Military Norman Solomon Ukraine

From Moscow to Washington, the Barbarism and Hypocrisy Don’t Justify Each Other

U.S. hypocrisy in no way excuses the murderous rampage of Russia’s war on Ukraine, but hopping on a bandwagon of the U.S. government as a force for peace is a fantasy journey.
[Alisdare Hickson / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Norman Solomon

Russia’s war in Ukraine — like the USA’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — should be understood as barbaric mass slaughter. For all their mutual hostility, the Kremlin and the White House are willing to rely on similar precepts: Might makes right. International law is what you extol when you aren’t violating it. And at home, rev up the nationalism to go with the militarism.

While the world desperately needs adherence to a single standard of nonaggression and human rights, some convoluted rationales are always available in a quest to justify the unjustifiable. Ideologies get more twisted than pretzels when some people can’t resist the temptation to choose up sides between rival forces of terrible violence.

In the United States, with elected officials and mass media intensely condemning Russia’s killing spree, the hypocrisy can stick in the craw of people mindful that the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions started massive protracted carnage. But U.S. hypocrisy in no way excuses the murderous rampage of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

At the same time, hopping on a bandwagon of the U.S. government as a force for peace is a fantasy journey. The USA is now in its twenty-first year of crossing borders with missiles and bombers as well as boots on the ground in the name of the “war on terror.” Meanwhile, the United States spends more than 10 times what Russia does for its military.

It’s important to shed light on the U.S. government’s broken promises that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward” after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Expanding NATO to Russia’s border was a methodical betrayal of prospects for peaceful cooperation in Europe. What’s more, NATO became a far-flung apparatus for waging war, from Yugoslavia in 1999 to Afghanistan a few years later to Libya in 2011.

The grim history of NATO since the disappearance of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliance more than 30 years ago is a saga of slick leaders in business suits bent on facilitating vast quantities of arms sales — not only to longtime NATO members but also to countries in Eastern Europe that gained membership. The U.S. mass media are on a nonstop detour around mentioning, much less illuminating, how NATO’s dedication to avid militarism keeps fattening the profit margins of weapons dealers. By the time this decade began, the combined annual military spending of NATO countries had hit $1 trillion, about 20 times Russia’s.

After Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, denunciations of the attack came from one U.S. antiwar group after another after another that has long opposed NATO’s expansion and war activities. Veterans For Peace issued a cogent statement condemning the invasion while saying that “as veterans we know increased violence only fuels extremism.” The organization said that “the only sane course of action now is a commitment to genuine diplomacy with serious negotiations — without which, conflict could easily spiral out of control to the point of further pushing the world toward nuclear war.”

The statement added that “Veterans For Peace recognizes that this current crisis did not just happen in the last few days, but represents decades of policy decisions and government actions that have only contributed to the building of antagonisms and aggressions between countries.”

While we should be clear and unequivocal that Russia’s war in Ukraine is an ongoing, massive, inexcusable crime against humanity for which the Russian government is solely responsible, we should be under no illusions about the U.S. role in normalizing large-scale invasions while flouting international security. And the geopolitical approach of the U.S. government in Europe has been a precursor to conflict and foreseeable calamities.

Consider a prophetic letter to then-President Bill Clinton that was released 25 years ago, with NATO expansion on the near horizon. Signed by 50 prominent figures in the foreign-policy establishment — including a half-dozen former senators, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and such mainstream luminaries as Susan Eisenhower, Townsend Hoopes, Fred Ikle, Edward Luttwak, Paul Nitze, Richard Pipes, Stansfield Turner and Paul Warnke — the letter makes for chilling reading today. It warned that “the current U.S.-led effort to expand NATO” was “a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability.”

The letter went on to emphasize: “In Russia, NATO expansion, which continues to be opposed across the entire political spectrum, will strengthen the nondemocratic opposition, undercut those who favor reform and cooperation with the West, bring the Russians to question the entire post-Cold War settlement, and galvanize resistance in the Duma to the START II and III treaties. In Europe, NATO expansion will draw a new line of division between the ‘ins’ and the ‘outs,’ foster instability, and ultimately diminish the sense of security of those countries which are not included.”

That such prescient warnings were ignored was not happenstance. The bipartisan juggernaut of militarism headquartered in Washington was not interested in “European stability” or a “sense of security” for all countries in Europe. At the time, in 1997, the most powerful ears were deaf to such concerns at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. And they still are.

While apologists for the governments of Russia or the United States want to focus on some truths to the exclusion of others, the horrific militarism of both countries deserves only opposition. Our real enemy is war.

___________________________

Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of a dozen books including Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State, published this year in a new edition as a free e-book. His other books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. 

45 comments

  1. The truth is that Ukraine is a puppet state of the US engaged in a proxy war, armed to the teeth by the US, “fighting to the last Ukrainian”, with NAZIs being their police, military and security apparatus leaders (which explains why the US and Ukraine were the only countries voting against NAZI-fication in the UN).
    A nice, but bare-boned counternarrative to American propaganda: https://multipolarista.com/2022/03/14/ukrainian-leftist-war-russia-us/

    1. @michael888
      The war has been provoked by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Russia is the aggressor in accordance with international law and the US Charter.

