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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 7, Issue 28: July 11, 2005

  1. London Attacked
  2. Che Guevara, Murderer
  3. THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW -- Summer 2005 Issue Now Available

1) London Attacked

"More than likely, the real underlying purpose of the London attacks was similar to that of the Spanish train bombings in March 2004 on the eve of the Spanish elections," writes Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace & Liberty, in new op-ed on last week's terrorist bombings, which reportedly have killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds more.

"Al Qaeda is likely looking for a similar outcome in Britain, a country much more vital to the Bush administration's war effort in Iraq than Spain," Eland continues. "In contrast to Spain's primarily symbolic importance for the U.S. war and occupation, the British have about 8,500 capable troops in Iraq. Britain is the only nation in the world to provide more than symbolic support for the globally unpopular U.S. military adventure in Iraq."

British public opinion, Eland notes, is more strongly opposed to the Iraq war and occupation than is American public opinion. The "Downing Street Memo" and other secret government documents about the run-up to the Iraq war have received more press coverage -- and greater condemnation -- in the United Kingdom than in the United States. Americans -- or at least the public statements of U.S. leaders -- also lag in their understanding of the motives for the London terrorist attacks, as well as the 9/11 attacks, Eland also argues.

"Anytime non-combatants are purposefully killed, a monstrous moral crime has been committed. But in the United States, no one ever seems to ask why the attackers are motivated to commit such horrendous acts. Much of the U.S. public seems to believe President Bush’s erroneous claim that the Islamists are attacking the United States because it is 'free' instead of honestly examining the history of the U.S. government’s profligate meddling in the affairs of other countries. In fact, the United States is less free these days because of its interventionist foreign policy and the extra security needed to guard against such terrorist blowback."

See "Why Did Terrorists Strike London?" by Ivan Eland (7/11/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1534
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"¿Por qué los Terroristas Atacaron Londres?"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1534

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=19

"The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland
http://www.independent.org/publications/policy_reports/detail.asp?type=full&id=16

Center on Peace & Liberty
http://www.independent.org/research/copal/

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2) Che Guevara, Murderer

Ernesto "Che" Guevara (1928-1967), the Argentina-born revolutionary who helped Castro come to power in Cuba, has long been lionized by the hard left. Guevara's posthumous popularity has accelerated in recent years -- especially since the 2004 release of "The Motorcycle Diaries," a feature film based on his early autobiographical writings -- making him a crossover superstar whose likeness appears on countless T-shirts, posters and tattoos, and who has been cited as an inspiration for political dissidents from Latin America to Lebanon to Hong Kong.

Yet the reality of Che Guevara's life is far different from the popular perception, as Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa explains in a new article in the July 11 & 18 issue of THE NEW REPUBLIC.

It's safe to assume that many people now sporting radical-chic Che T-shirts oppose capital punishment, but Che Guevara served as an executioner for Castro, as Guevara himself admitted in some of his diary entries, notes Vargas Llosa, author of LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA. Guevara, for example, admitted to shooting Eutimio Guerra in January of 1957 because he suspected him of passing on information. He also admitted to having shot a peasant named Aristidio, although he wasn't certain he could justify that execution, as well as a man named Echevarría, the brother of a comrade. On the eve of victory for the revolution, Guevara ordered the execution of a couple dozen people in the central Cuban region of Santa Clara, according to Jaime Costa Vázquez (a.k.a. "El Catalán"), a former commander in the Cuban revolutionary army whom Vargas Llosa interviewed for the article.

But Che Guevara's killing spree didn't reach its apex until after the corrupt Batista regime collapsed and Castro put Guevara in charge of the San Carlos de La Cabaña prison.

José Vilasuso, a lawyer and professor in Puerto Rico who had served with the group in charge of the judicial process at La Cabaña prison, told Vargas Llosa that one night in 1959 he witnessed the execution of seven political prisoners. Another witness, Javier Arzuaga, a clergyman more inclined toward the liberation theology of Leonardo Boff than the conservatism of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, told Vargas Llosa that Che Guevara never overturned a sentence. He said he personally witnessed 55 executions, including that of a young boy named Ariel Lima. Estimates of the number of executions of political prisoners during the six months that Che Guevara was in charge of La Cabaña vary. Economist Armando Lago has compiled a list of 179 executions. Pedro Corzo, who is making a documentary about Che Guevara, puts the number at 200. Vilasuso told Vargas Llosa that 400 political prisoners were executed under Guevara's command.

