I have to admit; I read Vladimir Putin’s New York Times op-ed with amazement; not so much at what he said, but how much he sounded like a typical Republican practicing the fine art of cognitive dissonance.
Actually, George W. Bush was the first administration to fully utilize the fact that news cycles have become instantaneous. “Dubyah” had so many scandals going down on a daily/hourly basis that legitimate news companies-yes, some still existed back then-couldn’t keep up with the daily flood of malfeasance from the Bush administration and eventually just gave up.
It’s essentially the same tactic the Republicans use now, only in reverse. They simply tell too many lies about President Obama for anyone to have time to dispute, much less disprove.
But I digress; back to Mr. Putin…
If I may, Mr. Putin, you probably just “forgot” a few teeny-tiny facts in your sanctimonious, fictionalized, stroll down his path to liar’s hell.
There was not a single mention in Putin’s article, which he absurdly addressed to the American people, of the egregious crimes committed by the Syrian government and extensively documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry. There was no reference to similar heinous crimes against local and international human rights groups. Likewise, Mr. Putin, ” just forgot” to allude to the deliberate and indiscriminate killings of tens of thousands of civilians, executions, torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests taking place under the murderous thug, Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Wow, what a surprise. I almost expected him to claim Obama was born in Kenya.
And oddly, his op-ed also makes no mention of Russia’s ongoing transfer of arms to Assad over the last two and a half years.
Liar Liar Bryuki on Fire
Taking a cue from(take your pick) FOX Noise, Rafael Ted Cruz, “Bed-Hair” Paul, etc., the Russian president deliberately accentuated the role of Islamic extremists in the Syrian conflict. And I have no doubt that many rebel groups have committed abuses and atrocities. But Putin failed to mention that it has been the Syrian government that has been responsible for shooting peaceful protesters (before the conflict even started) and detaining and brutalizing their leaders – many of whom remain detained.
Putin’s plea to use the United Nations Security Council to resolve the conflict sounds great, until you remember that, from the very start of this conflict, Russia has vetoed or blocked any Security Council action that may bring relief to Syria’s civilians, much less bring perpetrators of abuses in Syria to be held accountable.
While Russia’s proposal for international monitoring of Syria’s chemical weapons is a welcome step, it will do nothing to bring justice to hundreds of victims of the latest attack, let alone to thousands of others, killed by conventional weapons. And when Putin squarely blames the opposition for the 21 August chemical attack – against all available evidence and without presenting a shred of his own evidence – I have to wonder why Russia remains so vehemently opposed to referring Syria to the International Criminal Court. I mean that would be fully in line with international law, which Putin says he’s so keen to uphold in his op-ed, and would enable an investigation into abuses by both sides of the conflict.
Finally, the sincerity of Putin’s talk about democratic values and international law is impossible to take seriously when back home his own government continues to throw activists in jail, and rubber-stamps draconian and discriminatory laws.
President Putin should have given more credit to his audience: Russia will be judged by its actions, both on the international arena and domestically. So far, Russia has been a key obstacle to ending the suffering in Syria. A change towards a more constructive role would be welcome. But a compilation of half-truths and accusations is not the right way to signal such a change.
But it might just get him a speaking role at the next Republican National Convention.
Harvey A. Gold