship with an even more brutal dictatorship. Therefore, Saddam is worse and unfit for a restoration. That would be morally myopic. But if we could find a guy just a little less brutal and a lot more business friendly, then that would be excellent.

The important thing to remember is that we only have bad choices in Iraq. And Jonah is just picking the best of less than optimal choices.

But what if unfrozen-reanimated-Iraqi-Pinochet-man found that he couldn’t stabilize Iraq without being every bit the son-of-a-bitch Saddam was? Well? Shit, I guess putting Saddam back in power wouldn’t have been that myopic after all.

Keep eating that paste Jonah. Maybe you could start sniffing it too.

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