Pat Robertson just set off another verbal M80 with his call for the assassination of democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Robertson is no stranger to oral detonation; his Christian Broadcast Network show, The 700 Club, is a minefield of political incorrectness. The classic example is his view of feminism, which he says encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. Elimination isnt new for him either: In 1988, running for president, he preached about eliminating drugs and pornography, then the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. He has even suggested nuking the State Department. And he had his firecrackers and matches ready when Mr Chávez, in his weekly Hello President broadcast (arent you glad we dont have those?), stated, If I am assassinated, there is only one person responsible: the president of the United States. Pat called Venezuela, the fourth largest supplier of oil to the U.S., a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism. He lit the fuse with You know, I dont know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks were trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. Its a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And then came the ka-boom:
We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We dont need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator . . . Its a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
Pat Robertson, August 22
Our department doesnt do that kind of thing. Its against the law. Hes a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.
Secretary of Defense
Donald H. Rumsfeld, August 23
Mr. Roberts is, of course, no ordinary private citizen. The United States might not permit its citizens to use its territory and airwaves to incite terrorists abroad and the murder of a democratically elected president. Venezuela demands that the U.S. abide by international and domestic law and respect its country and our president.
Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuelas ambassador
to the United States, August 23
The ball is in the U.S. court, after this criminal statement by a citizen of that country. Its huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those.
Venezuelan Vice President
Jose Vicente Rangel, August 23
I dont even know who that person is.
Hugo Chávez, August 23
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Stop the planet, please. I think Pat should get off. Alternatively, we could just shoot him out of a cannon, Hunter S. Thompson style.
filthy assistant, Livejournal.com, August 23
Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement.
Pat Robertson, August 25