Web Letters

Web Letters


Los Angeles, CA



Los Angeles, CA

As I read Marc Cooper’s “Pinochet and Us,” I wonder if the title should not be “Pinochet and the the US.” I clearly remember the CIA working hard to overthrow the democratically elected president Salvador Allende in the early 1970s. “Communists have taken over Chile and we must act”, Nobel Prize recipient Henry Kissinger said at the time. Finally, on September 11, a military coup fell over Chile like a bloody storm, led by a general trained at La Escuela de las Américas in Panama and chosen by the Secretary of State himself.

After two decades, many memos were declassified. If Cooper read the memos in question, he would realize that Operation Condor was set up by the United States and that Kissinger himself went to Santiago to check out the job well done. The Nation is supposed to be a critical US publication, so I’d like to hear more truth from you.


Jersey City, NJ

Don’t get me wrong. I am a strong supporter of The Nation and I am enjoying reading the books handed out three weeks ago at the New Democracy Workshop at NYU, but I have to point out something missing in Marc Cooper’s article.

The word “Kissinger” is sorely missing. Another missing sentence is “bad Blair behavior.” That is to say that any mention of Pinochet that omits his alleged creator and the guy who let him go is not reporting the whole picture.


Krakow, Poland

This latest bit of near-jingoistic delusion is Marc Cooper’s worst yet (and he’s an “expert” on Chile, right?). Let’s just address this concept of “open” and “closed” societies. Does it occur to Cooper that it was the United States who closed Chile down (remember Allende and the 1973 coup and Nixon and ITT and the PyL ?)? I find this blame-the-victim mentality deeply disingenuous and amnesiac. This latest piece of self-congratulation belongs somewhere alongside a Christopher Hitchens rant or a Thomas Friedman diatribe…not in The Nation.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In September 1973 I was serving at the Brazilian embassy in Santiago and was able to witness all the horrible events in that country. Allende’s sectarians were not exempt from criticism either. His left-wing militias also plundered small farmers in the nation’s countryside and hinterland provinces. To coldly analyze those days in a more balanced way, both left- and right-wingers in Chile should stand trial for all their crimes, regardless of what ideas they may have defended as politically legitimate. Although an anarchist myself, I struggled in the guerrilla war in Brazil and was tortured by our political police. But I also suffered in a prison in Cuba in 1976, when I paid that nation a short cultural visit to attend a festival of Latin music. There, mistaken for a locally wanted dissident on account of my physical resemblance to him, I spent four months in a political prison in La Habana and I can assure you that Communist prisons are as barbaric as any prison in countries that had right-wing regimes.

Pinochet must stand trial for whatever wrong he may have done to his regime’s opponents. But Allende’s radical sectarians must stand trial too, and for the same moral reasons.



Cuba, NM

Many of us will miss Matt Bivens and his outstanding “Daily Outrage” weblog. Thank you, Mr. Bivens, for having the courage to speak out against the heinous outrages perpetrated upon us by the corrupt Bush regime.

Over a year ago there were those who had the courage to challenge Bush (including those like Paul Krugman and even the conservative Pat Buchanan, whom I don’t agree with on domestic issues but who must be admired for opposing the neocon warmongering in Iraq). The Nation can be proud to have sponsored Mr. Bivens.

Take care and let us know, Mr. Bivens, what you are up to. You will be missed.


Davis, CA

I was sad to read Matt Bivens’s farewell at the end of his last post. I’ve thought for a long time that he had one of the easiest jobs in journalism, coming up with a new outrage every day, but he did it so well! I will truly miss his work, and look forward to what he’ll be doing in the future.

Just a comment on his last column: In the seventies I lived with a group of guys in Tucson who were all missile launchers in SAC, and they said that the majority of their compatriots intended to sabotage, or at least refuse to fire, if they ever got the order. They couldn’t countenance the idea of the possibility of starting a nuclear war, and figured that if one was already launched we’d all be dead anyway.

Hard to say, of course, how they’d have actually acted in the event of an order to fire. But they sure had a lot of time to think about it sitting down there in the silo control rooms. Thank God we never had to find out.

Farewell for now, Matt. Best of luck with wherever life takes you. You will be missed by many.


E. Lansing, MI

I saw today that Matt Bivens will no longer be writing his online column. I am so disappointed to see him go. It seems odd to say that I enjoyed his grim news, but I valued it and his equally grim humor, though I have often thought how wearing it must be to so constantly have the sad state of our nation on one’s mind. Thank you for your vigilance, Mr. Bivens.


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