Why we love mass murderers

Indonesian dictator Soeharto died yesterday. He was one of the 20th centuries most brutal dictators, killing over one million people in the name of strengthening his rule.

The Australian newspaper, however, decides to praise the man and primarily discusses his economic “reforms”. Of course, if Cambodia’s Pol Pot had left his country in better financial shape, the Murdoch press would have undoubtedly praised him, too. These newspaper figures praise “stability”, “pro-Western” governments and “economic reform”. Human rights are largely irrelevant.

The paper’s editorial today proves this point:

Despite his many failings, Australia has reason to be thankful for the steadying hand former Indonesian president Suharto brought to the world’s most populous Muslim nation, immediately to our north.

Hitler improved Germany’s economy, too and the trains ran on time.

Once a friend of Western elite power – unless you’re somebody like Saddam Hussein who turned on his original Western backers – always a friend of the Western business and media elite.

UPDATE: The CIA has described the effects of Soeharto’s takeover of Indonesia as “the worst mass murders of the second half of the 20th century.”

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