It’s not like the New York Times doesn’t know what the Heritage Foundation or American Enterprise Institute are. They are relentlessly ideological organizations that promote the causes of militarism and completely unfettered accumulation of wealth at the expense of all else because their funding and philosophy require it. Their mission is to take any issue and turn it into a call for more war and less government. So why does the Times put them on the same plane as organizations and individuals that are truly interested in research, investigation, and coming to true conclusions?
Today’s Room for Debate on the role of the U.S. military in the war on drugs in Honduras is a terrific example of the failures of “balanced” reporting.
Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute cites the alternate universe conservative fantasy of “the growing jihadist influence in the region.” Yes, the region she’s referring to is Latin America. Eaglen also calls the U.S. “the hemisphere’s dominant power” that should really be policing “our own backyard,” phrases that helpfully indicate she’s reporting from 1986. Anyway, her point? Honduras’ problem is weak governance. I guess it’s not the kind that can be helped by us supporting their elected president during a right-wing coup, but the kind that can be helped by strengthening its (coup-run) military. That does sound like quite a strong state.
Steven P. Bucci of the Heritage Foundation knows why everyone is so upset about using U.S. troops in the drug war in Honduras. They forgot that, “Throughout the late 1980s and all of the 1990s, Green Berets were deployed to numerous Central and South American countries,” including “Bolivia, Venezuela, Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama and El Salvador, as well as Honduras and other nations.” Certainly, the track record of U.S. military involvement in Latin America in the 80s and 90s speaks for itself. Which is lucky for one Mr. Bucci, because all he has to add to that point is that drugs and Mexican cartels are bad.
Tom Hayden, author, former member of the California legislature, and professor, is listed as “Activist.” As some hippie activist might, he goes into what Green Berets actually did in Latin America, namely, “tried to thwart 20 popular insurgencies and support military dictatorships for decades.”
Three others affiliated with non-partisan organizations seem to be on the fence about the overall decision, but offer specific prescriptions that indicate they actually know something about the specifics of Honduras’ politics.
The difference is that you knew what the AEI and Heritage people were going to say before they said it. Should we send soldiers somewhere? Yes. But, since their whole job is using a prestigious-sounding institution’s name to back up their nonsense opinions, they get equal weight in the Times.