      1. Not quite right. Police action,

        A few updates on Ukraine before turning to the main course of Scott Ritter’s latest take on how Russia is prosecuting its campaign. His bottom line is, as he says near the top of a two hour-talk:

        The Russians are grinding down the Ukrainians and they are doing it with flipped math. 200,000 guys are grinding down 600,000 guys. It’s one of the most amazing things. When this story is finally told, people are going to be stunned. All these people now are saying, “Oh, the Russians, they are doing so poorly, the Russians this…”. Maybe they are. Maybe I’m getting this all wrong. But you know, I’ve studied military history, I think I know how to read a map, I think I know how to look at the balance of forces, I think I know how to study logistics and stuff, and I think I’m reading this right….This war is closer to being over than many people think.

        Ritter also argues, interestingly, that it is of paramount importance that Zelensky surrenders to Russia, or the functional equivalent by signing a peace on Russian terms. Ritter argues that at this juncture, that means Russians cannot win too quickly. Ukraine has to look like it has exhausted its options.

  2. I get why Russia did what they did. Was there a better way for them to stand up to the US and protect themselves from our depredations and aggression? Perhaps, but I am not in a position to know for sure. What I do know is the US government is utterly corrupt, aggressive, and morally and ethically bankrupt. I also know they have steadily been encroaching on the Russian border for a long time. I am also aware that Russia tried to integrate itself with the west…offered it’s hand in friendship and was rejected.

    None of this had to happen….yet given the people and structures involved it was also inevitable. I fully expect these psychopaths to take this nightmare to the limit….and beyond.

    Have a great day.

    1. @JustAMaverick
      “I also know they have steadily been encroaching on the Russian border for a long time.””

      Really? Can you give a single example of such encroachment?

  3. The overwhelmingly contrarian nature of left-ish Neo Progressive politicized speech is revealed through its commentary to Putin’s war on Ukraine, the EU, the US and NATO.

    There are at least two reasons for the left-ish pundits’ bizarre panic with respect to the liberals’ and liberal media’s uncompromising position against Putin’s unprovoked imperialist war on Ukraine.
    Two of the most important distinctive features of the Neo Progressive left-ish narrative are anti-war stances and anti-liberal and anti-MSM trends. The current wall to wall condemnation of Putin’s military aggression by liberals treads on the left-ish odd proprietary attitude towards anti-war speech, and since they cannot criticize the adaptation of their own views, they trump up accusations of hypocrisy, racism and double standards.
    More important, however, is that left-ish pundits in fact support Putin’s war as, first, a justified response against the so called ‘NATO expansionism’ and the supposed western ‘hostility’ towards Russia, second, as justified, even necessary to counter the ghosts of a fabled ‘Neo Nazis’ rise in Ukraine, third, as appropriate retaliation to the conspiratorial ‘US coup’ that overthrew a Russian figurehead in 2014, fourth, as an important step towards establishing a military counterbalance to US global hegemony and fifth, given the authoritarian conservatism Putin’s Russia represents, its rise echoes the left-ish own hatred to anything and everything liberal, including but not restricted to liberal democracy itself.

    The left-ish support for Putin’s fascistic imperialism exposes their supposed anti-war narrative as the politically expedient demagoguery that it is. It also reveals their willingness to accept both imperialism and fascism as acceptable tools and/or prices when it serves their partisan goals.

    These breaks with central and essential cornerstones of progressive thinking – anti-war, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, and democracy – is a dangerous shift in progressive narrative for an additional reason since it conflict with an important feature of progressive identity, namely the conviction that theirs is not simply another political worldview but the (capital T) Truth. As their positions on Putin’s fascistic imperialism unravel, specifically their political expediency, and hence the moral relativism they incontrovertibly express are exposed, an important progressive identity proposition is weakened, if not revealed as entirely delusional.

    1. Over the past year, the Biden admin. had moved tens of thousands of US/NATO troops to E. Europe, now along a section of Russia’s border – provoking war.

      1. @DHFabian
        You seem to have your causality wrong : the NATO troops were moved in Central and Eastern Europe ( very few of them in countries actually bordering Russia because of Russia preparations and later actual war.
        In any case it seems stupid to think that Russia attacked Ukraine because of NATO troop movements in Poland and Romania for instance.

      2. Ahh, DHFabian. You will be bombarded with another sort of stupidity over here at Scheer Report, especially with these commentators. Even middle of the road ex diplomats, they have the ticket:

        In Ukraine, the Biden administration is fighting Russia “to the last Ukrainian,” retired senior US diplomat Chas Freeman says.

        Chas Freeman, a retired senior US diplomat, analyzes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US role, and the geopolitical fallout. “Everything we are doing, rather than accelerate an end to the fighting and some compromise, seems to be aimed at prolonging the fighting,” Freeman says.

        Guest: Chas Freeman. Veteran U.S. diplomat and public servant who has served in many senior positions, including as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and as the principal US interpreter during President Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972.

        https://youtu.be/0vxufUeqnuc

        Or, Ritter —

        https://youtu.be/OSkpIq3T-Zc

        The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate talk live with ex-UN weapons inspector and military expert Scott Ritter about the Russia-Ukraine war. Ritter provides a detailed analysis of the battlefield that stands in stark contrast to the rose-colored perspective of most Western analysts, and offers his perspective on the political follies that drove the conflict.

