Tag Archives: Ukraine war

Shut up … ex-Rep. Gabbard!

You might recall a young woman, a member of Congress, who ran for president of the United States in 2020. Tulsi Gabbard was among a herd of Democrats seeking to run for POTUS. She lost the nomination … and then vanished.

Well, she’s back in the spotlight, only now she is spouting what critics call “Russian propaganda,” contending that the United States is running bio-chemical labs in Ukraine.

According to Newsweek.com: In a video, Gabbard claimed that the “undeniable facts” are that 35 to 40 “U.S. funded bio labs” in Ukraine that are conducting research into dangerous pathogens. Gabbard went on to express concerns that these “deadly pathogens” could be released if the labs in Ukraine are targeted amid the conflict with Russia.

Republicans and Democrats are accusing her of treason, for God’s sake! The critics run from GOP U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney and GOP U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger to a host of Democrats on Capitol Hill who say Gabbard is giving aid and comfort to Russian forces who have invaded Ukraine and killed thousands of civilians on their bloody effort to conquer a sovereign nation.

Hey, didn’t Hillary Clinton — the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee — accuse Gabbard of being a “Russian asset” and wasn’t she vilified by those within the party of speaking out turn? Hah! It turns out HRC was right all along!

Newsweek.com reports:

The U.S and the Ukraine have been working together since 2005 to research deadly pathogens as part of the Pentagon’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP).

The partnership between the U.S. Defense Department and the Ukraine Ministry of Health is part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR), which began in 1991 with the aim of reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction following the fall of the Soviet Union.

OK, so there is some bilateral cooperation going forward in Ukraine, but it ain’t of the nefarious nature that Gabbard implies. She is spouting dangerous rhetoric in perilous times.


War fatigue sets in

Allow me this brief admission, of which I am not proud, to be sure: I am suffering from early onset of “war fatigue.” Yes, the Ukraine-Russia war has worn me out.

Understand this, though. Our hearts are breaking over the suffering that Russia’s bombing and artillery attacks are inflicting on people who are simply trying to defend their homeland against an invading military force. It’s not that I am going to dismiss their suffering and wring my hands over having to watch it on TV.

It’s merely that the brave journalists who are reporting from the front have saturated me with news that is beginning to sound repetitive. Russians are escalating their attacks; they are hitting civilian targets; they are inflicting casualties among civilians, including defenseless children; those who die are being buried in mass graves; Vladimir Putin keeps shunning pleas to stop the invasion. Over and over again.

We had our granddaughter with us for a couple of nights. My wife made the decision to shield her from the news.

Does this mean that High Plains Blogger is taking a break from commenting on information that leaks into your blogger’s noggin? Hah! Hardly.

I am likely to end my news boycott soon, given that I happen to be addicted to the news. I’ll certainly divert my attention fully to this unfolding story when something significant happens. The war might expand into NATO nations; Putin might deploy chemical weapons; President Biden might decide to ratchet up sanctions even more.

Or, and this would be the best news, there could be a cease-fire that paves a clear path to a peace treaty.

Until any of that happens, I’m tuning out the war … for now.


Russians project false power

If I had a ruble for every instance I have heard that Russia is a “great power” … I would have a lot of rubles, but they wouldn’t be worth more than the cost of a cheap shot of vodka.

Russia is not a great power, even though it is trying to flex its military muscle in Ukraine. Yes, Russia possesses a lot of nuclear weapons left over from the days it existed as the Soviet Union and the Soviets tried to bully the United States during the Cold War.

Russia’s conventional force is being revealed to be something of a feckless machine, with command and control not knowing how to find its backside with both hands. How else can one explain how that vaunted and powerful convoy of military equipment got bogged down on its way the Ukraine capital city of Kyiv.

Granted, the convoy got unstuck and is now moving on the capital city. Once it arrives, we are likely to see how adept the Russians are at fighting street to street, house to house, room to room against Ukrainians who are highly motivated to fight like hell to keep the invaders from taking over their homeland.

