Chelsea Manning Challenges Anti-Russia Fanatic Ben Cardin – Antiwar.com Blog

In a typical foray into reckless hyperbole, Cardin told a public forum in November: “When you use cyber in an affirmative way to compromise our democratic, free election system, that’s an attack against America. It’s an act of war. It is an act of war.”

Cardin is far from the only member of Congress to use “act of war” rhetoric about alleged Russian cyber actions. Republican ultra-hawk Arizona Senator John McCain has hurled the phrase at Russia. But the most use of the phrase comes from a range of Democrats, such as Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and the normally sensible Northern California Representative Jackie Speier.

As his party’s ranking member of the key Senate committee on foreign policy, Cardin is at the tip of the anti-Russia propaganda spear. After three decades in Congress including nearly a dozen years in the Senate, he’s an old hand at spinning. No one has worked harder to get political mileage out of “Russiagate.”

A Distorted Report

Last week, Cardin upped the ante with the release of a report that he commissioned. In effect, it’s a declaration of red-white-and-blue jihad against Russia.

The report – which accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of “a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the United States” – received massive coverage in U.S. news media. Conservative and liberal punditry voiced acclaim.

“Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored by a U.S. president,” a solo statement by Cardin declares on the opening page. With the truly repugnant President Trump in its crosshairs, the report’s most polemical claims – no matter how debatable or ahistorical – have predictably gotten a pass from mass media.

But the much-ballyhooed report is a carefully selective and distorted version of history.

The expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders, the U.S. interference in dozens of countries’ elections (including in Russia during the Clinton administration), Washington’s support for repressive regimes in the past and present – such realities didn’t merit consideration or mention. Nor did facts such as the USA’s role as the world’s biggest arms merchant. Or the aggressively deadly U.S. military interventions in the recent past and present, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya.

Such omissions are essential to the self-righteous tone of the Russiagate frenzy. Only with silence about basic truths of U.S. foreign policy can officials in Washington pose as leaders of an angelic nation that must confront satanic Russia.

In light of what is at stake for human survival – with the odds of nuclear war shifting ominously because of the agenda that he’s helping to push – Senator Cardin can be understood as someone who avidly fits into patterns of nationalistic and militaristic madness. The sad fact is that he has plenty of company on Capitol Hill.

Democratic leadership used to be much…

Read more