        +–+

        Or, Pepe Escobar —

        Make Nazism Great Again/

        The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.

        +–+

        Or, Michael Hudson,

        Sanctions: the Blowback

        Renegade Inc. Whatever the outcome in Ukraine, one thing is for sure the economic reverberations will be felt by everyone for years to come as the world divides between the West and a rapidly reshaping Eurasia.

        https://cdnv.rt.com/files/2022.03/623484b885f54027f77b3a48.mp3

        +–+

        Or, anyone but some of these colonized minds in the chat box!

    2. In the early ’70s, I was trained by people who’d been labor union organizers in the’30s. I never forgot what they told me: “liberals are the ones who leave the room when the fight starts.” My working class sensibilities have always been suspicious of a mindset that equates progressivism with an intellectual authoritarian liberalism. Of the kind demonstrated so well by DGA.

      An issue covered today by Matt Taibbi regarding response to a mild NYT editorial. The outrage of “mental superiors” (aka the Ivy elite) demonstrates how they consider any disagreement to be evidence of ignorance. Or in DGA’s words, “contrarian”–meaning for no good reasons, only to be non-conformist…as evidenced by? Or ‘bizarre panic” for which the objective evidence is? I guess the one-two knock-out punch is supposed to be “the liberals’ and liberal media’s uncompromising position.” In other words, any disagreement, let alone actual dissent, is dangerous.

      In case that isn’t clear, he asserts that left-ishes (nothing “ish” about my labor leftism) are pro-Putin. Despite all the careful wording that condemns Putin’s actions. Even better? How about “so-called ‘NATO expansionism'” and “supposed western ‘hostility’ toward Russia”? Or “conspiratorial ‘US coup'”? The ‘marks’ indicating ridicule, therefore of items undeserving of actual research, no matter how easy. Best, the “ghosts of a fabled ‘neo-Nazis’ rise in Ukraine.” Just look at the flags carried in recent demonstrations or look up the history of western Ukrainians, especially the SS Galician units. Stories about their commemoration carried by the MSM in 2015.

      But none of that’s important. Dissent is sedition; leftists have always been a threat to the American Way. This time, it isn’t coming from the right wing; rather it’s centrist D propaganda. The great irony that these neo-libs and neo-cons have flowed together into a fetid swamp trying to suck us all in. A swamp full of critters fond of sharp armaments, arrogant in the certainty that their winner-take-all uber competitive game is the only reality. Because The Best and the Brightest have always been right.

      1. @Rafi
        Neo Progressive left-ish pundits published no articles dedicated to condemning Putin’s imperialist war on Ukraine, and dedicated practically all their journalistic space to the condemnation of NATO, the US, and the liberal press’ response to the war.

        In other words, instead of talking about the war, its perpetrator, its devastation and dangers, they try to change the topic to the liberal media’s response to it and to its historical roots that carefully excludes any reference to the one who started the war, while completely shifting the blame onto NATO, the US and Ukraine itself. Yes, they pay lip service to some generalized anti-war speech. Yet invariably revert to parroting Putin’s own propaganda talking points: ‘the media is an hypocritical liar’; ‘NATO expansion threatens Russia security’; ‘the US and NATO are war criminals’; ‘Ukraine is taken over by Neo Nazis who massacre Russians in Ukraine’s Eastern provinces’, and so on.

        To a different matter, the ‘ish’ added to ‘left’ is well deserved, since most of the Neo Progressive left-ish narrative is dedicated to anti-liberal drivel. They not only share with the right the goal of eradicating liberalism but have also adopted its penchant for the mainstreaming of the anecdotal and the fabricated (e.g., the idea that several hundred Neo Nazis in a population of more than 43 million represents a ‘Nazification’ of Ukraine, or that the US is responsible for the 2014 anti-government protests), as well as to its obsession with the production of enemies lists as central to its narrative.

        The left is an electoral non-entity. In a world where democracy is exclusively a liberal phenomenon the backing of a conservative authoritarian fascist like Putin is suicidal, and foolish at best rather than seditious.

      2. @D.G.A.
        (The irony of a pseudonym that seems to ignore how the lib/centrists who ditched the New Deal and abandoned labor are more than a little responsible for that “gone astray.” And if the DNC were into democracy, there wouldn’t be superdelegates. But I digress.)

        Your point that there are no articles from “left-ish pundits” “dedicated to condemning ” Putin’s war is a white hot red herring. Did you survey every last one of them? If not, your argument is just empty assertion.

        How about considering the writers who appear on this site? Who of course would be blacklisted by means of the silly qualifier “dedicated to.” Such that any of them could call Putin out in the strongest terms possible, but if any mention were made that the US and/or NATO are not entirely blameless, then their article would no longer be “dedicated to.” Sheer McCarthyesque tactics, that. I have a list in my hand of all the names of people who have said something positive about Communists–strike that—Russians–while being insufficiently pro-American.

        You’re also deflecting from the the main leftIST argument by in effect accusing them of deflection. Yes, the issue of the liberal press is raised. But you fail to understand the reason for the strenuous objections–that one sided reporting is not journalism, but propaganda.

