Thursday, March 10, 2022

More thoughts on the War in Urkaine

Just a few more random thoughts, not that they're based on anything by hunches and observations on my part.

1. It is a war.  I find people's lack of willingness to call it a war interesting.  Some do.  But in the press, I notice many still say the Crisis  in Ukraine, or Ukrainian Crisis, or similar. A couple I've heard say the Invasion of Ukraine, or Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  But seldom actual War.  I wonder why that is. 

2. Remember Ukraine is fast replacing Remember Pearl Harbor.  With no clear indication of what is being demanded, many are insisting we say Putin/Russia is Hitler/Nazis and that's it. Otherwise, you're a Putin worshipping traitor stooge Russian propagandist.  Which automatically makes me stop and think why this urgency to frame it in such simplistic of terms.  Especially when I reflect on the modern love for simplistic terms and phrases (BLM, #MeToo, non-binary, Get the Shot/Stop the Spread). I've already said Putin and the Russian military are the bad guys here.  It's not rocket science.  But that doesn't mean we must therefore say 'anything has to happen or you worship Putin.'  Pull that trick, and I instinctively begin asking questions, as I was taught to by my post-WWII liberal educators and pop culture. 

3. What do we know about history?  In keeping with 'Putin/Russia bad/end of statement' option, I've seen plenty of pushback against those trying to sort this out, figure how we got there, and how we can proceed without spiraling into an escalated war.  Those who have tried to compare it to the outbreak of WWII are learning that apparently nothing led to WWII except Hitler and the Nazis (we'll ignore Japan for the moment).  Hitler and the Nazis did it, no sense squabbling over details, they were the bad guys, so is Putin/Russia.  Hearing such a take, to my ears, is like hearing people say we were wrong, the moon is made of cheese.  All my life a massive part of WWII studies was hearing all of the myriad factors and blunders outside of Germany that set the stage for what happened.  Now?  See your support of Putin as the answer. 

4. We don't want to admit the obvious.  That is, Zelenski's Ukraine is just the type of thing destroying Europe and Western Christianity and Democratic civilization.  As I said earlier, we can celebrate him for being a hero and brave in the face of all this, without making him into a god to be worshipped.  Given his own way, he represents that post-Western mindset that says sex, abortions and all thing leftists must reign supreme, but maybe it's time to get over this old 'glories of the past' rubbish.  Not that Putin is any better mind you.  It might help to imagine this the way the Left has taught us to see the American Civil War.  Not good guys versus bad guys, but two bad actors with bad designs in a conflict where the only distinguisher right now is that one is the real bad guy for invading a sovereign neighbor. 

5. I necessarily have no clue what is going on.  I trust the news media like I trust Honest Larry the used car salesman.  All I have to do is see how the press reports on Democratic Party voting reforms, or how it is reporting on the educational legislation in Florida, or how it is treating the conflict between school boards and parents.  If the press is only half as biased in its reporting from Ukraine, that means I still know virtually nothing about the facts.  It would be foolish of me to think otherwise. 

6. As I said in 2, many are insisting there is no approach to this but "Damn Putin to hell!" or you're a Russian thrall.  With that said, I'm hearing almost no clear explanation of what this means.  Does this mean we should go to war?  Does it mean we should put ourselves in a situation where war could happen? Does it mean we should keep doing what we're doing and hope it works before too many are killed?  Should we ride a missile down into Russia like Slim Pickens?  I'm always itchy when people say I have to conform or else, and yet seem reticent about just what it is I'm support to conform to. 

7. Isn't it nice to hate the enemy again?  Remember the first and second Gulf Wars?  Remember our post-9/11 responses?  Wow.  No way could we just 'hate on Muslims', or 'hate on Iraq', or 'hate  on Afghanistan'.  Not even close.  Heck, we weren't even allowed to hate on Osama bin Laden.  Remember when he was killed and some poured into the streets to celebrate?  Remember not a few pols, religious leaders and pundits rushed out and condemn it?  Remember how it's wrong to hate, to celebrate his death, to do anything but pray for him?  Remember how we learned we should never have hated Germans or Japanese in WWII, or Vietcong in Vietnam?  Now I'm seeing those wanting to pray for Putin being accused of worshipping the same.  Russia is evil.  Russians?  Well, sorry about their luck!  Russian soldiers and Putin?  The more death and misery they get the happier we are!  Why do I get the feeling that's because, when all is said and done', they're white in 2022?  They're European.  They're "Western".  Allowing ourselves to think badly of non-white/non-Western folks is a good way to lose the Left's main template: That the Caucasians of Western Civilization are the sole cause of evil in this world.  Focusing on the 9/11 terrorists for too long, or questioning modern Islam, challenges that.  Come to think of it, asking where Covid may have originated is the same as saying you want Asians killed in death camps.  But white Russians and white Putin being the bad guys?  Bring out the propaganda posters and let's show just how wicked and evil they are and why all peace loving people of good will should proclaim it. 

