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Commentary: T-shirt depicts 'pathetic and brutal legacy'

  • Story Highlights
  • The Colombian Army infiltrated highest level of terror group to free 15 hostages
  • Beck: Uniform of choice when fooling terrorists in Colombia is Che Guevara T-shirt
  • Che, who was a "revered superhero," wasn't even a good revolutionary, Beck says
  • Beck: Instead of glorifying him, Che T-shirt could depict "pathetic and brutal legacy"
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By Glenn Beck
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Editor's note: Glenn Beck is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET and also hosts a conservative national radio talk show.

Glenn Beck

"If you have any respect for humanity, you shouldn't be wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt," Glenn Beck says.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- What T-shirt should you wear when you need to blend in with terrorists? Incredibly, we have an answer to that question.

Robin Meade conducted an exclusive interview that aired this past weekend on Headline News with Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, three of the 15 now-former captives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. It is a leftist terror group that has specialized in kidnapping during its war with the Colombian state and capitalism in general.

After their plane crashed, the captives spent five torturous years hoping to see their families again, at times being locked in boxes at night around rats, pigs and bats. Sometimes they had weights chained around their neck and were led around at gunpoint with a dog leash.

Upon finally escaping, Keith Stansell emotionally described the moment he laid eyes on his 5-year-old twins for the first time.

It took a rescue by the Colombian Army to reunite them with freedom and probably save their lives. The army posed as terrorists, persuading FARC to turn the prisoners over to them, saving 15 innocent victims of the brutal terrorism that has ripped Colombia apart for years.

But how did this happen? How did FARC get fooled?

Colombian Army members infiltrated the highest levels of the organization, telling FARC they were going to take the hostages to meet an "international mission." They landed in a helicopter and spent 22 minutes on the ground collecting the captives and speaking in code to one another before taking off and letting the victims (who included a former Colombian presidential candidate) know that they were safe.

So, what is the uniform of choice when fooling terrorists in Colombia?

Sure, there's plenty of talk of one intelligence team member, nervous about the mission, who wore a Red Cross symbol against orders. But other accounts confirm the use of something you can probably pick up at any mall: a Che Guevara T-shirt.

That's right, the same T-shirts you see Hollywood celebrities, starving pseudo-artists and confused hipster teens wearing around local coffee shops. To all those who decide that you want to be coffee house communist-chic, remember this: When you are wearing a Che T-shirt, you're wearing the same shirt that makes terrorists believe you're just one of the gang. I hope that latte is tasty.

How Che became such a revered superhero of the hard-core left is laughable. First of all, he wasn't even a good revolutionary. He failed in his attempt at world revolution almost as badly as communism has failed in the places it was actually tried.

"This is a history of a failure" is how he himself described his efforts in the Congo. He was killed in Bolivia, trying to fire up another failure of a war. Earlier, he even managed to drop his gun and shoot himself in the face.

But more important than his incompetence is the fact that the man was a mass killer. Hundreds were reportedly executed on his watch, and that doesn't include the deaths incurred in the wars he was constantly trying to start. He described his maniacal lust for war in his writings, saying he savored "the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood of the enemy's death." How this guy is a hero to the anti-war crowd is truly perplexing.

I should also point out what seemingly gets eliminated from the Hollywood movies attempting to glorify him: his bouts with racism. When describing the differences in the strife between "Europeans" and "the black," the supposedly progressive-minded Che wrote, "their different attitudes of life separate them completely: the black is indolent and fanciful, he spends his money on frivolity and drink; the European comes from a tradition of working and saving which follows him to this corner of America and drives him to get ahead."

Ohhhhh, so the "European" is a hard worker while "the black" is a fanciful drunk. Now I understand the difference.

I wonder if that quote would inspire the volunteer office of Barack Obama's Houston supporters to remove their Che flag. After it was spotted on the wall in a local news video, Obama's campaign, far from a haven for right-wing nut jobs, went out of its way to make sure everyone knew that it had nothing to do with the flag and didn't approve of its use. If Che were such a hero, why would that be necessary?

Revisionist history's fusion with fashion sense isn't exactly new, but its popularity seems to be growing. When actress Cameron Diaz showed up in Peru, she thought she had a trendy bag that might garner some jealous stares. People were staring, sure, but for all the wrong reasons.

The bag, purchased in China, featured a red star and the words "Serve the people" on it. The problem? That was Mao Zedong's most famous political slogan, and it stirred up memories of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency, which, according to the BBC, was responsible for 70,000 deaths in Peru during the '80s and '90s. Diaz apologized later for "inadvertently" offending anyone.

It's been five years since the story of convicted abortion clinic bomber and Olympic park bomber Eric Rudolph led the news. As he was evading police capture for months, stories of townspeople donning "Run Rudolph Run" bumper stickers were correctly greeted with horrified disdain.

With the exception of the fact that Che killed a lot more people, what's the difference? You shouldn't be wearing an "I heart abortion clinic bombers" T-shirt, and if you have any respect for humanity, you shouldn't be wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt, either.

Perhaps I should cash in on a Che T-shirt featuring his clichéd image too. Except this time, instead of glorifying him, it could specifically be designed to point out his pathetic and brutal legacy.

Honestly, though, I'm afraid I'd be sued. The communist revolutionary who dedicated his life to fight capitalism has now become nothing more than a piece of merchandise. Lesson learned: In the end, capitalism always wins.

When your only option is a Che shirt, maybe it's just better to go topless.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

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