I realize fully that the war likely won’t end with a Ukrainian victory, with Ukraine being able to declare it has defeated Russia. However, the performance on the field of battle by the Russians has disproven to my satisfaction that the former Evil Empire isn’t quite as formidable as its propaganda machine would have us believe.


War won’t end well for Putin

Make no mistake about it: whichever way the war in Ukraine ends — whether it’s a total Russian victory or somehow Ukraine manages to broker some sort of standoff — the conclusion won’t end well for Vladimir Putin.

I say that because of the reports we are hearing from the battlefield of atrocities being committed by Russian troops against Ukrainians.

Putin stepped in it big time with his unprovoked attack on Ukraine and his phony assertions about the peril felt by Russian citizens living within Ukraine’s borders, or his bizarre claim that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is some sort of neo-Nazi. It has only gotten worse for Putin.

His troops have shelled soft targets, killing civilians, including women and children. He should stand trial for war crimes when the fighting stops. If the Kremlin killer unleashes chemical weapons, well, that would produce another atrocity for which he must be held accountable.

Putin is losing the propaganda war outside of Russia. Indeed, he might even have a tenuous hold in the country he governs with his iron fists and boots … given the street protests that have erupted in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The end might produce a military victory — of sorts! — for Putin and his thugs, but it is looking all the more to me as though he will finish this aggression as a net loser among the worldwide community of nations.


What else can we do?

President Biden is putting Vladimir Putin on notice: If the Russians deploy chemical weapons on Ukrainians fighting Russians in defense of their country, they will face “severe consequences.”

Now, I don’t expect the president to divulge what those consequences will entail before implementing them in the event the Russians resort to that hideous tactic. However, I am curious as to what precisely the United States can do to Russia that is more severe than what it has done already … short of launching a military counterattack.

Biden is adamant that U.S. forces will not engage Russians on the battlefield. So that’s not an option. At least that is my hope.

What’s next? What can we do? I am not in a position to speculate. Closing down our embassy in Moscow won’t amount to more than spitting into the wind. Kicking every Russian citizen out of this country won’t matter, either.

It appears to me that we already have levied severe consequences on Russia for its unprovoked aggression against a neighboring sovereign nation. Russian currency is worthless; Russians can’t export their oil to many nations that consume it; Russian assets are frozen around the world; Biden has delivered stern notice that an attack on any NATO nation will ignite a third world war.

I am not going to say that a chemical attack is coming simply because there is nothing else we can do to punish Putin and his thuggish partners in the Kremlin. I just hope that whatever President Biden has up his sleeve is going to matter and that Putin might be able to regret the next move he might want to take.


Sanctions should tighten

I won’t pretend that Ukraine has any realistic chance of actually defeating Russia on the battlefield. I can read reports as well as anyone and I am aware of how the Russian forces are advancing on the Ukrainian capital city.

It won’t be an easy conquest. It will be bloody, and it will cost a lot of Russian lives along with Ukrainian lives.

Whether the Russians form a pro-Moscow puppet government in Kyiv remains to be determined. Whatever the outcome, I am sure that President Biden will only tighten the screws even more on the Russian economy, which isn’t any great shakes, even with all that oil that Russia produces.

Are we going to continue to pay more for fuel? You bet we are. I am convincing myself today and likely longer into the future that this is going to become another “new normal.” We had better prepare for paying more to fuel our motor vehicles, heat our homes and light our backyard grills.

Vladimir Putin, the monster who runs Russia, likely will win the battle on the field. He won’t win any hearts of anyone who believes as I do that he is an abhorrent aggressor. Yes, he has his friends in dark states such as North Korea, Syria and Belarus.

I do not expect Putin and President Biden ever will meet to talk about mutual trade agreements or even to discuss arms control. The die is cast and Putin has acted as a man with no conscience. He is a heartless killer who has earned our eternal scorn.


