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February 13th, 2007

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02:50 pm - Heroes and Assassins
After watching Pan's Labyrinth a few weeks ago, I read more about Spain under Francisco Franco, and that reminded me of a political event that I remember vividly from my childhood – the assassination of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco in 1973. He was Franco's chosen successor and was killed slightly less than two years before Franco died. It's fairly obvious from looking at the history of Spain since Franco, that his death, which forced Franco to select a far more moderate successor (the current monarch Juan Carlos) was a defining moment in Spain's transformation from a repressive fascist horror to a modern democracy.

In short, sometimes assassination is a truly excellent political tool. I'm generally strongly opposed to all forms of murder, including war (which from my PoV, consists of soldiers being sent out by their government to murder others and be murdered) and the death penalty (which, as I said in this post on the death penalty, I consider a particularly venal, pointless, and horrid sort of murder – the victim is by definition imprisoned and helpless, and so murdering them nothing more than vengeance and vengeance never accomplishes anything remotely useful or positive.

So, from my PoV, the only justifiable form of murder is one that saves or drastically improves the lives of others – that includes killing in self-defense and assassinating someone as a method of preventing them from doing more harm. The second is most obviously justified in cases when there is no other obvious method of removing the person from power. In any case, I praise and honor people who performed this and similar acts that killed those who would murder or enslave their populace. In this particular case, killing Franco would have been solely an act of vengeance, but killing his successor near the end of Franco's life was an act of brilliance and daring. Murder is never a good act, but from my PoV it is on rare occasions a vitally necessary one.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(7 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:February 13th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
agreed entirely
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Date:February 14th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
Hmmm... perhaps it is exactly because assassination is sometimes viewed as a valid political tool that heads of state find it necessary to raise an army to defend their "authority" and life. And so the cycle goes.
Date:February 14th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
Not exactly. I think the PNAC, for example, is less worried about being assassinated than they are about not owning the entire world.
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Date:February 14th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Most certainly.
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Date:February 14th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
It seems more like these armies primarily exist to conquer people and only secondarily serve to defend the tyrants. The greed and avarice of tyrants cannot be underestimated, and sometimes the only way to keep them from doing more harm is to kill them. The likes of you or I have no interest in effectively making millions or more people into our effective slaves, but some political and religious leaders take a horrifyingly vast pleasure in doing so.
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Date:February 14th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
killing his successor near the end of Franco's life was an act of brilliance and daring.

In retrospect, yes, it was. But the knowledge of the difference between good and evil is useless in hindsight, and no one knew the outcome at the moment the bomb went off. Were the assassins deserving of praise in that moment?
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Date:February 14th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
At the end of 1973 Franco was clearly on his last legs and his chosen successor is no better than he is. Killing Franco is pointless in 1973, but killing his successor breaks the line of succession and Franco isn't in particularly good shape to chose another who he can guarantee will carry on his policies. Honestly, it seems pretty brilliant and worthy of praise when it was done.

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