        Continuing to repeat your unsubstantiated talking points and to duck any actual rebuttal, you stoop to the crassest of ad hominems. “…resort to parroting Putin’s talking points.” Since you don’t seem to know the rules of civilized debate, here’s what that means. Just because someone you dislike, such as indicated by that sophomoric “left-ish,” or even find vile, like Putin, does not mean that what they say is automatically wrong. Using that approach is evidence you can’t com up with anything sound to prove them wrong.

        Also another wonderfully McCarthyesque trope. Anyone associated with known Communists–strike that–with anything that Russian said–is condemned through guilt by association. That’s not exactly a traditional value of American jurisprudence, but who cares, right?

        Nice try at calling the leftist info “anedotal” while not bothering to give citations for your claims.

        Then another guilt by association–with the right wing for sharing our dislike of centrism. Recognizing that there are very different reasons would spoil that stew. Want to actually understand something about why we of the long suffering working class dislike liberals? Note my opening comments. Also consider that the centrist Ds did for the Rust Belt exactly what they did to the Wall St. vultures that caused the ’08 crash–NOTHING!

        In case we haven’t got the message, “the left is an electoral non-entity.” Ha ha ha! Labor and BIPOC have no choice but to vote for us, no matter that we haven’t done anything for you lessers for decades. That the VP is half Black and half South Asian is no proof; diversity among the Ivy elite that runs the D party does nothing for the rest of us.

        That attempt at a sleight of hand “liberal” doesn’t work either. The philosophy of liberalism, which values education, science, free enterprise, (not the same as capitalism, BTW) civil rights, democracy, etc. has been dominant in the west since the 1700s. This strong set of principles is not at all synonymous with a mealy US liberal politics. With its benign neglect domestically, an ever increasing war budget, constant interference abroad (eventually lost after spending trillions) and the erosion of civil liberties in the name of endlessly fighting an undefined terror.

        And BTW, lots of us from traditional cultures know full well that democracy is NOT “exclusively a (white) liberal phenomenon.” For example, the Iroquois Confederacy; an influence on the founding structures of the US Congress, as was recognized by Congress in 1988.

    3. and the “left-ish” pundits are correct while you are, apparently, of the “do as I say, not as I’ve done” centrist hypocrite

      1. Oh. Scott Ritter is far from leftish. We communists, we too can listen to a fellow like Scott, who is deep in much of this, though his defaulting to military de-service as something always so honorable is trash. Believe you me, I have been in the military, been around it all my life, taught college course to military, and the reality is much of the military, from top to down, is made up of violent leaning, stupid-following, trash. But his look at UkoNazi’s and Russian, here, decent:

        https://youtu.be/OSkpIq3T-Zc

        The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate talk live with ex-UN weapons inspector and military expert Scott Ritter about the Russia-Ukraine war. Ritter provides a detailed analysis of the battlefield that stands in stark contrast to the rose-colored perspective of most Western analysts, and offers his perspective on the political follies that drove the conflict.

      2. @horatio;
        …and whose arguments consist of assertions, red herrings, ad hominems, guilt by association, and a totally laughable attempt to conflate the rational philosophy of liberalism with the arrogant yet tepid American centrist/liberal political machine.

  4. “Our real enemy is war.” War is a tool of greed. Our enemy is the greed of the few, their never ending wants over the needs of the masses. We have allowed them free reign for far too long. The most subversive idea today is to limit or ban foreign direct investment (FDI), which at best is simply colonialism with a different name and deadlier weapons. The greed-lust of the current decision makers is as ruinous as a family parented by heroin addicts. Those who live in denial, who crave the highs of their true lovelust, work so very diligently and aggressively to make sure to put the tyranny of FDI (and other topics) ‘outside the realm of acceptable discourse’, as one good man has told us for decades. War, what is it good for? Well, profits of course. Cycles of destruction followed by reconstruction by the victors. To hell with respect and dignity. Rip up mother nature in the process. Kill and defile that which fulfills needs. There’s money to be made in wants, progress to impose, oh yes, and freedom and democracy galore yada, yada. War. Coming soon to a theater near you. Come now, which matters more? Biden’s new puppy? Or his New World Order. Read history before it disappears.

    1. @Rita
      I too am unequivocally opposed to war. But war has existed since civilization and is a result of it. Civilization means living densely in urban areas. When people live like that, they can’t exist on the local resources, so they have to make war against others to get their resources. The root cause of all this is human overpopulation, but of course hardly anyone ever wants to talk about that.

      I do agree with you that a lot of wars in more modern times are about ego, greed, and power. In the case of the U.S., they’re about maintaining and expanding the empire, along with resources, mainly oil. But even without these reasons, war would exist anyway unless humans greatly lower their populations and live in small enough numbers so that we can all live off of our local resources. This is a very long-term goal that would take at least hundreds of years to achieve, but it obviously could be done if people wanted to do it.

    2. @Rita
      I suppose you are aware of the fact that this war has been started by Putin’s Russia.
      So in your opinion Putin is characterized by “The greed-lust of the current decision makers is as ruinous as a family parented by heroin addicts”.

      1. Oh, no, war? But get on with your mothball thinking and slink back. Those hombres should hae been 86-ed 8 years ago. Too bad a policing action necessitates all those tanks and artillery. Ya’ll are losing the game. Get your jumpsuit on and head on over the Zelenskyyyyyyyy’s.

