For more heartening coverage of the hostage rescue in Colombia, see this story from Saturday’s Wall Street Journal and this opinion article, “Vindication for Colombia’s Uribe” from Saturday’s Washington Post. Schumacher-Matos usefully takes on Human Rights Watch for overstating Colombia’s human rights problems; this organization seems interested only in proving that “right-wing” regimes are terrible and seems entirely willing to overlook the depredations of “left-wing” narco-guerrillas. It seems to be a prisoner of the paradigm of Latin American studies departments-that all conflict in Latin America is between the left-leaning “people” and right-wing oppressive regimes. Believers of this paradigm overlook the fact that President Alvaro Uribe and his government have approval ratings from the people of Colombia far higher than those of almost any other leaders or governments in Latin America (or the United States, now and for most of recent history, for that matter). Schumacher-Matos does criticize Uribe for seeking to change the constitution and seek a third consecutive term. “He should build the legitimacy of the presidency by letting it go to someone else,” he concludes, without mentioning the shining example of such renunciation, George Washington. As much as I admire Uribe, I am inclined to think this is good advice.
One of the heartening things about the rescue operation is that the Colombian Army’s brilliant performance makes the FARC narco-guerrillas look like such idiots. They were completely bamboozled and fooled. Terrorists want us to live in fear of them. Now we are free to laugh at them. The greatest weapon against terrorism is ridicule. Who will want to enlist in the guerrilla army that can’t shoot straight? That everyone in the world is laughing at? That was outsmarted and outmaneuvered and humiliated?