War brings so much pain

I detest writing about war, even though in my many years as a print journalist I haven’t had much exposure to the varied human conflicts that have at times swirled around us.

That all said, the Ukraine-Russia war has consumed a good bit of everyone’s attention for the past two-plus weeks. The Russians invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked act of aggression; they intend to take the country back from the independence it has enjoyed since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It is a disgraceful display of bullying by the Russian dictator/despot Vladimir Putin.

The Russians now have selected “soft” targets, such as hospitals and schools. They have targeted civilians such as women and children. They have earned every ounce of scorn that the world is heaping on them and is heaping specifically on Putin.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that Ukraine is not rolling over. The Ukrainians are putting up a hell of a fight against superior enemy forces. All the while, Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are standing tall while Putin withers and shrinks in public stature.

History well might write a compelling chapter about Zelenskyy when this fight finally ends. Think of it: a young man who built a career as a comedian and actor is thrust into the Ukrainian presidency, only to become a central figure in the first impeachment of a U.S. president, who tried to persuade Zelenskyy to dig up dirt on a presidential opponent here at home; the president escaped conviction in the U.S. Senate, but Zelenskyy’s role in that impeachment was set in stone.

Now his legacy is being burnished by the courage he is displaying by staying in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv, seeking to rally his constituents to fight with him.

I am going to pray constantly for a relatively quick end to this conflict, as it taxes my emotions even sitting in the peanut gallery far from the fighting. I don’t give a damn what might happen to Putin in its aftermath, but I give plenty of a damn about the future of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He deserves the highest praise possible from an anxious world awaiting the outcome of this aggression.


Get set to pay … a lot!

I am swallowing hard as I ponder what I want to say about this, but … here goes. I am ready to pay a lot more for motor fuel if a U.S. ban on Russian oil can bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

President Biden is set to announce a total cutoff of crude oil from Russia. The announcement will come later today, just as the president comes to Fort Worth to talk about veterans’ issues.

Gosh, do you think he’ll field any questions about the Russian oil ban? More to the point, do you think he’ll answer them?

The POTUS has been getting plenty of pressure to “do more” to make the Russians come to what’s left of their senses. The dictator Vladimir Putin has launched a full-scale, unprovoked, bloody and senseless attack on a sovereign nation at Russia’s doorstep. Oil revenue is funding this invasion. The United States happens to be a prime consumer of Russian oil.

President Biden is about to tell the world that the nation he governs is no longer going to purchase that fossil fuel. The consequence undoubtedly will be a continued spike in the price of petroleum products.

I am prepared to pay it if it helps bring an end to the bloodshed.


Putin = sociopath

As the world recoils in horror at the sights and sounds coming from Ukraine for the past few days, I am left only to conclude that we are witnessing the results of a dictator’s sociopathic proclivity.

Vladimir Putin launched a war against Ukraine, running up those proverbial “false flags” that suggest ethnic Russians were somehow in danger and that Ukraine was being run by Nazis.

Putin has ignored what has been considered the modern “normal conduct” of warfare. Instead of targeting strictly military installations, the Russian goon has ordered the bombing of civilian targets. Office buildings, apartments, residential neighborhoods. They all contain helpless, defenseless civilians … including children.

The sociopath is committing crimes against humanity.

For what purpose? To bring Ukraine back into the Russian fold. Putin seems to have decided that Ukraine is his for the taking. So, he’s going to take it.

This is a dangerous individual. This is the guy the immediate past president of the United States courted. He told us it would be better if we were “friends” with Putin than to face him on the other side of a shooting war. Sure thing. However, Putin acted not out of defiance of this country, but out of greed and a lust to return Russia to its recent authoritarian heritage rooted in the Marxist ideology that gave us the Soviet Union.

He seemingly cares nothing about the world’s reaction to his cruelty. My dog-eared dictionary describes a “sociopath” as someone who exhibits “aggressive anti-social behavior.”

Does that fit Vladimir Putin? Looks that way to me.

He’s a danger to the entire world.