Media Michael Brenner Ukraine

Another Casualty of the Ukraine Conflict: The Truth

The Ukraine conflict has engendered a dangerous frenzy in the West. Does it say more about us than it does about Russia or Ukraine?
[Denis Bondariev / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Michael Brenner

War and conflict are the enemies of truth. Accurate perception, precise language and objectivity are its first victims. For good reason. Emotion eclipses reason. The ‘we/they’ prism refracts and distorts our thoughts. The individual is swept up into the mass mood. Frenzy roils just below the surface.  

Experiences of war and conflict, though, are not uniform.  They vary. Whose blood is being shed, in what quantities? Are we the direct protagonist or just the empathetic supporters of certain combatants? How closely and why do we identify with one side? How much do we hate the other side? Is our collective self ginger and vulnerable or self-confident? What is the pre-existing anxiety level? Consequently, each situation is peculiar. A country’s subjective response and attendant behavior, therefore, can be highly revealing. 

Unfortunately, observation is blurred and selective. We are poor witnesses to ourselves. Sometimes, we never do gain the perspective needed for a clear rendering of what happened, how we felt and what we did. Oddly, the more peculiar the experience, the less the inclination and ability to reflect on it. Such is the case in regard to the current Ukraine affair. That singular feature is itself noteworthy. For that is not due to indifference – quite the opposite. Washington is the producer and would-be director of the drama as well as the co-star. The feature that cries out for our critical attention is the frenzy that the Ukraine conflict has engendered. This despite the absence of an American military presence, no obvious national interest of the first order at stake, and its erupting at a time when one would have thought the country’s appetite for this sort of thing satiated by two decades of endless, failed wars in nearly every part of the world. 

My principal concern here is not to answer the question of ‘why?’ I have tried to address that in previous commentaries. Instead, the aim is to highlight those characteristics of our collective national persona brought into stark relief by our reaction to events. 

HYPOCRISY. The air is rank with it. The overwrought emotional response to events, concentrated in D.C., spreads across the land – from sea to shining sea. As per usual, it is the MSM and the politicos who take the lead and set the tone. Sympathy for human suffering is admirable when genuine and the expression of sensitive, empathetic concern for our fellows., when we are moved by the occasion and not just the ritual. Honoring the victims of mass shootings, hate bombings, and natural disasters is moving and in a sense reassuring.  

Today, we are seeing an outpouring of sentiment over the plight of Ukrainians. Most striking is the upwelling of vigils, prayer sessions and protests at universities. Demonstrative displays of feelings that are of this scope should set us to reflect on their full meaning. Here are a few things to consider. 

Civilian casualties in Ukraine are relatively few. Despite the strenuous efforts to find then, actual numbers appear to be in the order of 300-400. For good reasons, Russian forces are calculatingly avoiding attacks on urban centers; after all, 40% of the population is Russian and concentrated in the regions where the fighting is taking place. Moreover, Moscow has no interest in subjugating the country to its rule. In comparison, the Ukrainian army has been shelling the city centers of Lugansk and Donetsk, producing casualties estimated by a UN agency at more than 1,300 (3 or 4 times what objective observers estimate on the Ukrainian government’s side of the battle lines). Also. the water system has been destroyed. Yet, these facts are unreported and unnoticed in the total absence of media presence in an area they have erased from their reportorial map. 

A broader perspective is instructive. During the week of combat in Ukraine, a larger number of innocent civilians in other places have died from American actions. In Yemen, the unrelenting Saudi bombing and strangulation of the Houthi regions continues to take a heavy toll: from weapons, from starvation, from disease.  This carnage could not have occurred without direct involvement by the U.S. military. Although the American contribution has diminished over the past year or so, we continue to play a considerable role in the Saudi onslaught. Our officers have sat in Air Force command posts in Saudi Arabia pinpointing targets, our planes have done the refueling of Saudi aircraft which, otherwise, could not have reached their targets, we have supplied the weapons and ammunition marked ‘Made In U.S.A.’ And we have participated in the embargo that has prevented food and medicines from getting to the needy. Famine has added immeasurably to the casualties. Over the past 6 years, tens of thousands have been killed, maimed or invalided by illness.  

The carnage in Yemen to which we are accomplices is not collateral to the defense of any American national interest or the suppression of any threat. Its only rationalization is a dubious calculation that putting our arms around the shoulders of the psychopathic butcher Mohammed bin-Salman in Riyadh is worth the massive suffering of Yemeni innocents. That decision was made by President Obama and his Vice-President Joe Biden, reaffirmed by Donald Trump and continues to this day by President Joe Biden – the great humanitarian who last night shed copious crocodile tears for Ukraine. 

Yet, one can search high-and-low for a vigil, a wake, a memorial service to honor the victims of our own government’s callous disrespect for human life in Yemen. None at our institutions of higher learning, almost none in in our places of worship, just fleeting platitudes by a few folks on Capitol Hill. Certainly, no apologies to orphans, widows and invalids. The blood on our hands is invisible, the blood on Russian hands undergoes microscopic examination. Hypocrisy in caps. 

Let us look at the wider record to see what it says about the American attitude toward law, a ‘rule-base international system,’ and criminal acts. The United States invaded and occupied the sovereign state of Iraq with no legal mandate whatsoever, no legitimate claim – however stretched – of self-defense, and with no expression of approval from the Iraq people.  The results: tens of thousands killed directly by our military and their mercenaries, hundreds of thousands killed in the ensuing violence we provoked, untold wounded, and razing into moonscapes Falluja (twice), Mosul, Raqqa, sections of Baghdad and numerous smaller towns. The U.S. Marines alone fired 20,000+ artillery shells into densely populated Mosul – separate from weeks of aerial bombing. Empathy? Our government waited 3 years before making the reluctant ‘admission’ of 483 civilians dying in Mosul. By the standards applied to Ukraine, as headlined in The New York Times, that last figure would be publicized as a million or so. In fact, the true figure has been estimated as well over 10,000. 

Then, there is ISIS. We are responsible for its very existence and, therefore, its grisly deeds. It birthing was in the prison (Camp Bucca), set up by General Stanley McCrystal, where we cooped up many thousands swept up indiscriminately. The grim conditions were the breeding grounds for its leadership and their recruiting ground. 

In Afghanistan, the thirst for revenge for 9/1 drove us to spend 20 years generating violent chaos – 19 of them directed at the Taliban, not al-Qaeda. To this day, the Taliban has not killed a single American outside of Afghanistan. We have killed tens of thousands and inflicted suffering on many more. Now, in the wake of our shameful flight, the country is starving. Desperate women are selling their kidneys to organ traffickers in order to feed their kids. A decent society, with a person of integrity at its head, would invite one of those women to attend the President’s State of the Union Address as an honored guest – perhaps seated next to Jill Biden along with the Ukrainian Ambassador. Such a symbolic gesture would do more to advance America’s reputation and influence around the world than all the hollow posturing by Biden’s bunch of bumbling amateur foreign policy makers.   

We have responded to those dire conditions by imposing economic sanctions. In a move that should be inscribed in its own page of infamy, humanitarian Joe Biden literally stole $8 billion of Afghan money held in U.S. based banks and the Federal Reserve. That is not Taliban money, and it is not just the state’s money either. Most belongs to small merchants and individuals whose deposits were transferred to the Afghani central bank for safe-keeping.  That is as close as you can get to actually taking bread out of a baby’s mouth. Willi Sutton never had it so good – nor was he so morally crass as to boast of his humanitarian instincts. 

