I can’t stop thinking about it. I never will. The Soviet Union poured billions of dollars of weaponry into Vietnam to help their communist brethren kill my American brothers. More than 11,000 of them were sent home in body bags during my year in country, and well over 58,000 of them perished by the time it was over.
I don’t believe for a minute that the Kremlin of the Soviet Union then is far removed from the Kremlin of Russia today. They remain the enemies of freedom and democracy, the protectors of despotism at home and the projectors of disunity abroad. Now the evidence is clear. They are winning.
Under the corrupt, demagogic leadership of former KGB officer Vladimir Putin, Russia’s cyber warfare has scored a major victory in its relentless campaign to undermine American democracy. The Russian flag, shadows of the Soviet hammer and sickle lurking in its threads, may not have smashed into the Capitol along with the traitorous Confederate flag and Nazi slogans borne by Donald J. Trump’s seditious minions on Jan. 6. But it surely was behind them.
This cannot be a surprise to anyone who paid attention to the 2019 investigation by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a Republican former FBI director and Vietnam veteran, of Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to his report, the “investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the (Trump) Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”
During his four years in the White House, Trump has repeatedly sided with Putin’s Russia against American intelligence agencies. Does anybody really believe that he “misspoke” in 2018, when he responded to a question about Russian interference? “I have President Putin, he said it’s not Russia,” Trump said. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
After American intelligence presented evidence to Trump early last year that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in the Middle East, he called it “fake news.”
Even as the Department of Homeland Security concluded that Russian intelligence almost certainly was responsible for recent cyberattacks against multiple federal agencies Trump continued to suggest that China is to blame.
Donald J. Trump has a history of disdain for those who are entrusted with protecting American democracy. A military draft dodger himself, thanks to mysteriously vanishing bone spurs diagnosed by a forgotten physician, Trump later said his sexual escapades were “the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”
While campaigning for president in 2015, Trump said of then-Sen. John McCain, a fellow Republican, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” No, John McCain was not a hero because he was captured. He was a hero because he put his life on the line every time he was catapulted from aircraft carriers to make bombing runs over North Vietnam. And, yes, he was captured after being shot down and somehow survived 5 1/2 years of brutal torture.
Is it all that farfetched to believe that a coward like Donald J. Trump in 2018 referred to American fighting men buried in a World War I cemetery in France as “losers” and “suckers”?
And, really, is it any surprise that a traitor like Donald J. Trump would call on his insurrectionists to “fight like hell” before he went to hide in the White House?
Surely, Russia is smiling on the enemies of democracy in the U.S. Congress, including Ohio’s Jim Jordan, Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, Warren Davidson and Steve Chabot. They must be so proud.
Mr. Lange is the retired editor of the Times.