        Mickey Z, baby:

        Marcos, Hussein, Suharto — the list goes on and on. The U.S. props up a foreign leader until he is no longer useful. It’s the standard operating procedure for the Home of the Brave™ since, well… forever. To follow is yet another example.

        On December 20, 1989 — just two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall — President George H.W. Bush ushered in the post-Cold War era with a foray that would’ve been deemed a “sneak attack” and a “war crime” if an official enemy nation had initiated it.

        Manuel Noriega was the military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. An ally of the U.S. since the 1950s, he was literally on the CIA payroll — possibly as far back as the 1960s. Like so many others, Noriega eventually outlived his usefulness. He was indicted in a U.S. federal court on drug-trafficking charges and later accused of rigging elections. By late 1989, all the Land of the Free™ needed was one of those classic “pretexts” to launch an invasion.

        Bush got his wish on December 16, 1989. Panamanian troops shot and killed a U.S. soldier in Panama City (most likely, in response to U.S. provocation). A second soldier was wounded and a third was beaten and arrested. All of that was pushing peace-loving America to the boiling point, but then Noriega’s henchmen really crossed the line. They threatened a U.S. soldier’s wife with sexual assault.

        “That was enough,” declared an outraged Poppy Bush.

        The next thing you know, an invasion of more than 27,000 U.S. troops was in the works. “That invasion, less than eight months before Iraq invaded Kuwait, was condemned by the UN General Assembly,” explains former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. “No action was taken, although the United States violated all the international laws later violated by Iraq when it invaded Kuwait, plus a number of Western Hemisphere conventions and the Panama Canal Treaties.”

        Utilizing a classic spin technique, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering defended the invasion by claiming that Article 51 of the UN Charter “provides for the use of armed force to defend a country, to defend our interests and our people.”

        Pickering argued that Bush was compelled to invade because Panama was “being used as a base for smuggling drugs into the United States.” (Imagine the derisive laughter if Putin had said this about Ukraine.) Since such durable disinformation tactics never seem to fail, the long reliable CIA asset General Manuel Noriega fell from grace in record time.

        He went into hiding at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City — where members of the U.S. military proceeded to blast “heavy metal” music to “torment” America’s former comrade. Yes, in case you’re wondering, their onslaught included this:

        Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990, and was promptly flown to a jail in Florida. Meanwhile, a new Panamanian president was sworn in on an American military base. In the ensuing two years:

        The Organization of American States and the European Parliament both formally protested the invasion, condemning it as a flagrant violation of international law. Nothing came of the protest.
        Noriega was found guilty on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering. He was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. This marked the first time in history that a U.S. jury convicted a foreign leader of criminal charges. Indeed, Noriega had been vanquished by a former CIA director and thus Noriega’s one-time boss, President George H.W. Bush.
        We interrupt this article for a brief Henry Kissinger break: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

        Poppy Bush’s feminist-inspired invasion was, of course, not bloodless. Twenty-three American service members were killed and more than 300 wounded. Estimates range as high as 7,000 Panamanian civilians killed during the invasion (two mass graves were discovered after the American troops had left). Since more than 15,000 locals also lost their jobs, livelihoods, and businesses, longer-term collateral damage surely increased a death count that will never be fully known.

        Bush the Elder was later asked if getting Noriega was worth all those corpses. His reply: “Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it.”

        By the time Manuel Noriega’s precious human life came to an end on May 29, 2017, he had long since taken up residency in the proverbial dustbin of history. He hadn’t been useful or “trending” for decades and was thus relegated to virtual invisibility. Even those who vaguely remembered him may have already presumed Noriega to be dead. He’d become a pre-Internet relic without a hashtag.

        Question: As I share story after story of U.S. global criminality, does it ever enter your mind that they’re not telling you everything about Ukraine?

        +–+

        https://dissidentvoice.org/2022/03/the-u-s-will-drop-zelensky-as-easily-as-it-dropped-noriega/

  5. Norman’s last sentence, Our real enemy is war is not actually correct. War is but a symptom of the real enemy, namely us as Walt Kelly so clearly stated back in 1970 with his Pogo comic strip when Pogo stated: We have met the enemy and he is us. While that comic strip was in response to us polluting the environment, it applies to war as well. To put it in another context Martin Luther King also so clearly stated: We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. He said that back in 1964. And here we are in 2022 still hell bent on destroying each other through the insanity of war and environmental destruction. Humans are inherently violent by nature and very few manage to understand this, let alone try to act and behave in ways that overcome this nature. As witnessed today, folks in their respective nations respond on cue to hate their brothers to the point of deadly violence. Enjoy the remaining few years as humans continue their march of madness into an unimaginable dystopia that will likely lead to most life on earth going extinct. Humans may be clever, but intelligent they are not.

    1. Well said. I’ve often pondered if the aggregate humsn IQ might be a single digit.

    2. @
      Schrodinger’sCat
      I agree, but see my response to Rita above. The common reasons for war that you and Rita gave are not the only reasons for it, and are not the root cause of it.