Finally, let us not forget America’s full, unwavering endorsement of Israel’s repeated bloody campaigns to ‘mow the lawn’ in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories. There, each ‘mowing’ causes thousands of casualties. There, schools, hospitals and the offices of disobedient journalists are indeed targeted. 

The bill of indictment is a long one. We haven’t even touched on the torture regime that we organized on a global basis – in explicit violation of international law, treaties and American statutes, too. A ‘rule-based international system,’ indeed.  

All of the peoples victimized, neglected and forgotten who are noted above share one common trait. I’ll leave its identity to your imagination. A hint: throw into the mix the Bosniaks? 

LYING 

Lying is the handmaiden to hypocrisy. 

We Americans gradually have become used to lying and deceit from our leaders – whether in government or other big, powerful institutions. Even the CDC has succumbed to the fashion – losing its immunity in the course of the epidemic. We call it disinformation because ‘lie’ strikes many as too blunt for our sensitive eyes and ears. The NYT has a strict rule, in fact, not to use the word ‘lie.’ Not even Donald Trump has ever ‘lied’ insofar as its editors are concerned.  In a sense, we have become inured to lying since it is so commonplace. Only the incurable innocents believe what is told them by political candidates or purveyors of electronic gizmos. Moreover, the line between truth and fiction has become so blurred that reality has lost much of its previous claim to preeminence. Everything, we are advised, is subjective; whatever you want to believe is the truth. So, despite the record of massive mendacity chalked up by the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department and White House spokespersons over the years, the MSM swallow whole whatever is being sold and then they repackage it as reporting and sell it to us word-for-word. 

Here’s a stark example. On March 2 President Biden was asked whether Russian forces are deliberately targeting civilian areas in Ukraine, the president says, “It’s clear they are.” An outright lie – picked up and transmitted without comment. The wrinkle in this instance that this is the same lie that the MSM had been disseminating for days. Two-way mendacity between the chief executive and the so-called Fourth Estate. Cozy. Those who know better will be kept at bay – non-persons. 

So, we read in the august NYT that Russia Launches Missile Attack On Ukrainian Cities. Civilian Casualties Mount, Russian Offense on Kharkiv StallsRussia’s Pounding of Key Ukrainian Cities Is Escalated, etc., etc. All nonsense, all lies. Never corrected. They are just sub-heads in a fictional story designed to mythologize, to entertain, and to control thought. Straight out of 1984; who needs censorship? A body politique incapable of enunciating and observing reasonable ethical standards of behave should still find it within itself to engage in an honest discussion and debate on matters of supposed national consequence. Ukraine has shown, once again, that we are not so capable.  

Why does a President so casually lie in public? Well, for one thing, long experience tells him that he could get away with it. After all, most Americans still take at face value whatever they are told about the international scene despite their being lied to and deceived by their leaders. They lied about WMD in Iraq; they lied about the reception to be expected from the Iraq people, they lied repeatedly about the insurrection, they lied repeatedly about torture, they lied about Petraeus’ magnificent Iraqi national army that fled before Mosul. They lied for 2O years straight about progress in Afghanistan; they lied about our underhanded dealings with al-Qaeda and associated jihadist groups in Syria, they lied about the critical support given ISIS by Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. They also lied in denying the comprehensive electronic surveillance of Americans’ communications. So why should we take their word for what they say about events in Ukraine? Yet we do – for several reasons. 

One, we have become a gullible people. Two, we hold a picture of reality that has been shaped by the MSM which does not prize accuracy. Three, we really are not terribly interested in the truth. What we want is conformity to the story line that has been laid out for us, that compliments the United States, that we have been conditioned to believe, that doesn’t either strain our mental faculties or challenge our beliefs. Joe Biden knows all of that. Does he also know that American credibility suffers as a consequence among other governments that you are going to have to deal with? To paraphrase that master diplomat Victoria Nuland: “Fuck the Russians! Fuck the Chinese! Fuck the Indians!” And don’t even bother to fuck our European allies since they already have fucked themselves. 

The current passion and range of the reaction in the West calls for close examination. Here, we are in the realm of social psychology and mass behavior. Hysteria – at times, in its extreme expressions. Bicocca University in Milan canceled a course on Dostyevsky taught by an Italian professor. The Munich Philharmonic has fired its acclaimed Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, because he refuses a diktat that he criticize Putin and the Ukraine invasion. They are seconded by orchestras in Rotterdam, New York, Vienna, and la Scala which have canceled all his engagements. Silence is not tolerated.   

Equally outrageous, the famed soprano, Anna Netrebko, has forced to drop appearances at the Zurich opera House because she is deemed irremeably tainted by having received an award for artistic achievement from Putin personally and having voted for him in a past election. Long resident in Vienna, married to a Uruguayan baritone, she in fact has issued a statement condemning the war as senseless “aggression” and calls on “Russia to end it right now.” Even that cut no ice with the Inquisition. The general manager of the New York Met, Peter Gleb, who has assumed the authority of New York’s Gauleiter for cultural purity, declared that “denouncing the war is not enough.” Presumably, he wants Netrebko to arm herself with Madame Butterfly’s knife, clamber over the Kremlin walls and eviscerate Putin in his pajamas.  The threat to cancel her spring appearances makes as much sense as cancelling performances by Itzhak Perlman at Carnegie Hall because he has dined with Bibi Netanyahu at a time of a Gaza ravaging, and there shook the hand of racist Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman whose advocated solution to the Palestinian problem is to expel all Arabs from the Holy Land into the desert, i.e. the Armenian solution. 

 If Netrebko’s long-time colleagues in the music world had any principles or guts, they’ issue an ultimatum, quite her persecution or we’ll all boycott the Met’s entire season. Of course, that never will happen – these days, all spheres of Western society are pervaded with cowardice.   

These distinguished personages thereby join the ranks of the know-nothings like the restaurant owners who are renaming Russian dressing as Ukrainian dressing and Beef Stroganoff as Beef Zelensky. There is precedent, the solons of the U.S. Congress back in 2001 changed their menu to substitute Freedom Fries for the unspeakable French Fries because Jacques Chirac did not think that an invasion of Iraq was a great idea. And in WW I, sauerkraut became Liberty Cabbage. Children will be children. 

Then there is the Czech government issuing a decree that declares the expressing a favorable opinion about the Russian intervention a crime that will make you liable to prosecution and imprisonment.  Even the Prague regime is overmatched by this blow struck for peace and freedom: the International Federation of Felines (FIFe) on Tuesday ordered a ban on the importation of Russian-bred cats, presumably anywhere in the world. “No cat bred in Russia may be imported and registered in any FIFe pedigree book outside Russia, regardless of, which organization issued its pedigree,” the FIFe board said in a statement. 

To search for an explanation of this behavior, one would have to dive into the turbid depths of the human mind. That is beyond the scope of this essay.  A couple of thoughts do come to mind. One is that this overreaction may be propelled in part by hidden feelings of guilt about the West’s irresponsible abstention in doing next to nothing to prevent or even mitigate the atrocities in Bosnia. Silence, then, was golden. (And public lies the order of the day: e.g., German President Franz-Walter Steinmeier and then Foreign Minister outstanding among them).  Perhaps, those feelings were strengthened by the excesses of the American ‘War On Terror’ in which the Europeans were accomplices in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. In addition to the provision of tangible aid, every NATO government was an accomplice in the rendition program, in one way or another – with the sole exception of France. They, thus, found themselves on the wrong side of a line of blood. Crossing back is important for a group of nations whose self-identity, and their one card in playing the game of international politics, is their proclaimed virtue and enlightenment. 

