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Editorial September 4, 2003
 
You’re Not The Same, Damnit!
By Fred Hiatt Browse author
 
Page 2 of 3
 
[Take a deep breath, Fred Hiatt. Don't lose your composure. Look at yourself in the mirror. You're a winner, Fred Hiatt, and you are kicking ass in this editorial. So get back out there and kick editorial ass!]

Russians point to recent truck bombings in Iraq and compare them to truck suicide bombings in Chechnya. But this is a bogus comparison. Just because there were truck bombs in Chechnya, doesn't mean... See, the thing is that we actually want to do good in Iraq, and we plan to, and we're getting there, and the Iraqis know that and will thank us for it, whereas no Chechen wants Russians there. That's what I meant to say. And besides, we liberated the Iraqis, whereas the Russians didn't liberate the Chechens, even though they keep going around saying they did, like: "We liberated Chechens from terrorists. There is no difference from what you say in Iraq, where everyone hates you."

Oh come on! How could you say that! Rubbish! It's just cynical. I mean, how could you even? How could you say the two are even in the same ball park, just... Just because suicide truck bombings? By that logic, you'd probably say dogs were cats or had an extra leg or something.

I dare you to answer that. You know why? Because you can't. And if you do, frankly, I don't want to hear it.

The reason that so many Russians can get away with comparing America's war on terror to Russia's is that the Chechen separatists use some tactics which might remind some people of terrorist tactics. Now, I, Fred Hiatt, deplore the suicide bomb killings at the Krylya rock festival. That was despicable. But we must remember that many of those kids, while not necessarily deserving to die, did not deserve to live nearly as much as American kids do. I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that it would have been more tragic had those kids who died been American and not Russian.

The reason is twofold: Americans, even American kids who attend American rock festivals, are more productive than Russian kids, and so in the end, Americans FEEL more than Russians do. Americans hurt more when they hurt. Americans cry more than Russians do, and that is because we are more human than Russians. Why, who can forget the courageous stutters and tears of President Bush after September 11th? This helped to heal the nation and remind us that we are compassionate, feeling people. We saw this when President Bush cried after 9/11. Even the Daily Show's Jon Stewart cried on television. Did President Putin cry during Dubrovka, Krylya or other so-called terrorist attacks? No, because Russians simply don't feel as much pain, emotional or otherwise, as Americans do. I don't think that this point is even worth debating it's so obvious. To Americans it is at least, and that's what counts.

Some have claimed that I have a particular bias against Russia which shows on the editorial page of the Washington Post. That I am some kind of Russophobe because the collapse of the Younger Reformer-led economy in 1998 made me look like I had been duped my entire stint as the Post's Moscow correspondent.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I welcomed the crisis, and even benefited from it. Vastly. Of course, I know that certain members of the Russian elite purposefully misled me in the months leading up to that fateful August, and they initiated the crisis simply in order to humiliate Fred Hiatt. But they failed. That's right, you failed, Msrs. Potanin, Mr. Smolensky, Mr. Berezovsky. Look at me. Look at me now! I'm the Opinion Page Editor of the Washington Post. I'm a winner! I love myself and I love who I have become.

I have nothing to be bitter about when it comes to my reporting record in Russia. I'm not even bitter about the herpes on my male organ, although some claim I should be. My detractors claim that I contracted herpes joining the Norilsk Mile High Club in the private jet of Baby Billionaire oligarch Vladimir Potanin back in 1998, around the time that I wrote my famous profile of him. This is false and scurrilous -- I would never have an affair on my wife. It is against my principles. I prefer working, golfing and correcting my wife and children when they say things that are just plain wrong. But engaging in sexual conduct behind my wife's back? Not in a million years!


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