• Robert Birnbaum

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (German: Der 18te Brumaire des Louis Napoleon)

History repeats itself, "the first as tragedy, then as farce ." Karl Marx

I have not understood the the cultural preoccupation (The Walking Dead, The Twilight Saga) with zombies and vampires. However, the recent reappearance of ghouls like Eliot Abrams, Ken Starr and Oliver North provides some credence to one of Karl Marx's most quoted statements,"History repeats ... first as tragedy, then as farce".

"We don't prosecute war criminals in the United States"

Eliot Abrams

Jon Schwarz /The Intercept

On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. *Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people.

The next day, December 12, was the first day on the job for Elliott Abrams as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. Abrams snapped into action, helping to lead a cover-up of the massacre. News reports of what had happened, Abrams told the Senate, were “not credible,” and the whole thing was being “significantly misused” as propaganda by anti-government guerillas.

Ray Bonner, whose accurate reportage of the infamous El Mozote massacre was covered up by among others , the New York Times reports:

"In a testy exchange with Elliott Abrams on Wednesday, Representative Ilhan Omar resurrected the memory of El Salvador’s El Mozote massacre, one of the worst mass killings in modern Latin American history...

What happened in 1981? And what did Abrams have to do with it? *

More than 900 peasants were murdered in and around several villages in the eastern province of Morazán. Most were old men, women, and children. At the Roman Catholic church in El Mozote, soldiers separated men from their families, took them away, and shot them. They herded mothers and children into the convent. Putting their American-supplied M-16 rifles on automatic, the soldiers opened fire. Then they burned the convent. Some 140 children were killed, including toddlers. Average age: 6.

Omar’s questioning of Abrams was not artful, and Abrams wasn’t unreasonable in viewing it as a personal attack. But she was right to suggest that he had sought to diminish or even cover up the massacre by calling it communist propaganda. Nor was she wrong to question whether Abrams was ethically qualified to assume a high government position, with the mission to oust the Venezuelan dictatorship and promote democracy."

In comparison to war criminal Abrams, the next two reptiles are a side show...

Ken Starr

Charles Pierce opines:

"Ken Starr, leader of that decade's Great Penis Hunt and subsequent neglector of sexual assault claimsat Baylor University, is still wandering the landscape in full, noxious bloviation. And, as should be obvious by now, as long as there's a Fox News Channel, there will be a place for Starr to park his fugitive-from-respectability arse and discuss the issues of the day without having to worry about the vengeance of Clio, Muse of History, also known by her Marvel universe name, The Proclaimer (!)."

"...[he] threw Susan McDougal in jail because she wouldn't lie for him, and published every salacious detail he could gather about President Bill Clinton's assignations with Monica Lewinsky because he was encouraged to do so by an ambitious subordinate named Brett Kavanaugh..".

Oliver North, Tin Soldier

Convicted felon and National Rifle Association president Oliver North

From Jon Schwarz/The Intercept:

"NRA President Oliver North, spent years in the 1980s working together with large-scale cocaine traffickers and protecting a notorious narco-terrorist from the rest of the U.S. government.This reality about North has been largely covered up, first by North himself and then by Fox News and the passage of time. Thirty years later, it’s been almost totally forgotten. But the facts remain genuinely appalling.

When he announced North's appointment, Wayne LaPierre affirmed there’s “no one better suited to serve as our president,” and he’s correct. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias opined that the NRA “finds in Oliver North a leader worthy of its mission.” Peter Kornbluh, who was co-director of the Iran-Contra documentation project at the National Security Archive, is even more straightforward: North, he says, is “the perfect pick to further the NRA’s reputation for favoring bloodshed and criminality over responsible gun control and ownership.”


* El Mozote Massacre

** The Truth about El Mozote by Mark Danner The decision to devote an entire issue to the massacre and coverup at El Mozote, El Salvador might be former Tattler editor Tina Brown's most honorable act as editor of the New Yorker..,

The entire issue is devoted to Mark Danner's "The Truth About El Mozote"


Danner's report was subsequently published in book form in 1994 and in 2005 in a Granta series , "Classics of Reportage", The Massacre at El Mozote :A Parable of the Cold War.


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