A second, related point of conjecture is that these people have lived ‘non-moral’ lives in an ethically sterile environment. That is to say that they never were placed in or sought circumstances where they faced difficult moral choices – where they had to affirm through action the ideals and virtues to which they nominally adhere. At some level, certain of these well-educated enlightened elites felt that void to varying degrees. Suddenly, out of the blue comes a golden opportunity to do so. To do so without pain or serious cost, with the mutual support of a large consort of cosmopolitan fellows. There may be unwelcome consequences, but in the moment of exhilaration they are sublimated. The one negative that may enter the margins of consciousness is that people will freeze/sweat in the dark. Even then, well-heeled elites find ways to avoid freezing or sweating. 

As so often is the case in present times, the ‘problem’ lies not out there but rather in ourselves. 

GROUP THINK 

We Americans pride ourselves on our independence, our individualism, our autonomy as citizens. “Don’t tread on me! Don’t mess with Texas! I’m from Missouri! Prove it!” Once upon a time, they might have been a semblance of truth to this. There no longer is. We long ago achieved a herd mentality. Our skepticism, our readiness to question, our ability to apply an elementary yet useful common logic – all that has become nothing but faded memory and legend. Commercial advertising, TV, and the dumbing down of education have done their work well. Public discussion on matters of public interest is shallow and dropping steadily year by year. Our leaders are at once effect and reinforcing cause of this phenomenon.   

We find it far easier, comfortable and convenient to inhabit the same world of fable and fantasy that our fellows inhabit. This is most strikingly true in regard to our national identity, our place in the world, and our dealings with other nations. 

As the gap between fantasy world and actual world realities widens, the need for reinforcement through manifestations of consensus gets stronger. So, too, the intolerance of dissent – its logical corollary. We saw that during the active period of the War on Terror. We see that today in regard to Russia and in regard to China. This group think is policed with a light hand because it is so enveloping and the outcome of willing adhesion to the fantastic creations to which we are donors and observers alike. 

An illustrative anecdote. Some of my recent commentaries have evoked an unusually large number of replies: as many as a dozen out of 5,400 recipients (The Age of Communication?) A couple received last week are worth noting. They are both from retired ambassadors with whom I had had friendly exchanges previously, one of whom bears a name that many of you would recognize for notable accomplishments in the past. He writes undiplomatically: How much were you paid to write this? You are going to lose what little standing you have left as a serious academic.” 

The other retired diplomat wrote this:  

Forgive me, but you’re sounding like a number of old FSO’s, so-called strategic foreign policy ‘Russian experts’ with whom I’ve lost patience.  We are NOT still in the 20th c., generations and history and modernity have moved forward ….It is NoT humiliated, historic Russia in the abstract that is choosing to invade Ukraine now; it is Vladimir PUTIN in particular…..  It is about the man, more than the country or its interests and government.  The main problem is that both our law and international law and order have never been able to deal with damaged, insecure and delusional Aging leaders a priori!! “   

So it goes. Enough said. 

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins. He was the Director of the International Relations & Global Studies Program at the University of Texas.
Brenner is the author of numerous books, and over 80 articles and published papers. His most recent works are: Democracy Promotion and IslamFear and Dread In The Middle EastToward A More Independent Europe Narcissistic Public Personalities & Our Times. His writings include books with Cambridge University Press (Nuclear Power and Non-Proliferation), the Center For International Affairs at Harvard University (The Politics of International Monetary Reform), and the Brookings Institution (Reconcilable Differences, US-French Relations In The New Era).

73 comments

  1. Thank you for your brilliant and thoughtful analysis. It’s wonderful to read the truth among so many lies and distortions. Even Russian cats are to blame, now! How depraved our society has become!

  2. Funny, I’ve gotten into numerous online arguments about just this subject. The U.S. and other western hypocrisy regarding the Ukraine situation is so over the top that I can’t think of a word to describe how bad it is.

    People in the west have become so brainwashed that they’re like Pavlov’s dogs, attacking anything the establishment propaganda tells them to attack. Things like way too much TV, video games, and smart phones have reduced people’s attention spans to fractions of a second, and there is very little reliable news (as opposed to corporate/establishment propaganda) any longer. Once reliable alternative sources of news, like the Pacifica Network that includes Democracy Now!, have become nothing but liberal or Democratic Party propaganda machines since Trump broke their brains, and you have to make a much bigger effort to find real news now. Really bad situation, hard to see a way out of this.

    1. Jeff, thanks for your comment. I grew up in the Soviet Union and since many years live in Europe. In the past, I thought that we in the former Soviet Union were brainwashed. Here, in Europe, I realized that majority of people are brainwashed. Most people read headlines only. Most leaders and politicians spread hate, intolerance, and racism. I am not sure anymore what is the true aim of those mainstream politicians and media.

      1. @Jossie
        Our propaganda is better! At least in the Soviet Union, people knew the government was lying to them. In western Europe and the U.S., people don’t realize that what they think of as news is actually propaganda.

    2. Recall that when “Trump broke their brains” they were awash with Russiagate conspiracies that implicated Russia as the consummate ‘bad guy’ who broke our democracy.

      1. @Ted+Tripp
        I see it the other way around. People’s brains started getting broken when Trump won the nomination, and were completely broken by his winning of the election. The Russiagate lies came after that, and they cemented those breaks. And you’re correct, one of the reasons that some of us were so opposed to all the Russiagate BS was that it was demonizing Russia (in addition to creating a new McCarthyism).

      2. It gets complicated – Pavlov was a RUSSIAN scientist! Good grief! Maybe all that Pavlovian stuff is Fake News!

  3. Absolutely spot on. A tragic but completely true analysis of the hysteria surrounded this conflict. Thank you for your perspective and lucidity!

  4. What a fantastic article. However, I am afraid, waaaay to serious and insightful for most Americans to comprehend.
    We don’t like to think, or be told any mainstream narrative has nuance.
    God help us, we are getting into yet another war. The U.S. has gone insane, and there is no hope.

  5. “The Ukraine conflict has engendered a dangerous frenzy in the West. Does it say more about us than it does about Russia or Ukraine?”

    Humanity knows the way, all of us do. We sense our capacity to juggle the complexity nature presents, which in this case means identifying what’s behind our reactions to events. We don’t see the world as it is, but rather as we are, and we can see how others are by how they see things, and imagine ourselves in other positions, so that all can see all in all contexts, which paints a complete picture of humanity at its full potential, everone effortlessly rotating through any relevant point of view that’s needed to resolve disagreement, to shrink it into insignificant crumbs of nothingness. No more confusion, no more conflcit, no more negativity at all. Total positivity, total awareness, total insight, understanding, empathy, cooperation, solidarity. Humanity at its full potential.

    1. Just wondering if you are my old carpet-business partner in Downey, Calif. It’s a small world and for many years we were always on the same page as I see we are today.

  6. Wow, an unasked for lecture first thing in the morning.
    Yes it’s true the American empire is ugly and deadly.
    But has histories have shown all empires are. I’m certainly not making excuses for the murder and mayhem America has spread of cross the globe however we are not the only empire that is ugly and bloody all empires are.
    Look at chinas empire. Chairman mao killed more people then pol pot and hitler. And are still in the business of expansion and reclaiming countries they lost years ago full of people that now have their own culture and way of living . China says it owns these countries but I honestly don’t think the people in those areas feel that China owns them and they have moved on some a hundred years or more ago . And what’s going on with the Uyghurs. Does anyone really know? And don’t let me get started on chinas propaganda our overlords could definitely learn something from them in that respect.
    Russia is also an empire. It also has its own war crimes to answer for. Remember we weren’t the first to go into Afghanistan.
    I understand exactly what you are saying . I can’t disagree with any of it.
    But it seems to me that we are watching two other empires in the process of expansion and it’s being driven home that no.Empires don’t play pretty games especially on there way to world domination.

