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Friday, September 03, 2004

Miller Insanity vs. Dean Scream

Back in January, late at night and after days of relentless non-stop campaigning and a disheartening third place in the Iowa caucuses, Howard Dean gave a speech to his supporters, which when viewed from the right camera angles and with directional microphones picking Dean up but not his audience, had one small portion in it which made Dean seem, to some, to be a little unbalanced. This was reinforced when the cable news channels, having nothing better to show, decided to play the tape a few hundred times. The Dean scream may not have been the final nail in the coffin of the only vaguely anti-war campaign that the media gave a chance to, but it was certainly high in the top two.

Jump to September 1. A retiring supposedly Democratic Senator, Zell Miller of Georgia, gives the keynote address at the Republican National Convention. He has prepared for it for months, had few pressing demands on him in the days leading up to it. The camera angles and microphones were all arranged, presumably, to make him appear in the best possible light. Yet, practically from the start of his speech, just about any fifteen-second segment makes him look and sound like far more of a raving lunatic than Dean would have even if his "scream" had carried on for as long as a Mexican soccer announcer's "gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!" Even though the ground of insanity and mendacity had already been built up for him by the likes of Arnold Schwarzeneggar and the Bush twins, and he was followed by Satan himself, Dick Cheney, Miller came across as exceptionally creepy and crazy. He then topped it off by challenging MSNBC's Chris Matthews to a duel for questioning one of his statements.

But aside from a few mentions in general articles on the convention and some longer articles on the progressive sites I frequent, the "Miller scream" seems to have disappeared.

I wrote last night that Miller was wrong about Eisenhower leading troops in Korea. After WWII, Ike was president of Columbia University for a while, and then became the first commander of NATO forces before running for president. His main involvement in the Korean war was to end it. UN forces, which were mostly US, were under the commands of generals MacArthur, Ridgeway, Clark, and Taylor.

Also, Miller had this line: "It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it." Here's what says about post-war Iran:
At the Tehran Conference in 1943 the Tehran Declaration, signed by the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR, guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of Iran. However, the USSR, dissatisfied with the refusal of the Iranian government to grant it oil concessions, fomented a revolt in the north which led to the establishment (Dec., 1945) of the People's Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People's Republic, headed by Soviet-controlled leaders. When Soviet troops remained in Iran following the expiration (Jan., 1946) of a wartime treaty that also allowed the presence of American and British troops, Iran protested to the United Nations. The Soviets finally withdrew (May, 1946) after receiving a promise of oil concessions from Iran subject to approval by the parliament. The Soviet-established governments in the north, lacking popular support, were deposed by Iranian troops late in 1946, and the parliament subsequently rejected the oil concessions.
So basically, the UN did what it is supposed to do, resolving international conflicts. I'm sure Truman played a role, but basically the Soviets were given what they wanted and left.

And then there's Greece. I quoted from Chalmers Johnson last week:
But the story was different in Greece. We helped bring the militarists to power there, and the legacy of our complicity still poisons Greek attitudes toward the United States. There is probably no democratic public anywhere on earth with more deeply entrenched anti-American views than the Greeks. The roots of these attitudes go back to the birth of the Cold War itself, to the Greek civil war of 1946-49 and the U.S. decision embodied in the Truman Doctrine to intervene on the neofascist side because the wartime Greek partisan forces had been Communist-dominated. In 1949, the neofascists won and created a brutal right-wing government protected by the Greek secret police, composed of officers trained in the United States by the wartime Office of Strategic Services and its successor, the CIA.
So basically Miller is congratulating Truman for helping the Nazis come back into power, after the communist-led Greek resistance had spent years forcing them out.

All of the speakers at the Repug Convention did lots of historical revising for their own purposes. Most Americans probably don't know or care about the history of Iran or Greece or even Korea. But most know about September 11. And how the Bush crowd is able to spin that atrocity, on their watch, and for which they were ill-prepared even after Bush's Texas vacation, into a plus for their campaign, is beyond amazing. Did Hirohito's poll numbers jump after Hiroshima? What the Cheney is wrong with this country?