Rus­sian hack­ing and glass houses

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - OPINION -

Many top U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have con­cluded that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin di­rected a se­cret in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tion for the pur­pose of dis­cred­it­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton, thereby help­ing Don­ald Trump win the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Hil­lary Clin­ton has done more to dis­credit her­self, go­ing back to her time as first lady of Arkansas, than the Rus­sians could ever do.

Ac­cord­ing to an April 2015 Quin­nip­iac Uni­ver­sity poll, a ma­jor­ity of U.S. vot­ers, 54 per­cent, found Hil­lary Clin­ton to be dis­hon­est and un­trust­wor­thy. As Elec­tion Day ap­proached, an ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post poll found 46 per­cent of re­spon­dents thought Trump more trust­wor­thy.

Granted, this last poll fol­lowed emails and doc­u­ments the in­tel­li­gence agen­cies claim Rus­sia hacked from the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and the post­ing of “fake news” on so­cial me­dia. Even so, if Hil­lary Clin­ton had con­sis­tently dis­played good char­ac­ter, it would have been dif­fi­cult for any­one to smear her.

While Democrats and some Repub­li­cans are blast­ing Rus­sia, they should re­call du­bi­ous ac­tions by the United States. Pres­i­dents from both par­ties have a long his­tory of ly­ing and at­tempt­ing to dic­tate who should rule other na­tions.

The John F. Kennedy Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary and Mu­seum web­site re­minds: “... on Novem­ber 1, 1963, the South Viet­namese gov­ern­ment was over­thrown. The coup had the tacit approval of the Kennedy ad­min­is­tra­tion. Pres­i­dent Diem was as­sas­si­nated, af­ter re­fus­ing an Amer­i­can of­fer of safety if he agreed to re­sign.”

In 1973, Henry Kissinger urged Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon to over­throw the demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment in Chile be­cause Kissinger be­lieved Pres­i­dent Sal­vador Al­lende’s “model ef­fect can be in­sid­i­ous,” ac­cord­ing to now un­clas­si­fied doc­u­ments from the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ar­chive.

Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush launched Op­er­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom in an ef­fort to rid the world of Iraq’s tyran­ni­cal dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein on the pre­tense that he had, or was de­vel­op­ing, weapons of mass de­struc­tion, which were never found.

Pres­i­dent Obama un­der­mined the gov­ern­ment of Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak, which led to the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Morsi, a leader in the rad­i­cal Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. He was re­placed by the cur­rent gov­ern­ment, in­stalled by Egyp­tians dis­pleased with the rad­i­cals, de­spite op­po­si­tion from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Pres­i­dent Obama and Hil­lary Clin­ton ad­vo­cated for the over­throw of Libyan dic­ta­tor Muam­mar el-Qaddafi, which cre­ated a vac­uum filled by ter­ror­ists who mur­dered the U.S. am­bas­sador and two other Amer­i­cans in Beng­hazi.

The flip­side of wrong-headed ac­tion is wrong-headed in­ac­tion. In Iran, dur­ing the 2009 peace­ful protests by those who claimed that Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad had stolen the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion from Mir Hus­sein Mous­savi, the top chal­lenger, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fered con­dem­na­tion, but lit­tle else, when ac­tion might have had a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence. Peace­ful pro­tes­tors were shot in the streets, ar­rested, tor­tured and im­pris­oned with­out trial (not that any trial in Iran would have been fair) and the Ay­a­tol­lahs tight­ened their grip. Iran is now on a course that will likely end with the de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons.

Pres­i­dent Obama also urged Bri­tons to vote against Brexit and re­main with the Euro­pean Union.

Is any of this morally dif­fer­ent from what Putin al­legedly or­ches­trated to in­flu­ence the Amer­i­can elec­tion?

U.S. pres­i­dents and politi­cians have been ly­ing to us for decades, go­ing back to the U-2 in­ci­dent when Pres­i­dent Eisen­hower first de­nied and then was forced to ad­mit that the spy plane had flown over the Soviet Union.

Mil­i­tary lead­ers in­flated the body counts of en­emy dead in Viet­nam in a failed at­tempt to con­vince the pub­lic that we were win­ning.

“Of­fi­cials from the United States Cen­tral Com­mand al­tered in­tel­li­gence re­ports to por­tray a more op­ti­mistic pic­ture of the war against the Is­lamic State in Iraq and Syria,” writes The New York Times. And as The New York Post re­ported in Septem­ber 2015, “An open re­volt is un­der­way within the U.S. in­tel­li­gence es­tab­lish­ment, with more than 50 vet­eran an­a­lysts charg­ing their re­ports on ISIS were sys­tem­at­i­cally changed to re­flect the White House line.”

Any Rus­sian in­volve­ment in the Novem­ber elec­tion ap­pears to have un­cov­ered in­for­ma­tion that Democrats were try­ing to hide and that re­porters missed or ig­nored. What’s worse, the deeds or the way the deeds were dis­cov­ered?

Given Amer­ica’s record of meddling in other coun­tries and of lead­ers who have lied to us, we shouldn’t throw stones from glass houses.

Cal

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