*Image depicts the aftermath of the 1999 bombing of an apartment block on the Kashirskoye Highway in Moscow. This was the deadliest of the four 1999 Russian Apartment Bombings. When civilians found an exploded fifth bomb in Ryazan, the government’s narrative about a “Chechen trail” began to unravel.
In his pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump re-affirmed his affection for Vladimir Putin with a truly bizarre and despicable take on Putin and the United States.
O’Reilly: Do you respect Putin?
Trump: I do respect him but —
O’Reilly: Do you? Why?
Trump: Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world — that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.
O’Reilly: But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.
Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?
The President of the United States just compared the country he leads to a kleptocratic oligarchy that will do anything to maintain its grip on power. We should not have to explain that the FBI does not plant bombs in apartment buildings** and does not feed journalists radioactive nucleotides, such as polonium-210.
The Commander-in-Chief was not done, next he took aim at, wittingly or unwittingly, those who served in Iraq.
O’Reilly: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.
Trump: Well — take a look at what we’ve done too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
O’Reilly: But mistakes are different than —
Trump: A lot of mistakes, but a lot of people were killed. A lot of killers around, believe me.
Thank you, Mr. President, for the Code Pink point of view. Maybe the President is unfamiliar with how his friends in Moscow fight wars. Russia has used thermobaric weapons in Chechnya. These weapons are a sort of “vacuum” explosive that have been compared to low-level tactical nuclear weapons. In Syria, where Trump says he welcomes Moscow’s help, they are no better. Last September, Russian warplanes deliberately struck a United Nations aid convoy. Russia’s conduct in Syria is one reason the Ash Carter-led Pentagon was skeptical of the John Kerry-led State Department’s effort to coordinate air campaigns.
Opposition leaders and journalists end up “mysteriously” dying frequently in Putin’s Russia. Despite his career in politics, one former Kremlin banker says that Vladimir Putin is the richest man in the world. The guy who was a KGB officer-turned FSB director became the Prime Minister of Russia in August 1999. There be became Boris Yeltsin’s hand-picked successor and became President on New Year’s Eve in 1999 after Yeltsin resigned. He was then elected on the promise to fight terrorism after the 1999 Apartment Bombings.
The evidence points to those bombings being an inside job by the FSB to distract from the terrible economy and protect the corrupt Yeltsin’s entourage from prosecution under new leadership (before the bombings Putin was polling at a pathetic 2% in the polls). After he left the presidency, he became prime minister again, where he nevertheless, essentially ran the country. Eventually he became President again in 2012. In the span of 2000-present day he has launched wars in Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine, and now Syria, not to fight ISIS, but to preserve the murderous regime in Damascus.
If Barack Obama had said what Donald Trump said to O’Reilly, there would, rightfully, be mass outrage in conservative circles. No, Mr. President, Putin’s wars are nothing like America’s wars, even Obama rejected that idea. Donald Trump sounded more like a hard-left campus professor of Middle Eastern or Colonial Studies or a Ron Paul-like libertarian than he did a traditional Republican.
**For more on the evidence implicating the FSB in the 1999 Apartment Bombings, Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, and his time as Russian President and Prime Minister, check out David Satter’s book: The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin.