One of the benefits to the U.S. national-security establishment of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is that it has enabled the U.S. mainstream press to focus on the evils of the Russian regime rather than on the evils of the U.S. regime.
Consider, for example, the invasions and long-term occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which, most everyone would concede, were riddled with official lies. Given all the attention of the mainstream press on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, those two U.S. invasions and occupations have gone down a memory hole. It’s as though they just didn’t happen.
But they did happen, and, in the process, hundreds of thousands of people were killed. In fact, the Pentagon and the CIA wreaked much more death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq than Russia has wreaked in Ukraine, at least so far. But you’d never know it, given the immediate, massive attention of the mainstream media on “Russia bad!” and virtually none on the U.S. invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Congress has just spent several weeks investigating the January 6 protests at the Capitol, where there was only one person killed — and that was when a scared Capitol police officer shot an unarmed protestor.
Why not extensive congressional investigations into the U.S. invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of people were killed, maimed, or injured and where cities, towns, and infrastructure were destroyed? What would be wrong with subpoenaing Pentagon, CIA, and State Department officials, both now and in the past, to determine how the lies relating to those two interventions got established and maintained? How about subpoenaing former U.S presidents and asking them under oath what they knew about the lies, when they first knew about them, and why they didn’t tell the truth to the American people?
No, that just won’t happen because everyone in the United States is expected to remain transfixed on “Russia bad!” which, of course, was the old Cold War mindset that guided the media back then as well.
Whatever might be said about the Russian regime and its president Vladimir Putin, one thing is crystal clear: Neither one of them has taken away our rights and freedoms here in the United States. Oh sure, it’s true that they have taken away the rights and freedoms of the Russian people, but that’s different from taking away the rights and freedoms of the American people.
State-sponsored assassinations. Indefinite detention. Torture. Mass secret surveillance. Military tribunals. Coups. Invasions and wars of aggression. Incarceration for drug offenses. Asset forfeiture (i.e., legalized stealing). No-knock raids in the middle of the night. Drug-war harassment and killing of black Americans. Warrantless immigration searches and domestic highway checkpoints. Boarding of Greyhound buses to check people’s papers. The prosecutions and persecutions of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
How often do you see the mainstream press condemning any of this evil on the part of the U.S. government? Answer: Hardly ever. Their focus is almost exclusively on “Russia bad!”
Moreover, when it comes to an authoritarian regime like Russia, there is always no shortage of horrible things to talk or write about. And even if Americans get tired of reading about “Russia bad!” the U.S. press can then turn to Cuba, North Korea, China, or even Vietnam. In a pinch, they might even turn to the evils of the regimes in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.
As I point out in my new book An Encounter with Evil: The Abraham Zapruder Story, it is always easy to identify and confront evil within foreign regimes. It takes no courage whatsoever. Anyone can do it. Unless one travels to those regimes, the chance that such regimes will do something bad to the critic is virtually nonexistent. It is safe for an editorial writer or op-ed writer to sit back here in the United States in the comfortable confines of his office or home and write editorials and op-eds exclaiming “Russia bad!”
It’s a completely different matter identifying and confronting evil within one’s own regime. Just ask Russians who criticize Putin and their own government. Unlike those courageous Russian critics, all too many editorial and op-ed writers here at home have concluded that discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to identifying and confronting evil within their own regime here at home. It’s safer to remain silent and just continue focusing on “Russia bad!”