Wolfowitz is right

by John Q on September 16, 2004

Since I don’t often agree with Paul Wolfowitz, it’s worth mentioning it when I do, particularly when he comments on an issue close to home. His opinion piece in todays NYT denounces the bringing of criminal defamation charges against the editor of leading Indonesian magazine Tempo for a piece criticising a powerful businessman[1].

Here’s a story in the Australian which makes it clear that the businessman in question is of the class who would be described, here in Australia, as colourful.

Most Australians were disappointed when the Indonesian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of one of the Bali bombers on the grounds that the retrospective laws under which he was charged were invalid. (Hopefully, he can be retried and convicted under ordinary criminal law.) But cases like that of Tempo remind us that the rule of law is an invaluable social good and should not be tampered with even for worthy ends. I hope, as indicated in the Oz report, that the courts will throw this case in the dustbin where it belongs.

It also worth emphasising that, despite incidents like this, and the Jakarta bombing that the general trend of events in Indonesia is remarkably favorable. Elections are going smoothly the intercommunal religious strife that threatened to destroy the country a couple of years ago has pretty much ceased and the military is being eased out of politics (the likely winner of the presidential election is a former general, but the real military candidate, Wiranto, ran a poor third in the first round of voting).

fn1. Australian readers will remember similar charges being brought against Communist writer Frank Hardy for his thinly-disguised portrayal of John Wren in Power without Glory. The book was certainly defamatory and many of the claims in it undoubtedly false, but the prosecution failed and rightly so. This should have been a civil action.



mpj9 09.16.04 at 9:14 am

Sure, he’s right about this, but why’s he writing about this? Isn’t Russia a much bigger problem, from Wolfowitz’s point of view, this week? (Of course, North Korea has also been problematic this week, but not in the same sort of way.)


bad Jim 09.16.04 at 9:49 am

What is this, Wolfowitz appreciation days? Did he die, or something? Yesterday Tapped had nice things to say about him and the Philippines.


Merkin 09.16.04 at 1:35 pm

I can’t wait for Perle’s libel suit against Hersch to get going. That’s really going to be a — oh, wait. Never mind.


Elaine Supkis 09.16.04 at 3:47 pm

Wolfie doesn’t want Enron prosecuted, either, indeed, the entire GOP wants only Martha Stewart in prison.


mike d 09.16.04 at 3:47 pm

Actually, the Wolf used to be US Ambassador to Indonesian (under Bush I), and is (I understand) still fairly respected for his opinions there. Certainly, I’d take his word on Indonesia farther than his word on Russia.


Elaine Supkis 09.16.04 at 3:50 pm

Wolfie doesn’t want Enron prosecuted, either, indeed, the entire GOP wants only Martha Stewart in prison.


mike d 09.16.04 at 3:50 pm

…er, obviously, that’s supposed to be “Ambassador to Indonesia”


ath 09.20.04 at 2:27 am

Tempo is one of the tool the CIA use to bring down the previous weak government after Suharto.

The charge of arson and corruption maybe true, but is the possibiity of political play.

It is no secret Bush was trying to play the election and pissing off the current president.

but it seem the elction is running to its completion.

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