In a recent CNN interview of US presidential candidate Cornel West, former CIA intern Anderson Cooper argued that the US invasion of Iraq was morally superior to the Russian attack on the city of Grozny.
Pushing back against West’s claim that NATO provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine and his call for ceasefire negotiations, Cooper argued that Putin was too evil and murderous to agree to stop slaughtering people.
“I mean, you saw what he did to Grozny in the nineties,” Cooper said. “I mean, he flattened that city. Civilians were trapped in that city. The world didn’t come to the rescue of Grozny. He did exactly what he wanted to do. I mean, unchecked, he will slaughter people.”
“Well, I mean, unchecked, he will slaughter folk, unchecked, what we did in Iraq was slaughtering people, unchecked,” West replied, when Cooper began frantically interrupting him.
“Nation states do that and they are wrong. And when they’re wrong, you have to point it out,” West continued while Cooper talked over him.
“Look, again, I respect you,” Cooper said. “You know I love you, but I do think it’s inappropriate to compare the Russian bombing of Grozny, and what we witnessed there with the war in Iraq. I mean, to say that innocents were killed. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. I mean, the horrible things happen—”
“Half a million Iraqis killed, my brother? Half a million,” interjected West.
“I certainly understand,” said Cooper. “I also saw a lot of Americans getting killed. And I saw, you know, the horrors of Saddam Hussein.I don’t think it’s accurate to compare the pummeling of a city by Russian artillery, with civilians inside, pummeling every single day with the intention of just destroying and flattening a city with actions the US took.”
Mainstream estimates for the number of civilians killed in the Battle of Grozny range from five thousand to eight thousand. Estimates for the number of people killed as a result of the Iraq invasion range into the millions. One was a single battle in one city, the other was a years-long nationwide war which plunged an entire region into violence and chaos. Cooper is correct that it’s inaccurate to compare the two, but he’s obviously incorrect that this is because the Iraq invasion was less depraved.
Think about the kind of mentality you’d need to have to feel like it’s legitimate to claim a US war for power and profit is morally superior to a Russian attack which killed far, far fewer people. Think of all the things you’d have to hold as true in order to make that make sense in your mind.
For one, you’d have to believe that the US only uses its military for noble reasons and with noble intentions. For another, you’d have to believe that your own government only kills civilians by accident while other governments only kill civilians because they are evil monsters who enjoy committing war crimes. It would probably also help that perspective make sense if you believed that Arab lives are worth a tiny fraction of what white lives are worth.
It’s literally this meme put into action:
Cooper immediately followed West’s appearance with an interview with Democratic Party swamp monster James Carville, who promptly began smearing West as a “menace” and a “threat to the continued constitutional order in the United States.”
Carville then went on to assert that former Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who is West’s campaign manager, is “almost certainly an agent of the Russian government.”
To substantiate his claim that Cornel West’s campaign manager is a secret agent of the Russian government, Carville urged Cooper’s audience to “Google photo, General Flynn, Vladimir Putin, Jill Stein.”
Carville knows that telling CNN’s viewers to google those words will produce a photo of Stein, Flynn and Putin at a table together. What Carville does not tell CNN’s viewers is that Stein has provided a perfectly adequate explanation of what she was doing at that event.
The photo was taken at an RT conference back in 2015, when meeting with Russians was not considered an outrageous scandal. Stein says she attended the event because she saw it as an opportunity to push her usual agendas of peace and environmentalism. She says she didn’t interact with Putin or Flynn, that she wasn’t paid for her appearance, and that RT offered to pay for her travel but she declined the offer. Nothing in the comprehensive investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election has turned up a single shred of evidence that any of Stein’s claims are false, which means the claim that the photo in question is proof that she works for the Kremlin is completely baseless.
So Carville was actively deceiving CNN’s audience about Jill Stein, and about Cornel West’s presidential campaign by extension. The journalistically responsible thing to do would have been to interrogate Carville’s wild claims, but Cooper let them slide through completely unchecked. Calling a presidential candidate’s campaign manager a secret Russian agent is about as incendiary an accusation as you can possibly make, and Cooper just accepted it as an established fact and moved on.
As far as Anderson Cooper is concerned, criticizing the US for the destruction of Iraq requires not just interrogation but immediate hostile opposition, while falsely accusing West of working with a literal Russian agent doesn’t even merit a single follow-up question.
That’s how unscrupulous you have to be to get elevated to the highest echelon of American news media. Those are the depths you have to be willing to plunge to in defense of the world’s most powerful and destructive government. That’s how low you have to be willing to sink to make $12 million a year working in the mainstream press like Anderson Cooper does. These are the kinds of people who are teaching Americans what to believe about their nation and their world. And that’s precisely why everything’s so messed up.
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