  6. Mr. Solomon,

    I am glad to see that you, unlike most pundits in the “west”, are willing to point out the utter hypocrisy of the U.S. false proclamations of the good intentions of its murderous wars of aggression. However, you are wrong to say that the action taken by Russia is equally bad. There is a vital distinction which is universally ignored by the mainstream media and is also ignored by most “progressive” writers. That distinction is that Russia was forced to take action against decades-long intense U.S. aggression which endangered Russia’s very existence as a nation. That, in fact, was the intention of the U.S. – to destroy Russia in its current form and to turn it into a client state, just as it turned Ukraine into a client state by instigating its violent coup in 2014.

    After the U.S. carried out its coup and installed its chosen puppet government, the U.S./Ukrainian government, operating largely through the ultra-violent Nazis, armed and trained by the U.S., proceeded to carry out an “ethnic cleansing” operation in the Donbass, the purpose of which was to either murder the Ukrainian citizens who had refused to accept the illegitimate government installed by the U.S. or persuade them to change their minds. An estimated 13,000 to 14,000 Ukrainian citizens, most of them civilians, were murdered in this operation.

    Russia’s response to these crimes was to try to resolve the issues diplomatically. It was instrumental in negotiating the Minsk Agreements in 2014 and 2015 which provided peaceful means of resolving the problems created in the wake of the U.S. violent coup. The U.S./Ukraine government, Russia, France and Germany were parties to those agreements. They failed because the U.S./Ukraine government refused to implement them, choosing instead to continue the violence against the Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass for the next eight years. In a last ditch effort to resolve the issues peacefully, in December, 2021, Russia submitted two agreements, one to NATO and the other to the U.S./Ukrainian government. The U.S. dismissed the reasonable requirements of Russia out of hand and refused to negotiate in good faith. The fact is that the U.S. wanted, and was determined to start, a proxy war with Russia. The slaughter of Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass continued and a huge buildup of Ukrainian troops near the Donbass contact point prepared for what was planned as a massive invasion against the dissenters in the Donbass. Russia was aware of this and preempted the attack by beginning its de-Nazification and demilitarization of Ukraine. Obviously, the U.S. faced no threat whatsoever from the numerous countries which it has invaded and destroyed over the last several decades (and we could also include other debacles such as Vietnam, but why bother – the point is obvious). In the case of Ukraine, the U.S. has used Ukraine as its pawn in a conflict designed to create a military stronghold on Russia’s doorstep and to weaken Russia as much as possible by keeping the conflict going as long as possible. It is doing that by pouring arms into Ukraine even though it knows very well that Ukraine cannot possibly win the fight. Predictably, the result has been the endangerment of the lives of millions of Ukrainians. Contrary to media reports in this Country, Russia has done everything possible to minimize civilian casualties. On the other hand, the U.S./Ukrainian Nazi forces have been using, and continue to use, Ukrainian civilians as human shields.

    The U.S. got its proxy war. Russia was forced to defend herself from the incessant U.S. aggression. The U.S. finally decided to fight an adversary which can effectively fight back. The tragedy is that the worst price being paid for this latest U.S. aggression is being paid in the blood of Russians and Ukrainians. The U.S. is glad for the deaths of the Russians and, contrary to its stated great concern, is indifferent to the deaths and suffering of the Ukrainians who are being used as its cannon fodder. Business as usual for U.S. foreign policy.

    1. US/NATO troops were amassed in Eastern Europe, now along a segment of Russia’s border. Russian troops are not in Canada, along the US border. Which is the aggressor?

      1. @DHFabian
        The answer is clear : Russia who invaded Ukraine. What’s so difficult to understand??

    2. @Jim Thomas
      “That distinction is that Russia was forced to take action against decades-long intense U.S. aggression which endangered Russia’s very existence as a nation. ”
      This statement is so laughable that I am pretty sure that even you do not believe it, unless of course you believe Putin in his contention that the West culture of tolerance is undermining the soul of the Russian people and the right way to oppose that is by invading Ukraine.
      Your blatantly one-sided so called historical analysis ignores uncomfortable facts such as the 1994 Budapest memorandum signed by Russia, US, UK, Ukraine in which Ukraine independence and borders (including Crimea and the Donbass) were guaranteed, the repeated violations of the Minsk agreements by the Donbass separatists, supported, armed and directed by Russia, including shelling of Ukraine cities and the downing of a civilian aircraft, the election of pro- European governments in free elections in 2014 and 2019.
      Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, even if it is not the most modern, one of the largest armies, and no real danger to its existence has existed in the last 70 years at least. The fact that its economy and level of living does not match its military might is totally due to its mismanagement by a kleptocratic ex-KGB elite.

  7. No, war is not our real enemy. For there are many kinds of warfare. Economic warfare which we live within all the time is one.

    Our real enemies are colonialism and White supremacy, not war. We. For example, do not hear this constant refrain from White liberals and pacifists, like Solomon, about the very basis of the system which he is part of. Or the wars which pass for corporate competition. Or the class wars which his country subjects peoples of colour, and poor people more generally, to.

    In the case of Ukraine, this writer unashamedly supports Russia’s actions. Bleeding heart liberals like Solomon have shed none of their tears over 8 years when the people of the Donbask were being put to the slaughter. All their philosophies of peace have not dented the war economy in the USA. Indeed, it has gotten worse and worse.

    The deeper truism is that the position he represents has failed miserably, historically, to assuage the innate militarism of the United States.

