One of the most incredible things about Putin fanboys is their total inability to detect irony. While to be fair, these folks inhabit a broad space on the political spectrum, most of them claim to be anti-war, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, and so forth. Yet when Russia goes to war using the same rhetoric, even right down to the “fight them there or fight them here” line originally used by right-wing pundits to justify prolonged occupation in Iraq, the so-called “anti-war” left and right line up to kiss Putin’s ass and cheer him on.
Here’s a perfect example for you: A Russia Insider Putin fanboy gushes over a quote from Putin that turned out to be fake (yes, to their credit they updated the story with that info, probably after their original source did so). No fake quote or no, US and other NATO leaders make tough statements about fighting terrorists all the time. And what is the average American or Western “dissident’s” response to those statements and claims? Bullshit, of course. Responses range from concern over civilian casualties to idiotic conspiracy theories accusing the government of orchestrating 9/11 and creating ISIS. But if this politician from a country they know little about gets up and says he’s going to kick some terrorist ass, many of the same people suddenly start cheering him on.
In the case of the US, regardless of whether the War on Terror strategy actually does what it’s supposed to do, you cannot deny that America has killed a lot of terrorists since 9/11. Sure, the ways it has gone about this has also created a lot of them, but if you know what you’re talking about you simply cannot deny that yes, ‘Murica has killed her a lotta turrists! In spite of that, you’ll never see one of those people reacting to American leaders’ tough talk on terrorism with anything but skepticism at best and counter-accusations at worst.
If I haven’t driven home the point on how oblivious these people are to their own hypocrisy, just check out the sources in the Russia Insider article- Fox News and The Daily Beast. That’s right, the “honest” “media skeptics” at Russia Insider are apparently more than happy to cite Fox News and the “anti-Russian” Daily Beast so long as it suits their purposes. Naturally they could claim that this particular Daily Beast article is actually reporting the truth, but then that would go against the claim that there’s a deliberate information war being waged against Russia by dozens of private and public media outlets around the world. After all, if the idea is to continually demonize Russia and wage information war against her, why would you ever allow accurate information to get through? I read the article in question, which is about the massive Russian bombing raid on the Islamic State “capital” of Raqqa, and it basically takes Russian claims at face value without raising any questions about civilian casualties which would inevitably result from such a large bombing raid on a populated area.
And once again that shows us how hypocritical some people can be. For whether it was bombing Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 or the president’s international drone warfare program, Americans, Westerners, leftists, and others have routinely criticized or at least questioned the wisdom and morality of aerial bombing campaigns. As well they should, but the fact is that since 1991 Russia has slaughtered quite a few of its own citizens with all kinds of bombardment, and since 2014 Ukrainians have got a taste of it as well. Despite these indisputable facts, Putin’s fanboys refuse to even discuss civilian casualties as a result of Russia’s recent campaign in Syria. Everyone a Russian bomb hits is a “terrorist.” Sound familiar?
In contrast to this breathless Putin-worship and cheerleading for what is essentially a cheap knockoff of Bush’s War on Terror, leftists and other opponents of that war began protesting as early as 29 September, 2001. The totally biased, “Western mainstream media” reported on civilian casualties from US bombing in Afghanistan practically from the beginning. Just look at the lead from the above-linked BBC article:
“The number of Afghan civilians killed by US bombs has surpassed the death toll of the 11 September attacks…”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that when it comes to assigning blame. And let’s fast forward back to the present. Here’s an article from The Guardian, which is about medical facilities which have been allegedly bombed by Russian airstrikes in Syria. “Ah, but what about the US bombing of the MSF hospital in Afgh…Oh wait. What’s that just under the headline?”
“Latest attack on Idlib hospital left at least 12 people dead and comes less than two weeks after a US attack on Kunduz hospital, Afghanistan”
Hmmm…This story isn’t even about Afghanistan, but they throw that in there anyway. Nothing wrong with that; in spite of geography they are about the same thing- military operations aimed at fighting “terrorists” which end up hitting medical facilities instead. This article from the horribly “anti-Russian” Daily Beast actually begins with a condemnation of the American attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz. And it seems the Daily Beast isn’t so embroiled in the anti-Russian information war that it can’t remind us how idiotic US strategy in Syria has been so far.
Now at some point some Putin fanboy might object, and say that they’re supporting Putin’s campaign in Syria because he’s telling the truth and he really is taking the fight to ISIS. Well to that I say no, no he is clearly not. Reuters has found that four fifths of Russia’s air strikes in Syria don’t target areas where ISIS has a presence. What’s their totally biased, obviously Russophobic source? The Russian Ministry of Defense. Sure, you can claim that they’re lying, but the problem is that their claim meshes with other recent events in the region. For example, ISIS has made gains since the beginning of the Russian campaign, specifically after the Russian MoD’s idiotic claim that they had devastated ISIS in just 24 hours of bombing. And as for supporting the regime’s counter-offensive against the other rebel groups, a very reputable source says that’s not going so well either.
So the bottom line is this- people who claim to be anti-war, anti-imperialism, and anti-militarism and yet who cheer on Putin’s wars and international meddling are quite simply put, full of shit. They have no principle, and in most cases in spite of some kind of political organizing or other activism they usually have no coherent ideology or political theory upon which to base their actions. Everything boils down to: “I’m mad at my government, they’re mad at this other guy in another country, so that guy must be right and that government never lies!” This is an understandable mode of thinking, but it is also completely idiotic in the modern world.
I also know that some leftists will scream, “But we have to oppose imperialism!” when it comes to issues like Syria. I’m not saying don’t oppose imperialism. I’m saying first and foremost oppose all imperialism. Oppose all authoritarian regimes. Don’t act like you’re Che Guevara in your country while assuming that dissidents in other countries must be paid dupes of the CIA because your government doesn’t like that country’s government. What is more, it’s time to admit that the typical Western method of “opposing imperialism” is a complete farce. Where has it actually worked in recent times? It pretty much consists of people holding protests with signs saying: “Hands off (insert country name here)!” At first it may begin with solid arguments, such as “We don’t support Assad but the US policy in response is not likely to improve the situation and may make it worse,” but it almost inevitably ends with the leftists taking up the banner of some dictator, and often in an unwitting or sometimes deliberate alliance with far right figures. If you’re a true neocon and you find yourself in a debate with these people, congratulations. They’re shooting themselves in the foot.