    1. Two other “empires” that are being surrounded by Western powers attempting to once again dominate global resources (for example, who will control the vast fossil fuels underneath the polar ice caps which are melting away? Please read Michael T. Klare’s ‘All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective On Climate Change’). How many foreign bases do these two “empires” have in comparison to US foreign bases (look it up, it’s frightening- try for instance David Vine’s masterful work ‘The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, From Columbus To The Islamic State.)? Too me, it looks as though the US is the “empire” on (or at least attempting) its way to “world domination” as once again, frightening as that sounds.

    2. So here is a great counterpoint! “I can understand that the US lies have made me hate Russia, but here is China and I know that all the stories I have heard are absolutely true!!!” So hating China is OK, too?

  7. An excellent overview of our continued hypocrisy. It appears to Tubularsock that hypocrisy is our national pastime and has replaced baseball!

    Yet this has been going on for so long in our history that we as a people would have to “think” on our own to counter it ……….. not going to happen.

    1. Good word! Please read, if you haven’t already, David Vine’s masterful work ‘The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, From Columbus To The Islamic State’ worth the effort to say the least.

  8. The USA feeds on violence and has done so since its beginning as it was founded on Native American genocide and African slavery. The USA is the worlds number one terrorist nation in the world. It is beyond hypocrisy when the USA calls out other nations for doing what it routinely does around the world. All you need to know about the USA is from the mouth of Madeline Albright when she plainly stated that the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children from the USA’s illegal invasion was worth it. But now somehow, what likely amounts to less than an hundred children killed in Ukraine, Putin and Russia is the most evil thing in the world. I don’t support Putin and his actions. War is a crime by any means as far as I am concerned. But I am so sick and tired of the USA and its completely BS outrage and demonization of Putin around this latest attack on Ukraine. Where was the outrage and sanctions on the USA for all the illegal invasions it has done around the world in recent years? The USA has zero morality when it comes to war making when it chooses to do so and has done so in recent years. The USA is the largest purveyor of violence and death as it sells weapons around the world and overthrows governments and other such actions.

  9. “Civilian casualties in Ukraine are relatively few. Despite the strenuous efforts to find then, actual numbers appear to be in the order of 300-400. For good reasons, Russian forces are calculatingly avoiding attacks on urban centers; after all, 40% of the population is Russian and concentrated in the regions where the fighting is taking place.”

    I won’t bother striking the keys of my keyboard to prove how the falsehoods of those few arrogant sentences are treasonous to every human being, including the creature that wrote them. I won’t bother proving, how those falsehoods perfectly reflect the Kremlin talking points, still echoing throughout some of the more stubborn media (left, right and center!). I won’t bother, elaborating, how this hack clearly wrote this *exactly because* his community pointed out what a hack he is and now he’s trying to project and gaslight. By the way, do you know you’re one of the last few outlets still clinging to those pathetic lies? Is that it? To boldly go against the flow – real or phantom – to the point of idiocy?

    What I will bother to do, is say the following:

    By publishing this, you signed it with your last name, Robert Scheer. You own this.

    And who am I for you to care what I have to say, eh? The answer is I’m just a nobody. But strangely enough in this case, neither of us has anything to prove. Because history will show where you stood, what you promoted here. Don’t try to say then, that you were led astray. That it was too complex at the time. You have documentaries made about you, books written. You’re a legend! You’re the man, right?!

    But you got lazy.

    When the fog of war falls, when the dust settles, when people catch their breaths and tell what they saw, when all the pictures and videos are out… when all the blood is in the ground and the bodies can be counted!

    I hope by that time, if we’re not *all dead*… I hope by that time [moderated]

    The internet will not forget. For what it’s worth, neither will I.

    1. Mighty thunderous statements made by this gentleman but he did not show empirical proof of his claims about the author’s statement concerning the number of civilians killed nor any verifiable urban centers targeted instead of avoided.

      This is a Putin commanded military answer for Russia’s requests over the years that Ukraine NOT join NATO that has been ignored with contempt by US dominated NATO alliance and never given the least consideration publicly.

      Russia made big concessions in 1991 with promises by NATO not to expand and those promises were cast aside when Russia was weakened by the Soviet disintegration and state by state it moved in to surround Russia.

      Putin has overseen a remarkable recovery a consolidated industry to work effectively for the rapid rebuilding of their military capability and moral among the troops.

      If you want to view him as a madman and corrupt wannabe dictator who’s only ambition is to rebuild the past glories of the Soviet era then you will have fabricated a misperception that will bind you to emotions and hasty and reckless decisions to punish him in the harshest ways you can drum up. These extreme punitive measures will fail to stop him from completing the task of de-Nazification of Ukrainian special forces that have been shelling those Russian majority breakaways. Your sanctions will as is typical of American hegemonic unilateral actions hurt the common citizens mostly and in this case there will be no populist uprising that will fulfill your dream of regime change.

      What would be best is a regime change in the White House and Congress if you ask me.

    2. I don’t know how to break this to you, but you bothered to do the things you said you wouldn’t be bothered to do.
      You referenced blood and body counts in your post.
      I suggest that you bother to compile a tally of all of the dead bodies that the USA has had a hand in creating, let’s say, post Vietnam.
      No need to count the yellow people from Korea, Vietnam, Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
      Body counts aren’t really a USA thing after those events.
      This exercise might help you temper some of that rage you feel towards Mr. Scheer, and other creatures that you vehemently disagree with.
      I wish you well.
      I won’t be seeing you at the library.
      The accounting of all of those bodies will necessitate extensive travel.
      Thank you to both Scheerpost, and the author of this article.
      And, to the commenters who add so very much to the discourse.

    3. Fine words Ehrlichman, but in all of those elegant phrases, I didn’t read one fact or data concerning the number of children killed, why? Indeed, the death of anyone diminishes us all, but I don’t think that was the point you were making, do you? Hardly! Again, refute Brenner’s numbers! But of course, you won’t even bother.

    4. Thank you, Ehrlichman. The excuses and apologies being made by the left — ostensible left — for Russia’s criminal invasion are appalling. These people would’ve been cheering Stalin if they’d been around then.

      I used to be an activist-in-arms with some of these people, including Chris Hedges, back during Occupy. Since then, I’ve watched as they’ve turned batshit-insane on so many fronts. They are incapable of seeing nuance, complexity, difficulty, contradiction. They are as bad in their binary thinking as any of MAGAloons on the right.

      Their entire philosophy consists of one thing and one thing only: “US wrong. Anyone who opposes the US right. Always.”

      1. The US has such a great track record of always being wrong, always being destructive and murderous, that it is easy, even wise, to dismiss US propaganda, especially war propaganda, as outright lies. In the Ukraine case, anyone paying attention noted the constant efforts at diplomacy on the Russian side, and the intransigent rejection on the American side. This is not “binary thinking”, just an observation of reality.
        As Martin Luther King claimed in his Riverside Church speech, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.” This has not changed since Vietnam, but gotten much worse as we see in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The American elites have so much blood on their hands they can never wash it out, just as Lady Macbeth tried, except they don’t appear to even notice the blood, feel no guilt, and keep blindly following their ideology of hate and hegemony.

      2. @Lisa Simeone
        It is YOU who’s lost it, not Chris Hedges. Your comments show that your brain was broken by Trump, and I would guess that the break was cemented by the Russiagate lies. You agree with this fascist Ehrlichman? Think about where that moniker comes from, it’s almost certainly not their name.

