« Spot On | Main | The Nature Of Evil »

October 17, 2004
Creeping Putinization

Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Matt Yglesias begins his post by admitting that when some on the left have implied or flat-out said that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and their ilk are as dangerous if not more dangerous to our country than specters like Osama bin Laden and so on, he had found the arguments to be beyond the pale. Surely these people had lost all perspective.

But now..

... pieces of evidence of what one might call the creeping Putinization of American life (the Sinclair incident, the threatening letter to Rock The Vote, the specter of the top official in the House of Representatives making totally baseless charges of criminal conduct against a major financier of the political opposition [shades of Mikhail Khodorovsky], the increasing evidence that the 'terror alert' system is nothing more than a political prop, the 'torture memo' asserting that the president is above the law, the imposition of rigid discipline on the congress, the abuse of the conference committee procedure, the ability of the administration to lie to congress without penalty, the exclusion of non-supporters from Bush's public appearances, etc.) are beginning to make me think this assessment may have been misguided. Terrorist forces operating in and around Chechnya have done some horrible things -- I was in Moscow for the big apartment bombings -- but ultimately the most harmful thing they have done was to enable Putin to tighten his grip on power.

Matt Yglesias

Exactly. Exactly, exactly.

We naturally can't and shouldn't diminish the tragedy of those killed in terrorist attacks or the loss suffered by their families, or indeed by all of us. However, in the end we suffer a far greater loss if the fear and panic that stems from those tragedies causes us to give up on our ideals and to leave future generations a less free society.

This is exactly what is happening in Russia, and, sadly, under our own noses. It's naturally much harder for us to see it under our own noses.


Previous Comments

This is so fucking scary. There was a report on NPR this afternoon all about Putin's support of Bush.