Russian ‘meddling’ as bad as Pearl Harbor attack, some US pundits claim
Following the underwhelming indictment of ‘Russian trolls’ for alleged meddling in the 2016 US elections, some US pundits have doubled down, comparing their actions to the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
Washington Post political columnist Karen Tumulty made the glib comparison in a piece published Sunday. While admitting there was “no loss of life,” Tumulty claimed Russia was guilty of “an act of war nonetheless, a sneak attack using 21st-century methods.”
There was no loss of life or destruction of a city in the Russian actions described in the indictment. But it was an act of war nonetheless, a sneak attack using 21st-century methods. https://t.co/CcnFbwp4QO— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) February 18, 2018
Tumulty lambasted President Donald Trump for ridiculing the hysteria over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of just 13 Russian individuals and organisations, none of which were linked to the Kremlin, for fraud and identity theft after a nine-month inquiry.
If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
“Imagine how history would have judged Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, if he had taken to the radio airwaves to declare that Tokyo was ‘laughing their asses off,’” Tumulty ranted. “Or if George W. Bush had stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn and launched a name-calling tirade against the Democrats.”
Others chimed in too, including MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe. Without a hint of irony, Tribe said Americans should “LET THAT SINK IN” that Trump was yet to order the FBI to protect the country from imagined hordes of Russian internet trolls.
Imagine if FDR discounted the importance of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and focused on how his critics had no proof that he knew about it. #RussianPearlHarbor— Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) February 17, 2018
But at least one Twitter user slammed Tumulty for her tasteless comparison.
Hey Karen Tumulty, my grandparents were Pearl Harbor survivors. They lost a lot of friends that day. My grandmother never forgave the Japanese. YOU are a complete fool and smoothbrained idiot. I'm embarrassed for you.— Christy Waters (@ThatChristyChic) February 19, 2018
The “political Pearl Harbor” comparison originated with Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), who authored a series of anti-Russian laws. Cardin first used the comparison to describe the alleged meddling in March last year. He also repeated that claim earlier this month, adding the 9/11 attacks to his list of comparisons.
In another article published on Monday, The Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald lamented that “consensus has arisen in the political and media class” that “Russia’s alleged ‘meddling’ is comparable to the two most devastating attacks in US history” and has “overnight, become a virtual cliché.”
Journalist Michael Tracey was among those trying to bring the US Twittersphere back to reality, while conservative shock-jock Ann Coulter sailed close to the wind with a joke about the FBI’s failure to stop Florida school shooter Nikolaz Cruz.
Likening a handful of phony Facebook ads to Pearl Harbor is what's considered mainstream punditry today https://t.co/pBaKfICLkY— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 18, 2018
FBI working on tip there might be a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor set for Dec 7, 1941. DEVELOPING...— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 16, 2018
“Russian influence operation described in indictment small, poorly funded, level of effectiveness impossible to measure. No, not Pearl Harbor, not 9/11,” The Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent, Byron York, pointed out.
Read Mueller indictment in conjunction with social media execs' testimony. Russian influence operation described in indictment small, poorly funded, level of effectiveness impossible to measure. No, not Pearl Harbor, not 9/11. https://t.co/F19CxO1DIY— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 19, 2018
Podcasting journalist ‘Admo’ pointed out the US has a long history of overthrowing the governments of other nations.
If y'all are mad about Russian trolls posting a bunch of memes wait til you hear about the US involvement in overthrowing the governments of Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Brazil, Chile, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, Iraq, Libya.— Admo (@the_admo) February 17, 2018
The Imperial Japanese Navy’s December 7, 1941 air attack on the US Navy station in Hawaii killed 2,335 US servicemen and 68 civilians, sinking four battleships, three cruisers and eight other ships, as well as destroying 188 military aircraft. The attack, made without a declaration of war, brought the US into the Second World War and led to Japan’s destruction, with up to 3 million soldiers and civilians killed.