        You also fail to acknowledge the obvious truth that the U.S. is an empire that dominates the world; that NATO should have been disbanded when the Soviet Union collapsed; that NATO should not have expanded eastward (right up to the Russian border!); that if NATO was going to continue to exist, it should have admitted Russia when asked to do so; that the CIA should not have fomented a coup in Ukraine nor put its choice of leaders in power; and that Ukraine should not be allowing Nazis to have major portion of its military or be in major positions of its government.

        I strongly oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and other than Russia I haven’t read anyone who doesn’t, including Christ Hedges. But if you’re a Democrat, which is exactly what you sound like, then you support U.S. war for empire, morality and truth be damned.

      3. Yes, that is what I’m hearing. US wrong. Very wrong. Let us recount the many ways. Seems maladaptive and certainly not objective. Emotional. There, that’s it.

      4. Let me count the ways why the US is wrong: Korea, Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, Indonesia, East Timor, …, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine. It is a very long list of political and military aggression, over sixty. I do not consider that this time, oh this time, the US is right, even if the target is Vladimir Putin. The war in Ukraine has little to do with anything but imperial expansion and control, all at the expense of the Ukraine and Russia.

    5. Ehrlichman, your writing is so much better than anyone else on this page. I don’t think Americans are terrorists. America is certainly not without fault but we have made contributions. Many. I just have a sneaking suspicion this is all planned between us and Russia. We get the news blast and our citizenry joins the anti-war cause for democracy and Russia gets something under the table. This is what our leaders have become. Not our people, but our government.

      1. You do realize the dark side of America? Beginning in even WW I , American finance capital manipulated debt so much that it can be seen as the actual cause of Hitler’s rise. Right after WW II, America used its finance to forge anti-communist struggles in Europe, and the intelligence agencies committed regime change in Iran and Guatemala. Those events presaged a world where the dollar-debt controlled the world economy and the American military and its proxies made constant war around the globe, leading right up to the events in the Ukraine, and manufacturing consent for all these atrocities with the media’s compliance if not actual participation.
        We know very well that the American people have very little to say about the running of our government, that the US is more of a plutocracy with the ruling elites desperately trying to hold onto Empire, and that these same elites now focus on China and Russia, not as simple competitors, but deadly enemies. So, the American people can be ‘good’ while its government is ‘bad’; nothing of course is so simple, but it is easy to see nefarious motives in US policy behind the War On Ukraine–one has to wonder who is the bigger warmonger right now destroying the Ukraine, Putin or Biden.

  10. The truth was a casualty long before the Ukrainian Conflict. Covid and the Ukraine simply killed it off in it’s entirety. Now you live in the tragic dark comedy called the end of things as you know it. The ignorance, arrogance, programming, propaganda and greed that have led us to this point are now at fever pitch and things are starting to give. Fracture is probably the more accurate word.

    There isn’t so much as a glimmer of light in this dark place we have found ourselves. Indeed if we continue without some great course change, we may never see the light again.

    Have a wonderful day.

  11. I don’t fly at the author’s altitude, but I noted similar dynamics when longtime friends and correspondents just went all in on Putin hatred, warmongering, and even advocacy of a no fly zone and boots on the ground. Their overflowing compassion for the brave and noble Ukrainian people and zeal for all out war were remarkable. They mocked my naive “pacifism”.

  12. Get back to the basics. We spent the past year pointing to the buildup of US/NATO troops in Eastern Europe, inching up along Ukraine’s western border, in violation of the 1990 NATO agreement against eastward expansion — setting the stage for war. Then abruptly, as of this past Monday, Dem Party loyalists shrieked, “Russia’s invading Ukraine!” Well no, Russia’s not invading Ukraine. The media serving the Democrat Party simply said it was — similar to the Republican-serving media’s lies about “Iraq’s stockpiles of WMD.” Repeated every single day until Bush Jr. finally conceded that those “stockpiles of WMD” never existed in the first place.

  13. Despite the crucial truths that Brenner uncovers or reiterates–and his essay deserves praise for that–it is his egocentric manner that is disturbing. He seemingly counts the responses his articles have garnered: “Some of my recent commentaries have evoked an unusually large number of replies: as many as a dozen out of 5,400 recipients.” In a few words, it is as if Brenner is looking at himself in the mirror as he pridefully unveils his treacherous wisdom.

    1. Hisss! Your comment, Blackorpheus is one of the stupidest comments ever. Brenner sees 5400 people read one of his essays and out of that 12 commented. Not really world-shaking, but indicative of interest in this subject.

  14. Thank you, Prof Brenner! Especially for pointing out what’s been going on in Eastern Ukraine for the past 8 years since the coup aided and abetted by that diplomatic luminary, Nuland, in 2014. What do WE hear about 2014 – that was “the time Russia ‘annexed’ Crimea” – never mentioning that the folks there voted overwhelmingly to join Russia (oh, shucks, that was a “sham” election, right?) after the coup and the new gov’t, among other things, voted to outlaw the use of the Russian language (what would Quebec say if the Canadian gov’t outlawed the use of French?) and later voted to form new Republics, only years after Ukraine failed to implement the Minsk accords (shelling them all the while), which would have preserved the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but given them semi-autonomous status … And Nuland is still around in the Biden Admin. – no doubt still whispering in Zelensky’s ear …

    What amazes me is that we now insist on revealing stuff that happened several hundred years ago in this country, but can’t seem to reveal what happened in 2014 elsewhere – maybe we need a 2014 Project – will that take a couple of 100 years, too? We put the precipitating event as “Russia annexing Ukraine” as if that was all there was – “Washington crossing the Delaware” as the precipitating event of the Amer. Rev. …

    And now, in this land that says it values “free speech” – Jefferson said ” if (he) had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter” – we are censoring any press or outlet that doesn’t parrot the government’s line – RT “the Russian gov’ts mouthpiece” has been removed from American, and many other, airways to make sure we hear nothing but domestic mouthpieces for the American gov’t – so Hedges and others have disappeared from American airwaves while these domestic mouthpieces remain and flourish, as we throw the baby out while keeping, and “recycling”, the bathwater …. If our country is at such a state that its citizens cannot be trusted to hear multiple views and sort them out for themselves, we are in deep do-do indeed …

    1. “Hedges and others have disappeared from American airwaves” Hard to find but so wonderful to read when you but the effort in to stay in touch with what being written and spoken by such courageous individuals. Enjoyed your response immensely! Thank you very much.

  15. Very questionable association with outright Nazi groups and White Supremacists not only by the Ukrainians but with the US politicians and the CIA. The Russian requests for their red line respect made a lot of sense and the survival of the species depends on not ignoring this.

  16. Thank you, thank you. The hypocrisy overwhelms me. I long ago stopped reading the NYT & the WA POST as well as not watching the TV news. It’s all so predictable & slanted to fit the popular myths being promoted by our leaders .

  17. I applaud your insights and the courage necessary to share them in the current environment of conformity. And I am audibly sighing in dispirited resignation at those who are recoiling in coordinated horror as if the current act of violence is particularly unjust or noteworthy in comparison to all the others that we and others propagate in the name of strategic necessity or moral imperative.

  18. Prof. Brenner writes:
    “Civilian casualties in Ukraine are relatively few. Despite the strenuous efforts to find then, actual numbers appear to be in the order of 300-400.”
    I can’t help but wonder what effects Mr. Brenner’s teaching and scholarship has had in preventing U.S. conflicts around the world to date? Are his current musings more “truthful” than those of others? I wonder what good this opinion piece will do in ending the current conflict in Ukraine? Who is that controls the truth (and history)? A good question!

