And the trains ran on time, too!
Now consider Chile. Gen. Pinochet seized a country coming apart at the seams. He, too, clamped down on civil liberties and the press. He too dispatched souls. Chile's official commission investigating his dictatorship found that Pinochet had 3,197 bodies in his column; 87 percent of them died in the two-week mini-civil war that attended his coup. Many more were tortured or forced to flee.
On the plus side, Pinochet's abuses helped create a civil society. Once the initial bloodshed subsided, Chile was no prison. Pinochet built up democratic institutions and infrastructure. And by implementing free-market reforms, he lifted the Chilean people out of poverty. In 1988, he held a referendum and stepped down when the people voted him out. Today Chile is a thriving, healthy democracy. Its economy is the envy of Latin America, and its literacy and infant mortality rates are impressive.
You know, of course, Jonah, that Pinochet and his buddies, with the help of the CIA, overthrew a popularly-elected government and murdered the president, Salvador Allende.
It's not that long ago that people like Jonah - and undoubtedly Jonah himself - were mocking the critics of the Iraq war with, "Do you think it was better when Saddam Hussein was in charge?" Now they do! It is just too bad that Jonah has no ear for irony.
When Spot read Jonah's op ed piece, he thought that he should have a dialogue with Jonah, but Charlie beat Spot to it. Recommended.