This is the same as a lawyer arguing that his client did indeed shoot the victim, but the victim would have died anyway. This is the same as John Bolton defending his facilitation of the Iraq invasion by claiming that you can’t prove that the region wouldn’t have plunged into chaos without the invasion.

This is nonsense. If you acknowledge that (A) the Trump administration has waged economic warfare against Venezuela and (B) that economic warfare has an effect, then you have necessarily disqualified yourself from making the argument that the counterfactual in the absence of sanctions would have been the same movement from dangerously high inflation to deadly hyperinflation. To argue that economic recovery couldn’t have happened in the absence of sanctions is to take the nonsensical position that things which do make a difference didn’t make any difference. The US government waging economic warfare on Venezuela has killed your ability to rationally argue that its current deadly situation has nothing to do with the US government.

Your argument is not just devoid of logic, it’s devoid of morality. Those who place all their emphasis on how badly the Venezuelan economy was doing before the sanctions should be more outraged by these deaths than I am, not less, and you should be condemning this administration more aggressively than I am, not less, because you’re acutely aware of how at-risk the Venezuelan population already was. Saying that the economy was already floundering before the sanctions hit (a point fully and explicitly acknowledged in the report) and then arguing that it wasn’t pure evil for the Trump administration to smash their economy with sanctions is defending an assault on a population which you had to have known would be deadly. Argue against Maduro’s policies all you want, but to do so without also forcefully objecting to the sanctions leveled against them is to support the mass murder of civilians.

I write about the end of illusions.

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