    [quoting Corbert, Jessica. “Ukrainian Civilian Death Toll Likely “Considerably Higher” Than 351, UN Says.” COMMON DREAMS, 2022 March 5.] The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it believes that “the real figures are considerably higher, especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intensive hostilities have been going on was delayed and many reports were still pending corroboration.”

    “This concerns, for example, the town of Volnovakha where hundreds of civilian casualties have been alleged,” the office said. “These figures are being further corroborated and are not included.”

    Between 04:00 on 24 February 2022, when the Russian Federation’s military action against # Ukraine started, and 24:00 on 4 March 2022, our Ukraine Office @UNHumanRightsUA recorded 1,058 civilian casualties in Ukraine: 351 killed & 707 injured. Learn more: https://t.co/Jvv39YKWBS pic.twitter.com/dKnAemcaJ0

    — UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 5, 2022

    The Associated Press noted that “Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it’s impossible to verify the claim.”

    OHCHR added that most confirmed civilian casualties since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion on February 24 “were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.”

  19. “40% of the population is Russian and concentrated in the regions where the fighting is taking place”

    According to 2001 Census data, of the 48,240,902 registered in it, only 8,334,141 are Russian. While Russian are the largest minority in Ukraine, they are only 17.25%, limited primarily to Crimea, with 3 or 4 small enclaves in the east part of the country, on the Russian-Ukraine border.

    I guess being a professor does not precludes one from being propaganda peddler…

    1. PS

      The shameless peddling of Putinesque propaganda by the professor is equally reflected in the exorbitant, and truly frightening level of ignorance exhibited by the fawning commentary above…

      We seem to be living in an Orwellian reality after all, where lies are not simply titled ‘truth’ but ‘THE truth’…

  20. There’s not much to disagree with in Professor Brenner’s article, insofar as it relates to American crimes. He appears to know more about civilian deaths in Ukraine than does the UNHCR; and he does not mention over one million refugees. I wonder how he could ignore that, but let that pass.

    However, if truth is the first casualty of war, wisdom is the long lasting casualty. The root of ‘polemic’ is the Greek ‘polemos’ which means war. Polemic in our time is binary; its whatabout-ery, which I’m sad to say, characterises Brenner’s observations. Sad because he is quite right to point to American /and Western lies and hypocrisy. I will add to his list the American involvement in the support of war-criminal President Yahya Khan in his genocidal activity in East Pakistan in 1971, testified to by none other than US diplomat Archer Blood; the Chilean coup of 1973, and the Argentinian coup of 1976. All these interventions led to the death of hundreds of thousands, and the traumatisation of millions. My generation can never forget Vietnam, which along with Laos and Cambodia, suffered 3 million dead. The USA only remembers 58,000 American casualties, whose names are inscribed on a wall. The rest of us are furniture.

    Binary thinking (no less than ‘group think’) is equally an aspect of rendering wisdom itself into an ideology. Why are we obliged to forget the two wars fought by post-communist Russia in Chechnya between 1994 and 2003? Estimates of civilian deaths vary from 50, 000 to over 200, 000. The human rights group Memorial, recently banned for researching Stalinist injustices, (and whose chief historian Yuri Dmitriyev was recently sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony), estimated the number in both wars as over 200,000. Other civil society groups, such as the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, were persecuted and banned for ”ethnic incitement’ and extremism’. The second Chechnyan war was Putin’s war, and I have to ask Prof Brenner whether that too was justified because of US provocation.

    Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalist and human rights activist was put on trial twice for fighting for human rights for Chechnyans; then murdered in 2006. 58 journalists have been murdered in Russia between 1992 and 2022, according to the International Committee of journalists. Dissident politicians and businessmen have been murdered at long distance. Are all these crimes also to be laid at the door of NATO and ‘the West’? Does the Russian establishment have any agency at all? Are they puppets of historical forces? Do high powered executives have any ethical culpability at all or are they exonerated by the dilemmas of sovereignty?

    Perhaps the following query will help clarify my objections to Prof Brenner: Given the fate of human rights activists, journalists and truth speakers in Russia (who were doing exactly what Brenner is doing here, calling out the criminal activity of their own government) – given their grisly fate, what does Brenner intend to convey to his readers by ignoring them completely? If the boot were on the other foot, if he with his erudition and conscience were located in Russia today, does he think he could air his view freely, without fearing for his life?

    In my response to his earlier article on the humiliation of Putin, let’s leave aside the sophistry and have a truthful conversation. The USSR collapsed because the CPSU couldn’t legitimise itself. Gorbachev’s liberal efforts came too late, and the hard liners staged a coup against him. Today the population of the post USSR is paying the price. Let Brenner find out whether the bombardment of residential buildings and nuclear power stations in Ukraine is fake news and whether the flow of refugees is a mere trickle. And let us all reflect on why and whether we owe the Russian tyrants an extended lease on their expired sovereignty over the territories of the post USSR.

    And yes, lets hear it from all the liberal minded American intelligentsia, make a pubic call to try your various ex-Presidents for war crimes and brutal illegal interventions the world over, from Vietnam till the other day, in the Middle East. We’ve had it up to our throats with tyrants and polemicists.

  21. And I thank you, Professor Brenner, for articulating in a precise and coherent way all that needed to be said about this current state of affairs. Many of us remember the days when we were able to disseminate for ourselves the news of the day because the Fourth Estate actually did what it was designed to do – ie give the facts, and let us form our own opinions. Debate is dead in our global society during the time when we need it the most.

  22. Excuse my spelling mistake in the last paragraph – ‘public’, not ‘pubic’

  23. That was such a great piece and a must read even if one doesn’t agree with this gentleman!

  24. Excellent piece! It’s good to hear voices of reason if not sanity when everyone and everything in the MSM is “screaming” fall in line and join the herd. Thank you Michael Brenner!

  25. Professor Brenner does present an important counterpoint to most Western media sources. Unfortunately, like Oliver Stone in his documentary “Ukraine on Fire,” instead of providing a balanced analysis, he does exactly what he is criticizing the mainstream media of doing. For example, he states, “the Ukrainian army has been shelling the city centers of Lugansk and Donetsk, producing casualties estimated by a UN agency at more than 1,300.” He does not specifically state which UN agency. Why not? He also fails to mention that human rights violations, such as the torture and raping of prisoners, have been committed on both sides, and that the Minsk ceasefire agreement was repeatedly broken by both sides. Unlike Professor Brenner, I will cite my source: https://www.dw.com/en/fact-check-russia-falsely-blames-ukraine-for-starting-war/a-60999948.

    For a more balanced view, of this conflict, I would recommend Noam Chomsky’s analysis on Truthout: https://truthout.org/articles/noam-chomsky-us-military-escalation-against-russia-would-have-no-victors/. As we all know, Noam is not exactly known for being a staunch defender of U.S. imperialism!
    As a counterbalance to Oliver Stone’s documentary, I would recommend “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” available on Netflix. While both are biased in different directions, Stone’s documentary primarily relies on statements from Putin, Yanukovych, Medvedchuk and others clearly biased towards Russia, while Winter on Fire relies on dozen’s of interviews with mostly common Ukrainian citizens.

    1. Interesting that Mr Frazer quotes Noam Chomsky.
      Chew gum and walk at the same time. The American public, driven by government media, simply condemn Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Noam Chomsky calls it “an unprovoked and unjustified attack that will go down in history as one of the major war crimes of the 21st century…” His actual inquiry, however, discusses the background of events by the West and the US that drove the Russians to this act and the, hard to qualify, disastrous consequences to Russia and the world. While the world burns up from the climate crisis, making war is the last thing we humans should be doing. I sometimes think that the Biden crew are choosing nuclear holocaust as their preferred solution to the climate problem.
      The Netflix piece in question is a propaganda piece on the same level as the White Helmets hagiography of the Syrian jihadists. While containing some truth, ‘Ukraine on Fire’ omits the influence of the NED ($6 billion invested for democracy change according to Victoria Nuland) in the Maidan coup. It is clear that Kiev and its CIA advisers have won the information war. Perhaps after this war is all over, we will have opportunity to document Nazi atrocities preceding and during this war.