    Further, it is this writer’s considered opinion that it will take an equal amount of violence, or greater, against the Western world, the Atlanticists, as they projected to achieve global hegemony to reverse a situation where 10 percent of the people of the world insists on ruling the 90 percent.

    If that project requires the risk of a greater nuclear war, which will end all living creatures on earth, represents the only chance for liberation from the jackboot of the West, so let it be. The earth has renewed itself before and will again, without the humanoid.

    Essentially what Solomon is defending is the status quo as he diverts the guillable to inert conceptions of reality.

    Also, Solomon and ilk, only act as sheepdogs to take our eyes away from the imminent rise of a Eurasian block which will relegate Whiteness to its barbaric foundations in the caves of the Europe.

    1. We should never permit ourselves to buy into to the same canard about Hell by way of nucleur war which White christians sold to the world that Solomon and his motley band of missionaries are now trying to sell us again.

    2. @Pachamama
      Are you aware that Russians are White and Colonialists, ruling (sometimes by force as in Chechnya) over indigenous peoples conquered by the Tzars in the 19th century?

  8. I have seen this war coming for years, and I in no way am an expert of Foreign Affairs. I have long been telling anyone that we “Canada, US, Britain, NATO” have been trying to start wars with at least 4 countries for the last 10 years.

    Why we should want to fight any war let alone 4 wars at once is beyond my comprehension….

  9. Oh, this guy is so vapid. Then, of course, the weaponizing of bird flu, you know, and looking at specific DNA markers. Old Solomon, the Radical (sic) Rabbi of the Raconteur, is lost at sea, man. Imagine, all those bio-labs in Ukraine, which we (in the know) knew about years ago, and now, liberated from the UkiNazi’s and DoD Paperclip grandchildren by Russia.

    Imagine if Mexico had a bunch of Russian Military Funded labs in Juarez and Chihuahua City. RIght, you get the Solomon Picture.

    Around 1 hour and 30 minutes in, Scott Ritter,

    https://youtu.be/6OAGgLCp7t4

    Speaking of avian flu —

    https://www.blackagendareport.com/biden-has-money-war-not-poor

    The following lyric in Tupac Shakur’s legendary 1993 track, Keep Ya Head Up, aptly describes the Joe Biden administration:

    “You know it’s funny when it rains it pours. They got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor.”

    Joe Biden has provided $14 billion in aid to Ukraine in a span of weeks, much of which will be used for military purposes. The U.S.’s lust for war with Russia has grown by many proportions since the rising power to the East launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Joe Biden gave his first State of the Union address just a week later. In it, he assured ordinary working Americans that life has improved under administration and that the best has yet to come.

    Of course, Biden was lying. U.S. sanctions on Russia have already sent shockwaves throughout the global capitalist economy. Working class people are being told to return to their offices amid a global pandemic while facing gas prices that are upwards of 50 percent higher than prior to the intensified U.S. sanctions regime against Russia. The failure to maintain tax credits for working class families has increased the rate of child poverty by 41 percent . Deaths from COVID-19 are approaching the one million mark and Biden has shown that both he and his corporate masters are ready to move on from a pandemic that has yet to end.

    The U.S. role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict has sent chickens flocking home to roost in their imperialist nesting place. Sanctions, once a weapon of war thought to only harm poor and oppressed people in Global South countries such as Venezuela, are now having a direct impact on the living conditions of workers in the United States. Ceaseless war propaganda has bamboozled a majority of Americans into supporting a no-fly zone in Ukraine despite the risk of World War III that it portends. Yet this same majority also opposes a direct U.S. military intervention in Ukraine against Russia. While masses of people in the U.S. can certainly be convinced to support imperialist policies they don’t understand , they also don’t trust their government enough to cosign onto another endless war if it risks their lives or livelihoods.

  10. Good one here:

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-privatization-of-nuclear-war-what-is-more-dangerous-a-mini-nuke-or-covid-19/5774938

    “Meeting with Congress, Zelensky Asks for More Weapons and a No-Fly Zone” according to the New York Times.

    A No Fly Zone is tantamount to a World War III scenario.

    Who writes and/or determines the content of Zelensky’s speeches?

    Zelensky addressed President Joe Biden in a carefully scripted text:

    “You are the leader of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”

    Zelensky is a political proxy, an obedient lackey. Visibly his speeches had been carefully crafted on behalf of his U.S. sponsors, i.e. Powerful factions within the “Deep State” in support of America’s defense giants.

    The Military Industrial Complex has made billions since the Russian invasion. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop, BAE et al. have seen their shares go fly high, amidst a slump in market values following the Russia invasion on February 24th (for more details see Asia Times).

  11. nazis like Solomon are the enemy—despicable false equivalence–

  12. Norman, I can’t understand how you can equate the savagery of US “shock & awe” with the way Russia is proceeding in the development of its attempts to rectify what for them is an unacceptable situation. They are not destroying water, electricity, internet like the US does. They are quite aware, in my view, that Ukrainians are their siblings and they have no desire to destroy their cities; their declared intent to destroy nazi elements in the Ukraine armed forces is being carried out, as far as I can see. And their is no proof that they are planning on annexing or occupying the Ukraine territory, with the exception — probably after elections — of Eastern provinces of Donbast & Lubansk.
    Even Ambassador Freeman agrees that normal civilian deaths in a war are 1:1 but that Russia so far has a factor of 1:0.1. They are incrementally disarming the enemy’s positions. Who can say that will not prove ultimately more successful?
    You seem to be playing a middle ground that is too far in the middle. Facts suggest otherwise. Both of us have been anti-war for decades but we still need to be guided by facts, history and causes of the current conflict. Obviously, the last 8 years are important elements to consider when analyzing whether this is a just war or not.

