Chickenhawks on Parade

The latest Democratic Party shill to demonize Russia is, I am ashamed to say, my state of Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner, who, on Thursday said “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election.” Last Thursday, Warner was the top Democrat on a Senate Intelligence Committee panel investigating Moscow’s alleged interference in last year’s presidential election. The panel inevitably included carefully selected expert witnesses who would agree with the proposition that Russia is and was guilty as charged. There was no one who provided an alternative view even though a little Googling would have surfaced some genuine experts who dispute the prevailing narrative.

Warner joined many of his esteemed colleagues in Congress who have completely accepted the allegations that Russia meddled in the election in spite of the failure of the Obama Administration to provide any indisputable evidence to that effect. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland has called Moscow’s claimed interference an “attack” and labeled it a “political Pearl Harbor.” A number of other congressmen, to include Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Eric Swalwell of California have called it an act of war. And then there are echo chambers Senators John McCain and Mark Rubio on the Republican side of the aisle while former Vice President Dick Cheney was speaking at a business conference in New Delhi saying the same thing. Yes, that Dick Cheney. Why anyone in India would pay to hear him speak on any subject escapes me.

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Democrat Adam Schiff of California is leading the charge for his party as he is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. He outlined his case against Russia two weeks ago, providing a heap of minimally factual “information”, relying heavily instead on supposition and featuring mostly innuendo. And again, it was largely evidence-free. One assertion is almost comical: “In July 2016, Carter Page, one of Trump’s former national security advisers, traveled to Moscow after being approved to do so by the Trump campaign. While there, Page gave a speech in which he was critical of the U.S. and its efforts to fight corruption and promote democracy.”

Almost everyone I know who follows such matters is also critical of U.S. (hypocritical) efforts to promote democracy, a formulation wildly popular among Hillary Clinton style Democrats to enable attacking Muslim countries that have somehow offended either Israel or the Washington Establishment. But what is particularly disturbing about the constant denigration of Russia and Vladimir Putin in the media and among the political class is the regular invocation of war doctrine, that hacking a server by a foreign power, if it took place, is in the same category as the attack on Pearl Harbor. That World War 3 would be a nuclear holocaust does not seem to have occurred to politicians seeking a punchy line so they can get cited in The Washington Post. It leads one to the inevitable conclusion that war is far too serious a business to be left to politicians.

But what particularly offends me personally about those eager to go toe to toe with the Russians is their complete venality and fundamental cowardice. As a Vietnam era vet, I understand full well how it feels to have your life disrupted to go off and possibly die to fight a war that was totally meaningless. Our crowd of politicians is fond of talking about war as if it were some kind of diversion being featured on a monopoly board and that is precisely because they have no skin in the game. They somehow fancy that a shooting war will somehow not happen, that Russia will back down in a confrontation with force majeur, and they deep down feel completely immune to the consequences that might result from their ill-advised actions. And they are unfortunately in large part correct to feel so, as no one was ever held accountable for Iraq. Consequences that apply to the “little people” in the U.S. do not apply to them.

Under the rule of our bipartisan war-loving elites the United States has evolved from a bumbling giant into something far more threatening. The completely useless wars since 9/11 have killed nearly 10,000 American soldiers and contractors as well as hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the inhabitants of the countries that we have attacked. I would hold Congress, the White House and the mainstream media as directly responsible for those deaths. As former Ambassador Chas Freeman puts it, “America has now chosen publicly to redefine itself internationally as the foreign relations equivalent of a sociopath – a country indifferent to the rules, the consequences for others of its ignoring them, and the reliability of its word. No nation can now comfortably entrust its prosperity or security to Washington, no matter how militarily powerful it perceives America to be.”

Which inevitably leads to the subject of Dick Cheney. When it comes to hypocrisy over war as a constant state for the American Republic with absolutely no consequences for those who lead, no one takes a back seat to good old Dick. Dick had five deferments during Vietnam and he has explained that he had had “other priorities.” He and his consigliere Scooter Libby, together with Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, might have had more to do with America’s march to war in Iraq than any other individuals in the Bush Administration. And none of them paid any price except Libby who was convicted of having committed perjury connected to his apparent outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband’s refutation of claims about Iraq buying uranium from Niger. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison but had his jail time commuted by President George W. Bush.

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