      1. @Ted+Tripp
        Chomsky also advocates voting for Democrats. As Jimmy Dore said, when he’s right, he’s really right, but when he’s wrong, he’s really wrong. Any idiot can see that this was not an unprovoked attack by Russia. Chomsky is really old and his position on mandating COVID-19 vaccines strongly indicates that he’s lost it. I wouldn’t put much stock in what Chomsky says at this very late stage of his life.

  26. Disgusting, sociopathic, bordering-on-criminal defense of Putin. What is wrong with you people??

    Was Putin also “forced” to flatten Grozny?? Was that all NATO’s fault, too??

    You people literally make me want to vomit. I hang my head in shame as a leftist to be associated with such vile apologists.

  27. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the next NYTimes, or CNN– for that matter, even PBS or NPR–headline would scream out, “Putin–he modern-day Attila Hun with nukes–is coming, after Ukraine, to steal our our women and expropriate & nationalize our beloved (Mal)-(W)art stores across 50 states!”

  28. ‘Full Spectrum Control’ cannot and will not allow anything as free and honest and threatening as Truth to run loose and confuse We The Very-well-propagandized-and- gaslighted Public.

    What good is all that mind control effort if Truth can just come along and quickly and easily wipe all that rot away?

    The ‘Truth’ is what They tell you it is and you damned well better believe it OR ELSE.

    The Dark Forces have spent decades of time and fortunes of (our) money to construct a House Of Cards to their liking and benefit. They have codified laws to insure its survival. They have destroyed lives to keep it in place. They push out every second of the day on all forms of communication this toxic mental and spiritual and emotional poison to keep We the heavily addicted Public hooked on the stuff.

    When one lies… you have to keep on lying. And keep on lying. And then, lie some more. And keep doubling-down on the lies. And keep expanding the Overton Windows of Lies wider and wider and more ridiculous and more mentally disempowering.

    These guys are masters at this. They have spent years and years perfecting their craft. And it delights them no end that The Public is now so eager to accept and incorporate the Dark Forces endless stream of horse manure into our lives and thoughts and deeds.

    Who knew that it would be so easy for a small group of people to control the lives of billions of others? And to be able to do this for generations?

    In order to have a good and productive garden, you first must prepare the ground and clear away the weeds. In our World today, the weeds have taken over and are drowning out the green shoots of Truth who still dare to try to poke through the soiled and choked ground.

    The Weeds have become the Garden. And We the People have become the fertilizer.

  29. Former student of yours at Pitt/GSPIA (2001-02). Pleasantly surprised to see your name as the author after stumbling onto this piece after hearing Lee Camp conclude Redacted Tonight on YouTube where he mentioned both RadIndie and Scheerpost . First time here at Scheerpost. Plan to stay. Met Scheer in Honolulu at a book signing for Pornography of Power around 2010 during my doctoral study at UH Manoa.

  30. The rest of the world knows about these atrocities, but home side and the Anglo world is overwhelmed by persuasive and persistent American media that all things American are good but anything Russia, China are bad.
    No one can beat American Propaganda, even Donald can bend half of America to his Trumpian alternative truths.

    The Yankee dollar, Swift, war culture and war machines can wear down any one.

    But over confidence and arrogance and internal conflict will end the Empire.

  31. It’s Rip Van Winkle time, for sure, in the United States of Amnesia, or, of course, the United States of Lies. Even viewing the film (series) ZEITGEIST, should jar some of the loose nuts and bolts in the American brain collectively. (https://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ )

    You know, false flags like Pearl Harbor, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin, and, well, the Fed, the contrived Wall Street “collapses,” and, darn, forget about Sept. 11, 2001. Homeland Security, US Patriot Act.

    It’s as if people writing here at Scheer Report have sheared off parts of their brains.

    And, so, the William Blum Beat goes on:

    Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

    His book on U.S. foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995 and updated since, has received international acclaim. Noam Chomsky called it “far and away the best book on the topic.”

    In 1999, he was one of the recipients of Project Censored’s awards for “exemplary journalism” for writing one of the top ten censored stories of 1998, an article on how, in the 1980s, the United States gave Iraq the material to develop a chemical and biological warfare capability.

    Blum was also the author of America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else (2013), Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (updated edition 2005), West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir (2002), and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2004). His books have been translated into more than 15 languages.

    During 2002-2003, Blum was a regular columnist for the magazine The Ecologist, which is published in London and distributed globally.

    In January 2006, a tape from Osama bin Laden stated that “it would be useful” for Americans to read Rogue State, apparently to gain a better understanding of their enemy.

    China 1949 to early 1960s
    Albania 1949-53
    East Germany 1950s
    Iran 1953 *
    Guatemala 1954 *
    Costa Rica mid-1950s
    Syria 1956-7
    Egypt 1957
    Indonesia 1957-8
    British Guiana 1953-64 *
    Iraq 1963 *
    North Vietnam 1945-73
    Cambodia 1955-70 *
    Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
    Ecuador 1960-63 *
    Congo 1960 *
    France 1965
    Brazil 1962-64 *
    Dominican Republic 1963 *
    Cuba 1959 to present
    Bolivia 1964 *
    Indonesia 1965 *
    Ghana 1966 *
    Chile 1964-73 *
    Greece 1967 *
    Costa Rica 1970-71
    Bolivia 1971 *
    Australia 1973-75 *
    Angola 1975, 1980s
    Zaire 1975
    Portugal 1974-76 *
    Jamaica 1976-80 *
    Seychelles 1979-81
    Chad 1981-82 *
    Grenada 1983 *
    South Yemen 1982-84
    Suriname 1982-84
    Fiji 1987 *
    Libya 1980s
    Nicaragua 1981-90 *
    Panama 1989 *
    Bulgaria 1990 *
    Albania 1991 *
    Iraq 1991
    Afghanistan 1980s *
    Somalia 1993
    Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
    Ecuador 2000 *
    Afghanistan 2001 *
    Venezuela 2002 *
    Iraq 2003 *
    Haiti 2004 *
    Somalia 2007 to present
    Honduras 2009 *
    Libya 2011 *
    Syria 2012
    Ukraine 2014 *
    Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?

    A: Because there’s no American embassy there.

  32. Quoting, John Wight, an author and political commentator based in Scotland.

    ‘Eurocentrism is a disease rooted in white supremacy and colonialism, and it has never been more open than during Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

    Take, for example, the sentiments of CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata. While on air at the outset of the conflict, D’Agata stated that Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city, one where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that it’s going to happen.”

    Resolute in his belief in Western exceptionalism, D’Agata spared his viewers the bother of explaining that the reason that Iraq and Afghanistan have seen “conflict raging for decades” is due to the West’s crimes of aggression against both countries.

    Or how about the BBC interview of a former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine, who said, “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blond hair … being killed every day.” Rather than challenge this openly racist utterance, the BBC host instead replied, “I understand and respect the emotion.”

    Britain’s ITV news network also has questions to answer, when one of their correspondents, based in Poland, declared, “Now the unthinkable has happened to them [the Ukrainian people}. And this is not a developing, third world nation. This is Europe!”

