You might recall how Donald Trump mentioned that the reason the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan was because terrorists were crossing the border into Russia. And so, in 1979, the Soviets retaliated by invading.
While babbling incoherently, as he always does, Trump blurted, “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”
It's easy to forget since it happened way back on, y'know, January 3, 2019. Yesterday. Once again, a major news story, one that would've otherwise made headlines for weeks, is lost in Trump's insufferable firehose of news. Or at least it would've been lost if Rachel Maddow and Steve Benen at MSNBC/MaddowBlog hadn't chased down what really happened and why Trump said what he said.
According to Maddow, her team was unable to trace the president's remarks about the invasion to any domestic sources. Usually, Trump will watch Tucker or Fox & Friends or Hannity and steal items wholesale from his television, but not this time. In fact, there aren't even any crazy conspiracy theories about this from Alex Jones, either.
So, obviously, we're left to assume that either Trump completely invented this on his own, which is unlikely, or that it was whispered in his ear by someone who'd like to see Russia exonerated for the disastrous invasion -- a move that contributed to the financial downfall of the USSR.
While we're here, you might also recall how the United States went so far as to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow due to the invasion, not to mention the now-public reality that the U.S. supplied RPGs and other weapons to the anti-Soviet mujaheddin as a means of repelling the invaders, making it yet another U.S./Soviet proxy war in the midst of the Cold War. Of course, we also know that the mujaheddin, including a "freedom fighter" named Osama Bin Laden, went on to become al-Qaeda and the rest is 9/11 history.
Nevertheless, Trump was way out on a limb with his tall tale. Even the paleoconservative Wall Street Journal editorial board called Trump's rant "absurd" and "cracked history."
We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government.
The editors also referred to Trump's remarks about our coalition allies as a "mockery" and "a slander" against all non-U.S. personnel who died in the post-9/11 Afghanistan War. Indeed, more than 1,100 non-U.S. coalition soldiers have died in that ongoing conflict.
Jonathan Chait, meanwhile, discovered that the Kremlin is currently attempting to revise history regarding its own Afghanistan occupation, making Trump's "absurd" revisionism highly suspicious. Chait:
“Meanwhile, the Russian government is moving an official resolution defending the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (The approval is scheduled to take place next month.) Russians have previously called the invasion a tragic error, but Vladimir Putin’s regime — which regards the collapse of the Soviet Union as a world-historical tragedy — is systematically rehabilitating various Soviet crimes.”
Let's call this what it is: Putin (or a Putin-adjacent stooge) injected this into Trump's tiny worm-infested brain. The horrifying reality is that Donald Trump continues to act as an agent of the Kremlin. Making matters worse, this Kremlin operative has shut down the American government three times in a year. On Friday, he threatened to keep the government shut down for "years." (Mitch McConnell merely needs to pass a spending bill with a veto-proof majority, and Trump can stomp and whine all he wants and it won't matter.)
On Friday, Trump fielded questions from reporters in the Rose Garden. Among those questions, we heard a lot about a congresswoman who called Trump a "motherf*cker" and we heard a lot about Wall, but how many questions were there about Trump deliberately repeating Kremlin revisionism?
Zero. Not one.
But we've certainly have a complete grasp on the fact that Trump thinks border security is both a disaster and an unmitigated success (without any challenges from the press corps). No wonder Trump is getting away with treason.
Call me an idealist, but the fact that the president is working with the Kremlin to justify the Soviet invasion is a kind of a big motherf*cking deal.
Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young