In response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, I am staggered by the arrant hypocrisy of our country’s Republican leaders. I find it difficult to come to terms with my emotions regarding the matter. When I listen to interviews about Russia’s attack from Mitch McConnell, Tucker Carlson, or Donald Trump, my gut responds with seething admixture of disbelief, disgust, and fury.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I remember vividly how our citizenry shared a common sense of national unity at the time. I am not saying that Democrats like me started to take a sudden liking to George Bush — far from it. It’s just that many of us, at least for a short while, shared the ideal of being American first.
People often forget the fact that, months prior to September 11, 2001, the CIA and FBI had received credible intelligence that indicated that terrorist groups were planning attacks on the United States with aircraft and that several foreigners associated with terrorist groups were receiving flight training in the United States. At the time, Republicans did their best to ignore these facts.
Instead, conservatives condemned anyone who said anything critical about George Bush and the Republican regime at the time. Anyone who forgot to wear their “God Bless America” pin, that didn’t have an “I support our troops” bumper sticker on their car, or had any less than five American flags visible somewhere on their property were deemed insufficiently patriotic.
Given the recent Republican responses to the Russia invasion, I am beginning to come to the conclusion that the Republican response to the events of 9/11 might have been a bit different had Bill Clinton or Barack Obama been president at the time.
A few days ago, McConnell seemed to take satisfaction in blaming the Russian attack on President Biden — as if Biden himself had somehow ordered the attack on Ukraine. McConnell made no mention of the fact that, while president, Trump weakened America’s geopolitical influence by suggesting that we might not support a fellow NATO nation if attacked. Nor did McConnell mention the fact that it was Trump, not Biden, who initially announced the timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
Can you imagine for a second, the reaction among the Fox News crowd if Chuck Schumer had made such a comment if a Republican were currently president? Schumer would be condemned as some sort of flag-burning, Al-Qaeda-loving, anti-American outcast. They would call for him, quite literally to be shot. Even worse, he would be called unpatriotic.
Republican politicians like McConnell, Pompeo, and Trump are the worst form of hypocrites. When they held the reigns of power during the leadup to the last Iraq war, they castigated anyone who said anything remotely critical of then President Bush as being unamerican, unpatriotic, and flat out traitorous. I am ashamed to admit that the thought has crossed my mind that Mitch McConnell, Mike Pompeo, and Donald Trump might secretly root for Putin’s success if it would result in a reduction in Biden’s approval ratings. Nothing is more important for them than holding on to power. Preserving the strength of American democracy and supporting our nation’s leaders over those of tyrants seems much less important to them.
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