8.  Those who rushed out to score points by saying how awesomely brilliant Putin is have eggs on their faces.  

9. Most of this, I'm afraid, is a war within a war.  It's an actual war everyone thought was a thing of the past.  I mean, did anyone believe last year that we would ever again see a European nation line up military divisions and invade a neighboring European nation?  Did anyone think it would ever happen, much less happen this year?  I don't think so.  And yet it did.  But at least here in America - perhaps Europe too, I don't know - it seems all of this is filtered through the really big war, and that's the war to end or maintain America and the West.  Yet, at least among those fighting to maintain America, there appears to be divisions.  With some on the 'it's Putin or you're a Russian' side, and others going full conspiracy theory about how this is a giant Soros conspiracy and Ukraine is making it all up.  In any event, I get the feeling that for not a few on this side of the Atlantic, each bomb dropped is merely a weapon to use against the real enemies of the world - each other. 

10. I can't help but wonder how all of this would look, how it would be covered, what we would be allowed to ask, and who would be saying what, if Donald Trump was president (R), instead of President Biden (D).  I have a hunch much of what I've watched and heard would change.  The strange thing here?  I bet those conservatives who are more or less aligned with those on the Left who are saying 'it's evil Putin/Russians or shut up' would still be doing so.  I have a feeling almost everyone else would be sounding like their ideological opponents in this.  And when you have that assumption around something as critical as the outbreak of war, the only ones to ultimately win will be those happy to see Russia, Ukraine, Europe and America all burn to the ground.  Many of whom have remained on the fence in all of this I've noticed. 

11. There is a legitimate pro-war movement.  It does include some conservatives, but is quickly becoming dominated by those on the Left.  Part of this no doubt has to do with linking Putin as Hitler to Trump as Putin's Mussolini.  Part of it is trying to deflect from the disastrous last year, the crushing inflation and the problems under Biden's administration.  But some of it is clear and naked jockeying for war.  Real, honest to goodness war.  Get our boots out, get our planes up, and get to war!  Given that one of the uber-narratives of my life has been 'liberals about pace/conservatives all about war', this is a strange development.  Not that there hasn't been this tendency of supporting war because a (D) is in the White House.  But this time it's potential total war, and even - some suggest - potential nuclear war.  Yet so much of the "To War!" rhetoric is coming from left of center, at least as far as I can tell. 

12. Why is it that wealthy celebrities telling Americans to suck on inflation and gas prices for the cause rings hollow?  I know in WWII, Hollywood celebrities joined the bond drives and called on Americans to sacrifice, while they remained wealthy Hollywood celebrities.  For some reason I can't pinpoint, it didn't seem as callous and elitist then as it does today.  I think partly because you get the feeling much of this is trying to deflect from Biden's performance, or downplay problems, and has only a little to do with anything war effort.  As opposed to WWII, where you feel those wealthy celebrities really were in it for the cause. Perhaps that's unfair of me, but it's the hunch I have. 


  1. Voicing a lot of my thoughts too. Only thing I would add is that apparently there has been some effort by Putin to kind of restore Christianity as the official Russian state religion. So I think there may be an undercurrent of church-hatred in addition to what you brought up in #7 there.

    Well... ok I have 1 more.
    Given that one of the uber-narratives of my life has been 'liberals about pace/conservatives all about war', this is a strange development.

    Yeah but... was it ever true? Looking back through history, what Republicans have gotten us into wars? You got Bush 2 for Iraq and... Lincoln for the civil? (Maybe there's some smaller conflicts I'm forgetting.) Certainly all the big wars everyone's remembers (WW1&2, vietnam, etc)... were done under democratic presidents.

    So like... where exactly did that narrative arise from???

  2. As for your second part, I noticed that in college. Students and profs kept bringing up our invasion of Grenada as proof of Republican warhawk zealotry. Even then I wondered 'but Wilson, FDR, Kennedy, Johnson, Truman? How do you establish an almost sacred narrative (Right/GOP warmongers, Left/Dems peaceniks), when it's nowhere close to accurate. I began to think then it isn't hard to sell a lie when you have everything on your side.

    As for the other, Putin wouldn't be the first to cozy to the religious establishment. After their decades as marganaalized against Soviet atheism, the Russian Church has been more than happy to warm up to Putin, who has put the Church back into its traditional place as Russian default religion. Whether it's good or not, I can't say. But like all things, it's more complex than we're allowed to say. Not that Putin isn't the baddie here. He's still committed the national version of a crime: invaded a neighbor. But the attempts to paint him as Hitler/Nazi and nothing else, falls far short and sounds like the same 'shut up and conform' we hear about almost anything today.

    1. Bingo! "More complex than we're allowed to say." That's the phrase I've been looking for. And that's what's bugged me - nobody wants discussions any more, they just want amen corners.

      Why I keep coming back even when we disagree - you are willing to discuss most of all. ;)


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