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Taking a Page from Joe McCarthy

By       Message Robert Parry       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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From Consortium News

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015.
(Image by (UN Photo))
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One trick of the original McCarthyism from the Old Cold War was to take some innocuous or accurate comment from a leader in Moscow -- saying something like "poverty is a cruel side of capitalism" or "racism persists in the U.S." -- and to claim that some American reformer who says much the same thing must be a Kremlin tool.

Now, in the New Cold War, we are seeing a similar trend in the way some Democrats and the mainstream U.S. media are citing accurate assessments from Russian President Vladimir Putin and claiming that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is somehow in league with Putin for observing the same realities.

A case in point is Tuesday's editorial in The Washington Post, entitled "The Putin-Trump worldview" (in print) and "Trump and Putin share a frightening worldview" (online). The editorial quotes Putin as "observing that Mr. Trump 'represents the interests of the sizable part of American society that is tired of the elites that have been in power for decades now ... and does not like to see power handed down by inheritance.'"

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The Post's editorial writers then snidely note that "Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump have an uncanny way of echoing each other's words."

But that is a classic example of McCarthyistic sophistry. Just because some demonized figure like Putin says something that is undeniably true and an American sees the same facts doesn't make that American a "Putin puppet" or a "Moscow stooge" or any of the other ugly names now being hurled at people who won't join in today's trendy Russia bashing and guilt by association.

Putin is not wrong that many of Trump's supporters -- along with many Americans who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders -- are "tired of the elites" that have behaved arrogantly and stupidly for decades. Many Americans also don't believe that a family's name should decide who becomes the leader of the United States, whether that be the Bushes or the Clintons.

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Indeed, what Putin is saying amounts to almost a truism, yet here is The Washington Post not only suggesting that because Putin is saying something that it must be false but then smearing Trump (or anyone else) who detects the same reality.

Double Standards

The same Post editorial also goes to great lengths to reject any comparisons between the Russian and Syrian government airstrikes on the Syrian neighborhoods of east Aleppo -- to root out Al Qaeda-connected jihadists and their supposedly "moderate" rebel allies -- and U.S. and Iraqi government airstrikes on the Iraqi city of Mosul under the control of Al Qaeda's spinoff group, the Islamic State.

U.S.-backed Syrian 'moderate' rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video.
U.S.-backed Syrian 'moderate' rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video.
(Image by [Screenshot from the YouTube video])
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Insisting that the two similar operations are nothing alike, the Post's editors white-out the central role of Al Qaeda in commanding the rebel forces in east Aleppo. While ignoring Al Qaeda's dominance of those neighborhoods and its terror rocket attacks on civilian areas of west Aleppo, the Post only says, "the rebel forces in Aleppo include Western-backed secular groups who seek only to overturn the blood-drenched Assad regime."

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Note the Post's characterization that rebel forces "include Western-backed secular groups" rather than an honest admission that those supposedly "secular groups" have served mostly as cut-outs in diverting sophisticated U.S. military weapons, such as TOW missiles, to the jihadist cause, a reality recognized by U.S. military advisers on the ground. [See Consortiumnews.com's "How the US Armed-up Syrian Jihadists."]

Many of these supposedly "secular groups" have openly allied themselves with Al Qaeda's recently rebranded Nusra Front (now called the Syria Conquest Front). This so-called "marbling" of the "moderates" in with the jihadists was one of the sticking points in the failed limited cease-fire in which the Post's beloved "secular groups" rebuffed Secretary of State John Kerry's plea that they separate themselves from Al Qaeda.

An intellectually honest newspaper would have at least admitted some of these inconvenient truths, but that is not the modern-day Washington Post with its own "blood-drenched" editors who played a crucial role in rallying support behind President George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq under false pretenses.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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