Is the Iraqi city of Mosul on the border with Syria, as Mrs. Clinton averred during the third presidential debate?

No way.

Exactly no one has called her out on this. I guess you have to be Gary Johnson, rather than a former Secretary of State, for the mainstream media to start mocking you over your lack of geographical knowledge. And this was no inconsequential error: it’s supposedly key to her strategy that after “we” take Mosul we’re going to “press into Syria.”

Did seventeen US intelligence agencies say that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee’s server and John Podesta’s inbox, as Hillary Clinton asserted Wednesday night?

Nope.

Mrs. Clinton’s claim here is worth going into in some depth. It came in the context of a question from Chris Wallace about her speech to a gaggle of bankers in which she said “My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” She defended herself, not very convincingly, by saying that she was only talking about energy, but this seems disingenuous at best. In any case, what’s interesting about this is that in order to change the subject quickly she pivoted to one of the most disturbing diatribes ever uttered in the course of a presidential contest:

“But you are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks. And what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.

“This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.

“So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is, finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past? Those are the questions we need answered. We’ve never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.

“WALLACE: [to Trump] Well?

“TRUMP: That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders, OK? How did we get on to Putin?”

How indeed.

The mainstream media, playing out its role as Hillary’s cheering squad, is bloviating about how “unprecedented” this election is, and they don’t mean that in a good way. Their latest tack is solemnly lecturing us that it’s an “existential threat to our democracy” for a candidate of a major party to call the integrity of our elections into question – a bit of overreaching, since all Trump said was that he’d wait until the votes are counted before committing to accept the alleged result. And please recall that, after the Supreme Court decided that George W. Bush and not Al Gore was the duly elected President, Hillary said the former had been “selected, not elected.”

What’s really unprecedented, however, is how a major party candidate has accused her opponent of being, in effect, an agent of a foreign power. This has never happened – no, not ever. During the cold war, to be sure, there were some Republicans who accused the Democrats of being “soft” on Communism, but here Mrs. Clinton is clearly accusing Trump of enabling and “encouraging” “Russian espionage,” to use her phrase. Mr. Trump, says Hillary, is a traitor to his country. And our “fact-checking” media is silent, except for this guy – who, at any rate, has few compunctions about “going down that road.” I doubt he’ll like what he finds at the end of it. But by then, of course, it will be too late.

This whole nonsensical and very dangerous campaign theme of Hillary’s – that the Russians are behind the alleged hacking of the DNC and Podesta, and that therefore Trump is their conscious agent – is based on the scientific equivalent of vaporware. The reality is that no one knows a) How WikiLeaks obtained the documents it is publishing and b) How they were procured in the first place. That’s because, in spite of the “scientific” pretensions of the cyber-warfare industry, there is no way for anyone to know for sure if it was hackers (as opposed to insiders) or, if it was hackers, who they are  – not unless the perpetrators come out and admit it, or unless they are caught in the act by someone looking over their shoulder.

But that hasn’t stopped some US intelligence officials from straining their already dubious credibility by repeating nonsense in the interests of pushing Hillary over the finish line.

This debate was really a low point for Mrs. Clinton, who, at the very nadir of the evening, started screeching that Trump is a “puppet” – of Putin, naturally.

This is crazy enough – but what’s even worse is that the media is backing her up on this. Hardly a day goes by without some new “revelation” of an alleged Russian plot to undermine US national security, infiltrate Europe, or otherwise subvert our precious bodily fluids.

Yes, we are headed down a road that can only have one destination: a military conflict with Russia. And with President Hillary Strangelove’s finger on the nuclear button, it cannot end well. The proof is Hillary’s non-answer to the following question from debate moderator Chris Wallace on her proposal for a “no fly zone” in Syria:

“General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says you impose a no-fly zone, chances are you’re going to get into a war – his words – with Syria and Russia. So the question I have is, if you impose a no-fly zone – first of all, how do you respond to their concerns? Secondly, if you impose a no-fly zone and a Russian plane violates that, does President Clinton shoot that plane down?”

After evading for a couple of hundred words, Mrs. Clinton finally got around to saying this:

“I think we could strike a deal and make it very clear to the Russians and the Syrians that this was something that we believe was in the best interests of the people on the ground in Syria, it would help us with our fight against ISIS.”

We couldn’t even strike a deal with the Russians in order to bring about a ceasefire. And with President Hillary at the helm, how amenable would Moscow be to any such arrangement? After making her campaign theme “The Russians are coming!” I’d be surprised if they didn’t stop talking to us completely.

And you’ll note that she didn’t answer the question: would she shoot down a Russian plane over Syrian airspace?

I’ll leave it to your imagination to come up with an answer, but remember: this is a person who believes it’s perfectly okay to give voice to one opinion in public and hold an entirely different opinion in private.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].