WHERE DID THE OUTRAGE GO?
By Mary Coen
Back in late June information came out Russia was paying bounty to Afghan militants for dead American soldiers. It was simply stunning news, and most of America was outraged. Even some Republicans were appalled. It is now two weeks later, and I wonder, “Where did all the outrage go?”
The problem is that outrage is difficult to sustain; it is somewhat dependent on a wave of shock, and in the last 3 1/2 years in the United States shock has become an almost daily meal. Human beings are adaptable. The most outrageous things become the norm if one is fed a constant stream of them. It’s a self-protection thing – one can’t live in a constant state of high emotion, so even the most upsetting incidents have to be reduced to the banal. And outrage becomes lost.
Back in late February, the CIA and analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center expressed “with moderate confidence” that the Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, had turned several large sums of money over to the Taliban. Based on interrogations of detainees and intercepted Intelligence data it was determined that this was payment for the death of American soldiers.
Any information that was found by any intelligence agencies to have “moderate confidence” would routinely be included in daily intelligence briefings to the White House and would have been sent on to Congress. Trump does not read briefings, and apparently this was not one of the things actually told to him by his briefer, but the information was also available to other upper staff. But no one bothered to follow up with questions or discussions with either the Military or Intelligence, or send the info on to the Armed Services or Intelligence Committees of Congress as would have been the routine in previous administrations. In other words, it was blown off by Trump as another “hoax”, and not one member of his administration cared enough about American soldiers to look any further.
This was the outrage. Not one step was taken to discuss and investigate, let alone to confront Russia.
Just yesterday, July 9, two committees in the House held hearings: the Armed Services Committee questioned military leaders and the Intelligence committee questioned CIA personnel. There was outrage expressed by committee members not just on the Russian actions, but also on the fact the it took a leak (again) for this to be brought to the attention of Congress.
So where are we now? The normal process of further investigation will go on by Congress, the military (if Esper allows it) and the intelligence services. And we may hear little about it, since Trump wants it gone and he is a genius at redirecting attention by doing something else outrageous.
It’s up to us to remember. And talk. And ask. And then for God’s sake, vote.