This is an opinion piece from one of our contributors. It does not represent the editorial position of Tsarizm.com. As we advertise, we post opinions from all sides and the reader can decide.
Superbowl 51 was a true celebration of America; big, brash, and patriotic. There is no country on earth that could pull off anything remotely similar. One of the most touching moments in Superbowl was the standing ovation given to George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president and true American hero. In 1976 – 1977, during the height of the Cold War, Mr. Bush was the Director of the CIA. If you believe that during his tenure there he did not have to make some morally questionable decisions including ordering operations whose express objective was the elimination of certain persons, you are quite naïve.
Now one of the charges most often leveled in the West against Vladimir Putin is that he was, about a decade after Bush’s tenure at the CIA, a senior operative in its Soviet counterpart, the KGB. Putin, however, was nowhere as senior as Bush; his highest post was chief of station in the now defunct East Germany. At this point I can feel the outrage; how dare I draw a moral equivalent between a thug and a murderer like Putin and a beloved national hero like Bush Sr. Of course I am doing no such thing; I am simply pointing out that Putin is hardly the first national leader who has a past career in intelligence. And intelligence, like anything else is never without moral compromise. Though unlike in many other fields, in intelligence and national security in general, moral compromise often involves life and death decisions.
Does anyone believe that in the briefing room in Hmeimim Airbase in Syria Russian pilots are briefed to kill civilians before they jump into their SU-29 cockpits? Of course not. Just like their American counterparts in the Incerlik Airbase in Turkey, they get briefed to destroy enemy installations. American pilots, pushing the button that releases that 500 lb JDAM, know that there’s an excellent chance that by doing so they are killing and maiming innocent civilians including women and children. They do it anyway. A famous Israeli pilot who later became the head of the Israeli Air Force, was famously asked on TV what he felt when he released a bomb destined for Gaza, a densely populated area. His answer: “a small buffeting of the wings, easily corrected by aileron input.”
None of this is to say that countries like the US or Israel are morally equivalent to countries like Russia or Syria. Certainly Western governments and militaries are much more sensitive to civilians casualties ad are willing to go to some lengths to avoid them. However, it is a matter of degree, since even Western countries routines accept civilian casualties as necessary to achieving their national security and geopolitical goals. This is precisely what Trump meant in his now infamous answer to O’Reilly’s query regarding Putin’s killer nature. He was simply speaking the truth. Live with it.