    As if war and conflict should only ever take place in developing, third world nations – nations whose de-development is precisely a consequence of their histories of subjugation in service to European and Western colonialism and imperialism.

    The description of Vladimir Putin as the new Hitler and a dictator and madman will have landed in the ears of people in Egypt, Iran, Palestine, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela like an old and familiar friend. After all, Nasser, Khomeini, Arafat, Chavez, and Castro have all in their time been regaled with this moniker and others like from state rooms and newsrooms in Paris, London and Washington, etc.

    Putin’s real transgression is not that he has decided to wage war on Ukraine – and done so after spending years warning of the consequences of NATO’s expansion all the way up to Russia’s western border. It is that it’s only the US and its European allies that are allowed to wage war. This is a white European ‘privilege,’ you see dear reader, afforded only those nations of a higher culture and civilization than the rest, including Russia.’

    1. @Paul+Haeder
      And to make matters worse:

      I’m now getting fundraising requests from other Americans to send money to Ukraine. Not to Afghanistan, a country that the U.S. invaded, brutalized, and occupied for 20 years.* Not to Iraq, a country that the U.S. invaded using a big lie as a pretext, then occupied until it was driven out, and where the U.S. killed or was otherwise responsible for the deaths of approximately one million people. Not to Libya, the invasion and total destruction of which was advocated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, without whose advocacy this invasion wouldn’t have happened, destroying a country that had the highest standard of living in Africa. Not to Yemen, where the U.S. armed Saudi Arabia to commit genocide against one of the poorest populations in the world. Not to Somalia, where the U.S. is currently bombing, which means killing innocent civilians.

      These requests are coming from aging punk rockers, a group of people who used to be absolutely anti-establishment and who wouldn’t listen to anything the establishment said. But like you said, Ukrainians are white, so that’s where people’s sympathy and empathy lies. (That combined with all the brains that Trump broke and the massive Russiagate propaganda.) Personally, I can’t relate to this. As an Earth First!er and deep ecologist, I don’t even discriminate between a human and a tree or a cricket, and certainly not between different colored humans. There is something really rotten in the psyche of most humans, that’s all I can say here.

      * All of these U.S. invasions were immoral and illegitimate, and caused massive loss of life and destruction of property and society in the invaded countries.

  33. Often i feel i have gone crazy with my efforts to objectively view US government’s actions here and around the world. I wonder if i have gone down a rabbit hole that has resulted in my becoming a radical, fringe lunatic, unable to see what every person i come into contact, including many in my family, know as unarguable fact, that is that the US is a force of good, always wearing the white hat, promoting peace, freedom, democracy. When i can get someone to agree the US routinely commits war crimes and crimes against humanity, they rationalize US actions were justified for the larger good, our government is playing five dimensional chess or is God-like working in mysterious ways for good. But in the next breath, they castigate politicians in the other party has criminal, corrupt, liars or worse. So these people believe at least 50% politicians are at best not fit for service. Some believe politicians in the other party are pedophiles AND cannibals…wtf? Yet these same people fully trust and support this government (and their MSM channel) when it comes to waging wars, my cognitive dissonance is off the charts. If i shared this article with them, many would refer to you (and me) as a Putin Puppet, communist, or traitor. I think you are hero writing truth to power, keep up the good work!

    1. @eugene clark
      To hold radical views, even when they’re clearly the most objective and reasonable views, puts you in a very small minority. You could choose to be blissfully ignorant or to sell your soul and support USA, USA, but short of that you’ll just have to accept that the vast majority of Americans are against us. A large majority even wants a U.S. no-fly zone over Ukraine, a psychopathic idea that could easily lead to nuclear war.

      All we can do is stay true to the truth and look at our own country objectively instead of deluding ourselves with some sort of tribalism (not the good kind!). You’ll have to make hard choices about whether to speak the truth and lose friends, or keep your mouth shut. You may even have to make hard choices about whether to speak the truth and go to prison or be killed, or keep your mouth shut. This situation is way worse than when we opposed the Vietnam war, and we were a somewhat small minority at the beginning of that opposition. We’re either going to continue to slide into some dystopian horror, or people will wake up. All we can do is to do what we can, let’s hope that’s enough.

    2. Shucks, I think roughly 100% of politicians, or at least the ones we have put in office for at least the last 30 years, are not fit for service …

  34. Thanks, Professor Michael Brenner.
    (This sentence puts me on the List. Which “list”? I shall see, perhaps. Maybe not shot, like the Ukrainian negotiator recently. Or shoved to the wall, like the Ukrainian deputy recently – by a bulky Nazi. These were slaughtering Poles in Wołyń . . . also at Ukraine, present teritories, WWII).
    I write this from Poland.
    If such action like we are seeing now in Ukraine were performed between 1933-1939 in Germany – by the WEST FORCES, there would be no 2nd World War. But the British and French didn’t do nothing. Truman has said about the fight between Russia and Germany than: “let kill them one another as many as possible” . Or something to this effect. Now we are having the same planning at work.

  35. Put the things in the simplest words: there are an invader (Russia) and an invaded (Ukraine). I stand the invaded and against the invader. The rest is bullshit.

    (Scuse mu poor English; I’, uruguayaen, and we spel Spanish)-

  36. Pues Guillermo, la situación en la Ukraine es bien complicado. Fué una invasión en progreso del gobierno de la Ukraine contra los rebeldes del Este en Ukraine. El ejército de Ukraine está llena de Nazis que quieren matarles a los rebeldes. Entonces, quién es el invasor?

  37. Has anyone noticed that the Truth happens to be a casualty when discussing ANY subject Politically or in the News, or Science, History, Religion, Space Exploration, Life in space, History of the planet and humanity, status of technology hidden by the Government and Secret Corporations engaged in a Global/Space Conglomerate and running a Secret Space Program since 1947 etc.,
    Foreign Affairs, Global Warming, War, Medicine…the list goes on for just about everything. Why…Because those who truly run governments hold knowledge and technology far more advanced that what we are told. The purposely keep humanity in the dark so that they can retain control over us by using this technology against us in very damaging and nefarious ways. Listen to Klaus Schwab and is cohort and you’ll know. They used the terms “Conspiracy Theory” against humanity so that half the people would jump on board and buy into their BS, when in fact it has never been a theory, but facts that are now coming out.

    1. @Edward William Case
      The proper way to discuss any contentious subject matter is to first agree on provably true facts. For example, it’s a provable fact that industrial emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels heats the atmosphere, and those emissions of carbon dioxide acidifies the oceans. After agreeing on the facts, people can then opine on whether they want to do something about it and, if so, what.

      There is no room for “flat-Earthers” in this process. If people refuse to accept provably true facts, we’re stuck. Because people generally make decisions based on how they feel and not based on facts, we need to study and use George Lakoff’s ideas in order to fix this kind of thing.

  38. I’ve written letters comparing the misinformation on the pandemic/vaccinations to the misinformation that we got on the Iraq war. I pointed out that the truth was available on Truthdig, KPFK and other sources but we had to seek it out. I hadn’t even thought about Truthdig for a long while so looked it up and found you at this site. It’s so refreshing to hear brilliant truth; it’s so rare these days. Thank you! I’ve gotten good value and truth from Jimmy Dore, Aaron Mate, and Max Blumenthal but this piece was even more powerful and succinct.

  39. The most dangerous person is the True Believer. I prefer to “believe around” rather than to “believe in”. Thank you for your insights. I might add that the Diplomat and the Professor archetypes are both expressions of the God, Jupiter/Zeus whose most revealing epithet is “Don’t believe your own bullshit.”

    Another lovely aphorism I just now thought of…
    “The mind is a terrible thing to believe!”

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