El asunto Robertson

A continuación, transcribo el editorial (que acabo de leer), del New York Times, respecto a las declaraciones de Pat Robertson (ver la “nota”: de ayer en la bitácora). Lo publico tal cual, en inglés.


Judgment Malfunction

Published: August 25, 2005

The Bush administration is not shy about denouncing people who say intemperate things on television. When Senator Richard Durbin compared the Guantánamo military prison to the Gulag, the White House beat the drums of outrage for days and furiously demanded an apology, which Mr. Durbin delivered.
But even two days later, President Bush and other senior officials had expressed no real criticism of Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of the president of Venezuela. Mr. Robertson said that on his Christian television network on Monday – explaining that such action would be cheaper than a war – but finally admitted yesterday that he had been wrong. Imagine, for comparison purposes, what the White House would say if a Syrian mullah had gone on Al Jazeera and called for the assassination of the president of the United States.

Yet all we’ve heard has been a tepid State Department comment that Mr. Robertson’s remark was inappropriate and that it is not American policy to kill Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez. We’re certainly glad to know that. The government has been forbidden to conduct political assassinations overseas for about 30 years.

Certainly, there is tension between the Bush administration and Mr. Chávez, who blames Mr. Bush for the coup that threw him out of office briefly in 2002. Since then, Mr. Chávez has gotten tight with Fidel Castro and declared his undying enmity for the Bush team. Those things don’t make him unique in the troubled history of Washington’s relations with Latin America. And they’re certainly no excuse for any responsible person to call for his murder – especially one who styles himself as a man of god.

Mr. Robertson – who once made headlines when he said liberal judges were a bigger threat to America than the 9/11 terrorists – is a member of the church-based right wing, which was indispensable in Mr. Bush’s re-election and will be needed by the Republicans in 2006. That obviously makes things awkward for the president. But common decency, not to mention a rational sense of the national interest, demands condemnation of his remarks.

Mr. Robertson was defiant as he began the day yesterday, headlining his show with Pat’s Age-Defying Protein Pancakes, and claiming that he had been misinterpreted. But there isn’t another way to interpret his comment on Monday about Mr. Chavez: “I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.” Finally, CNN reported in late afternoon that Mr. Robertson had apologized in a written statement.

When Mr. Robertson ran for president in 1988, he got angry when the press called him a televangelist. Seems he was right. He’s just a garden-variety crackpot with friends in high places.

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