“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is an ancient proverb that has been used throughout history to justify collaborating with immoral individuals and entities. The phrase usually requires a scapegoat the media hypes to a ridiculous distraction. Make no mistake, President Donald Trump is an existential threat not only to the U.S., but to global society. But Trump did not evolve out of nothing, his behavior has precedent in the U.S.
He isn’t the mastermind behind the injustices of our society — he serves as a public distraction for the veil-masters of mankind who operate in secrecy and without interruption. Trump’s neo-fascist rhetoric has created political amnesia from the crimes of others before him who have fought tirelessly to uphold the very institutions that allowed him to come into power.
A prime example of this is the unwarranted praise for head of the Russia investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Millions of Americans with good intentions who oppose Trump’s white supremacist ideology see Mueller as a knight in shining armor. But Mueller is no secular saint.
Mueller served not only as Assistant Attorney General and Director of the FBI under President George W. Bush, but as Bush’s personal henchman, lying constantly to expand his boss’s powers. Mueller began his career as FBI Director one week before the infamous 9/11 attacks, and the blatant lies he provided after the attacks played a crucial role in undermining the Fourth Amendment and invading the privacy of all Americans.
After the attacks, Mueller said, “There were no warning signs that I’m aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country.” The Bush administration used this to railroad the Patriot Act through Congress, expanding the powers of the government to conduct mass surveillance on its citizens. Behind the scenes, the Bush administration suppressed information which proved Mueller’s testimony was a blatant lie.
The next May, it was revealed to the media that FBI agents in Phoenix and Minneapolis had warned FBI headquarters of suspicious Arabs in flight training prior to 9/11. A House Senate Joint Intelligence Committee concluded that the FBI’s gross incompetence lead to “to the United States becoming, in effect, a sanctuary for radical terrorists.”
Mueller also lied about the expansion of state surveillance powers, claiming, “I would say generally, they are not allowed to spy or to gather information on American citizens." A couple months later, the New York Times revealed Bush allowed for the FBI to wiretap 500 Americans and have access to millions of Americans’ emails.
Mueller’s spree of blatant dishonesty did not end here. On Feb. 11, 2003, he testified before Congress that Iraq did possess weapons of mass destruction, allowing Bush to spree the greatest crime against humanity of the 21st century, the Iraq War.
Mueller is complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Iraqi citizens, in a baseless war. It is ridiculous he is being canonized just because he is taking a stand against Trump.
In July 2017, former Senator and Vietnam veteran John McCain shared his battle with brain cancer with the public. In response, many political analysts such as CNN’s Jake Tapper wrote hagiographies on Twitter, describing the ostensibly honorable life of an American hero.
McCain has reached moral stardom in liberal circles for opposing Trump in only a few cases, even though he agreed with Trump on most bills. Although celebrating McCain's death would be uncalled for, we cannot hide his injustices because of a false sense of empathy.
McCain became a political icon during the Vietnam War, one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, perpetuated by the U.S. He was only a young pilot taking orders from superior commanders. If the excuse of “just following orders” did not work for Nazis post-World War II, then we should follow an elementary principle of morality and apply it to ourselves.
After the inhumanity the Nazis launched in the mid-20th century, the United Nations set up a set of trials against top Nazi commanders and collaborators called the Nuremberg Trials. The trials established a set of laws for defining war crimes called the Nuremberg principles. According to Nuremberg Principle IV, “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
It is in character that McCain supported and shared a stage with the neo-Nazi Ukrainian party, Svoboda.
Before being captured as a prisoner of war, McCain bombed civilian factories and dropped Agent Orange, a deadly chemical weapon which is notorious for leaving its target inhabitable.
McCain also supported war in Yugoslavia where water systems, hospitals, universities, schools, senior citizens’ homes, transportation systems, embassies, marketplaces and more were deliberately destroyed by NATO planes in a ruthless 10-week bombing campaign.
According to Article 54 of the Geneva Conventions, “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.”
He was effective in propping up the Iraq war and once sang “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys' song “Barbara Ann” in response to a question about his stance on military action against Iran. A quarter century after the Vietnam War, McCain uttered racial epithets towards Asians when asked a question during his 2000 presidential campaign, “I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.”
McCain once voted against the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Just half a year ago, McCain voted to continue the U.S. backed destruction of Yemen by Saudi Arabia. His belief in racial superiority was obvious by his disregard for human life when dealing with anybody that is not white and American. War on people of color was a parody in his sick and perverted mind.
Whether McCain truly intended to serve humanity honorably or not is ambiguous because there is a great gap between human intention and human effect. Regardless, we shouldn’t rewrite his history. We must remember his legacy as a war criminal and also have empathy for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian, Yemeni, Vietnamese, Libyan, Iraqi and Iranian lives lost due to his effect.
Everyone who collaborates with Trump to bring his vision of white supremacy and bourgeoisie rule to fruition is villainous, but not everyone who opposes Trump deserves to be a hero.
Soheil Saneei is a 20-year-old biological engineering sophomore from Metairie, Louisiana.