Whether Che Guevara executed 400 political prisoners or "only" 200, it's hard to see how self-styled "progressives" can continue to justify their worship of the murderer. For those who refuse to blame the "idealistic" Che for these executions, which took place without regard for due process, Alvaro Vargas Llosa also notes Guevara's Taliban-like rule of the city of Sancti Spiritus in 1958, his ordering of his men to rob banks during the revolution, his rationalization of the Guanahacabibes labor camp, his negotiation with Khrushchev to acquire 42 Soviet missiles, half of them armed with nuclear warheads, his destruction of the Cuban economy, and his reckless revolutionary sojourns throughout Latin America and to the Congo, spreading violence and fostering only more misery.

Those in search of a genuinely heroic Latin American reformer, Vargas Llosa notes, will find one in Juan Bautista Alberdi of 19th century Argentina. Alberdi helped depose Argentina's tyrant of that era (Juan Manuel Rosas) and introduced his country to the ideas of constitutionalism, open trade, greater immigration, and secure property rights -- which when implemented brought 70 years of prosperity to Argentina and did so without staining Alberdi's hands with blood.

See "The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (THE NEW REPUBLIC, 7/11 & 18, 2005)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1535 (Subscription required.)

Also see:

LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=55

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

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3) THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW -- Summer 2005 Issue Now Available

We are very pleased to announce the publication of the Summer 2005 issue of our quarterly journal, THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW: A Journal of Political Economy, edited by Robert Higgs: http://www.independentreview.org.

The following questions are among those addressed in the Summer 2005 issue:

* Why do people love government as much as they do?
* How can F. A. Hayek's insights improve the political prospects of free-market environmentalism?
* What do Muslims think about the rule of law, constitutional democracy, and economic freedom?
* In what way do competitive markets communicate better than deliberative democracy?
* What did Franklin Roosevelt's proposed Second Bill of Rights presuppose about the nature of rights?
* What does the philosophy that underlies the U.S. Constitution imply about the "presumption of liberty"?
* How is the traditional economic debate about the pros and cons of the euro misleading?

The contents includes the following articles, debates, review essays, and book reviews.

ARTICLES:

"The People’s Romance: Why People Love Government (as Much as They Do)"
By Daniel B. Klein (George Mason University and the Ratio Institute, Stockholm)
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?issueID=42&articleID=536

"Liberty, Markets, and Environmental Values: A Hayekian Defense of Free-Market Environmentalism"
By Mark Pennington (Queen Mary College, University of London)

"Islam and the Institutions of a Free Society"
By Stefan Voigt (University of Kassel)
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?issueID=42&articleID=538

"The Communicative Character of Capitalistic Competition: A Hayekian Response to the Habermasian Challenge"
By Michael Wohlgemuth (Walter Eucken Institut, Freiburg)

CONTROVERSY:

"Sunstein on Rights"
By Max Hocutt (University of Alabama)

"Confusing Rights: A Reply to Hocutt"
By Cass R. Sunstein (University of Chicago)

REVIEW ESSAY:

"Freedom and the Burden of Proof: Randy E. Barnett’s New Book on the Constitution"
By Timothy Sandefur (Pacific Legal Foundation)

BOOK REVIEW:

THE EURO AS POLITICS
By Pedro Schwartz
Reviewed by Enrico Colombatto (Universita di Torino)
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?issueID=42&articleID=542

For a summary and links to selected articles and to all book reviews, see
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/

For back issues (entire contents posted after two issues), see
http://www.independent.org/store/tir/orderbackissues.asp

For subscription information, see
http://www.independent.org/store/tir/subscriptions.asp

For our Library Subscription Recommendation Form, see
http://independent.org/publications/tir/library.asp

For the Editorial Board, see
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/staff-editorial_board.asp

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