    1. @Jim Conroy
      Thanks for raising that issue, I forgot to mention it in my post about the ridiculous false equivalence that Solomon uses here. If Russia had prosecuted this war the way that the U.S. does, it would be over by now and there would be much more death and destruction in Ukraine.

  13. During his 40 years in the political science department at the University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer has not avoided controversy. His article and subsequent book about the Israel lobby, for example, written with Harvard University’s Stephen Walt, caused a stir in 2006 and 2007. More recently, at the beginning of March 2022, the New Yorker ran a headline that read: “Why John Mearsheimer Blames the U.S. for the Crisis in Ukraine.” We asked Prof. Mearsheimer to explain that and talked to him about being a realist, his military service, and his time in academia.

    C-Span . . . .

    https://youtu.be/oBeN1wdRy4s

  14. OK, so this will be too much for people who can’t handle nuance. For everyone else:

    1. I oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine solely because I’m anti-war. Russia should have figured out a better way to press their grievances than invading another country.

    2. The first paragraph of this column is a great exercise in false equivalence. Russia had totally legitimate grievances about eastward NATO expansion, the 2014 U.S. sponsored coup in Ukraine, and the killing of 14,000 ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine by the Nazi faction of the Ukrainian military. Additionally, Russia shares a border with Ukraine. The U.S., in stark contrast, had absolutely no legitimate grievances against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Syria, but it invaded all of those countries directly or by proxy. Additionally, all of those countries are halfway around the world from the U.S. So there’s no comparison here, and Russia and the U.S. should not be lumped together as Norman Solomon does here. Russia is not a “good” country, but neither is any other large country, no exceptions, and Russia is clearly nowhere near as bad as the U.S.

    3. I haven’t seen one apologist for Russia outside of Russia. Saying that the Russian grievances were legitimate while opposing the invasion is not being a Russian apologist, it’s being objective and fair-minded. It’s nothing but U.S. propaganda to call those of us who point out that Russia had legitimate grievances and that those grievances are the root cause of this war, Russian apologists. This is just more false equivalence, in that it minimizes Russia’s grievances about U.S./NATO transgressions and ignores the root causes of this war. As Lee Camp pointed out, if a child pulls a cat’s tail and the cat scratches the child, you tell the child not to pull the cat’s tail; you don’t kill or punish the cat. For that reason and because they’re the height of hypocrisy, I strongly oppose U.S. and European sanctions against Russia.

    1. Good points. Should we be herded into a cowardly nation run by the CIA under the Biden administration (with no decent President in most of our lifetimes), continuing RUSSIAGATE on steroids, with no dissent allowed (as with Covid, where the US has by far the highest number of deaths and in the top 10% by Covid death rate)?
      Nice illustration (Aaron Mate` is a calm voice of reason):

    2. @Jeff
      Russia grievances are totally fabricated (NATO expansion eastward has been at the bequest of ex Communist countries occupied and repeatedly invaded by Russia and USSR, elections in Ukraine in 2014 and 2019 have kept in power pro-European governments, victims in the Donbass have been on both sides and both sides have repeatedly ignored the Minsk agreements).Ukraine has more relevant grievances against Russia such as disregard of the guarantees provided by Russia in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum to the territorial integrity of Ukraine , including Crimea (occupied by Russia in 2014) and the Donbass. The root cause of the war is Putin’s megalomania and his wish to go into history as the one bringing back the Tzarist empire in its former glory.

  15. I don’t recall that when Bush’s wars on Afghanistan or Iraq broke, left-ish pundits found it necessary to make references to Chinese or Russian military aggression in their opening statements, nor to mention Russian or Chinese disregard to the rule of law, or their in-state nationalist propaganda on the topic.

    I also don’t recall that those pundits gave precedent to the excuses for the wars as expressed by the war mongers themselves, and wasted practically all their space (and our time) on the complicity of everyone other than the war criminals themselves.

    The double standards is glaring! The hypocrisy is obvious!

    Other than the biggest, most blunt case of what-about-ism in history, and almost entirely demagogic and false, the Neo Progressive left-ish response to Putin’s imperialist war on Ukraine is not seditious as some suggest, though it is definitely extremely foolish. But more important, it is self-defeating, even suicidal.

    Maybe it is time for some self-reflection?!?!?!

    PS (@Rafi)
    The entire Neo Progressive media space is filled with the parroting of Putin’s talking points, and very little else. The ones I refer to are Tom-dispatch, ScheerPost, The Intercept (which after the departure of Chief propagandist Greenwald has become a melange of left-ish and left leaning liberals).

    I’ll play along: name one article dedicated to criticism of Russia and Putin!

    And speaking of deflection…

    Ohhhh, never mind.

  16. “The appeal of the Russian empire to parts of the far left remains both a cause of outrage and a pitiable demonstration of moral and intellectual decay. “

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