Vladimir Putin has contributed an op-ed to the New York Times
, of all venues, and the results are a must-read. He makes a ton of sense -- more-or-less admitting that his ally in Syria, Bashar Assad, is no angel, but also pointing out that the Nusra Front is linked to Al Qaeda. For our purposes, here is (perhaps) the most important bit:
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.
First I've heard of those reports. Damned clever of Putin to get it on the record in such a public place before it happens. That way, if it does
happen, everyone will know where to place the blame.
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
The leader of Russia, folks. That's
how he talks. Never thought I'd see the day.
Putin is right. The United States is the most religious major nation in the world, yet -- simultaneously -- Americans like to consider themselves better than others. It's not difficult to guess what Jesus would say about that sort of arrogance.
Can one score Putin for hypocrisy? Of course. He hasn't treated gay people as equals. The tradition of Slavic messianism is even older, and even more insidious, than is the idea of American exceptionalism.
But in the end -- so what? Anyone
who expresses the sentiment found in Putin's closing statement opens himself up to charges of hypocrisy. That unhappy fact of the human condition doesn't mean that the words should go unsaid.
The WP offers a hilariously skewed response to Putin. About the paragraph assigning blame for the gas attacks, the WP says:
This is the section of the op-ed that’s drawing by far the most criticism. There is very little reason to believe that rebels carried out the attack but strong circumstantial evidence that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime. An investigation by Human Rights Watch pointed to the Assad regime as responsible.
Apparently, Human Rights Watch is the go-to source on this, since the U.S. "evidence" has been as thin as onionskin. But as I noted in a previous post, the Human Rights Watch report was inane propaganda
HRW, in essence, said that the remains of the rockets used "strongly suggests" that the weapons were of the sort held by the Syrian government. But last December, CNN reported that the rebels had targeted Assad's chemical weapons stockpile for capture
-- and that they were doing so at the behest of (and with direction from) the United States.
So the HRW report is meaningless. And shame on the Washington Post for tossing that important CNN story down the Orwellian memory hole.
Shame, too, on Marcy Wheeler
for deciding that Assad perpetrated a militarily useless attack on civilians, an attack that could only serve the interests of his foes. Cui bono?
, Marcy! Don't let the propaganda distract you from asking what is always our first and best question!
What's next, Marcy? You think Oswald was the lone shooter?