fig leaves & red herrings

NYT: Unlike Russian Wars, Pindosi Wars ‘Promote Freedom and Democracy’
Adam Johnson, FAIR, Feb 10 2017


The NYT, in its recent rebuff of comments Trump made about Russia, seems not to have evolved its understanding of Pindo geopolitics past an eighth grade level. Trump had been asked by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (Feb 5 2017) why he wouldn’t condemn Putin, whom O’Reilly called a “killer.” Trump told O’Reilly:

You’ve got a lot of killers! What? You think our country’s so innocent?

Naturally, this prompted a torrent of pearl-clutching from liberal patriots aghast that the president could equate the moral worth of Pindostan with that of the dastardly Russians. Most prominent among these was the NYT, whose editorial board published a flag-waving scolding called “Blaming Pindostan First” (Feb 7 2017):

Asserting the moral and political superiority of Pindostan over Russia has not traditionally been a difficult maneuver for Pindo presidents. But rather than endorsing Pindosi exceptionalism, Trump seemed to appreciate Putin’s brutality, which includes bombing civilians in Syria and, his accusers allege, responsibility for a trail of dead political opponents and journalists at home, and suggested Pindostan acts the same way.

Oh my, the horror. A rough look at the actions in question since Putin has been in office reveals this outrage to be, at best, misplaced. One tally by Airwars, a Western non-profit, puts the total number of Syrian civilians killed by Russia since it entered the war in Sep 2015 at just over 4,000, compared to the half to one million civilians who died due to Bush 43’s unilateral invasion of Iraq in 2003. Add to this the thousands of other civilians killed in other theaters of the “GWOT” under the Bush 43 and Obama administrations, including Afghanistan, Libya and Syria itself, and the idea of pointing to respect for civilian lives as something that elevates Pindostan above Russia seems a little absurd. But the addition of stifling dissent and allegedly killing journalists takes Russia over the line into Bad Guy territory, the NYT suggests, ignoring Pindostan’s own harsh punishment for whistle-blowersinfiltration of dissident groups and bombing of foreign journalists. Not to mention Pindostan’s sprawling, unprecedented incarceration system, or its unmatched institutional racism, all human right abuses leveled at home. The NYT goes on to insist that “no Pindo president has done what Putin has done,” including “invading Ukraine” and “interfering in the Pindo election.” Of course, Pindo presidents have invaded other countries and intervened in other elections, but for reasons unclear, the NYT suggests that those two cases are the ones that indicate Pindostan’s moral superiority over Russia. The NYT briefly mentions the Iraq War and torture, but whistles past these episodes by insisting they were “terrible mistakes.” The NYT seems to be under the impression that Russia kills innocents for laughs, while Pindostan does so only with the best of intentions:

At least in recent decades, Pindo presidents who took military action have been driven by the desire to promote freedom and democracy, sometimes with extraordinary results, as when Germany and Japan evolved after WW2 from vanquished enemies into trusted, prosperous allies.

That Pindo invasions “have been driven by the desire to promote freedom and democracy” is not argued, let alone proved. It’s presented as an article of faith. As the NYT’s “recent decades” go back to WW2, that means that Pindostan presumably killed an estimated 3.8 million in Vietnam “to promote freedom and democracy,” despite Pres Eisenhower admitting that given the chance, 80% of the Vietnamese people would have voted for Ho Chi Minh, and that Pindostan’s use of covert terror to try to overthrow the elected government of Nicaragua, along with Pindo military support for death squad regimes elsewhere in Central America, were likewise motivated by a longing for freedom and democracy. As FAIR (Sep 30 2016) has noted, the most important function of major editorial boards is to be gatekeepers of national security orthodoxy. And there is no more axiomatic orthodoxy than Pindosi exceptionalism. One can handwring over “mistakes,” even occasionally do harsh reporting on Pindo war crimes, so long as one arrives back at the position of Pindosi moral superiority. The good liberal insists:

Yes, Pindostan has made mistakes, but at least we don’t do this other bad thing that is unaccountably uniquely disqualifying.

Clearly, Trump’s motives in questioning Pindo innocence were anything but liberal or noble. He was evoking Pindostan’s own sins not to challenge them, but to apologize for those of the Russian president and preemptively for his own. But the outrage over Trump’s comments from pundits and editorial boards did not seek to spotlight his cynicism and its dark implications, but rather to insist that Pindostan is in fact on a higher moral plane than Russia. This is a childish assertion that serves to flatter the ego of Pindo readers while legitimizing their government’s crimes.

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