Ron DeSantis has provided a grotesque misrepresentation of the war that is raging between two nations in eastern Europe.
The Florida governor and pending Republican presidential candidate calls the war between Ukraine and Russia a “territorial dispute” that does not deserve the United States’s commitment to shoring up Ukraine against the Russians.
Wow! For the record, I intend to look back briefly at what happened in February 2022.
Russia invaded Ukraine, intending to overthrow the government in Kyiv and installing a pro-Kremlin puppet to replace Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It wasn’t a territorial dispute. It was a blatant, flagrant attempt to overthrow a sovereign government.
What has commenced is a war between democracy and autocracy.
Therefore, the United States has a compelling interest to stand beside Ukraine as it fights for its survival against forces launched by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
So, for DeSantis to suggest that the war is anything less than what it is — an intense ideological struggle between good and evil — is to appeal only to the MAGA base of what passes for his Republican Party.
DeSantis is demonstrating a disgusting fealty to Putin and his ham-handed view of governance.
Vladimir Putin needs to be tried for war crimes against civilians in Ukraine … of that I am utterly certain.
The Russian goon/thug/strongman/despot/tyrant has stooped to even lower lows than I thought possible.
His military is now targeting heating infrastructure in Ukraine as the temperatures start to plummet to below-zero temperatures. Who suffers from such hideous attacks? Women, children, elderly people.
Russian propagandists insist they are targeting military operations. Bullsh**! Their aim is to bring the civilian population to its knees. It’s the only target left, given that the Ukrainian military machine is making mincemeat on the battlefield of what once was considered an invincible Russian army.
Putin is now turning his weaponry on civilians. Thus, he needs to stand trial. In absentia if need be.
There is plenty of precedent for putting war criminals on trial in absentia. The International Court needs to step in –and step up — to do its job by holding this Russian despot accountable for his obvious crimes against humanity.
We have been fixated – and rightly so – on gun violence and ways to reduce it, if not end it altogether. I just want to remind everyone that we have a war underway on another continent that deserves our attention as well.
Those damn Russians continue to bombard Ukrainian targets and they continue to kill Ukrainian civilians in their attempt to further the aims of the dictator who sent them into battle illegally. That would be Vladimir Putin, the despot about whom Donald J. Trump used to speak so glowingly in his effort to make nice with a known killer.
Joe Biden has all but declared Putin to be a pariah among world leaders. Which is an apt description. He has called Putin a war criminal. By my reckoning, war criminals need to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and, if convicted, they deserve to be punished.
Does that mean Putin needs to go to prison for his crimes against Ukraine? For his targeting of hospitals, schools, churches and apartment complexes?
Well, uh, yeah! Do you think?
The Ukraine War slogs on. It continues to break my heart, which already is shattered by tragedy here at home.
The late U.S. Sen. George Aiken, a great Republican from Vermont, once lamented that the nation could conclude the Vietnam War simply by saying: “Let’s just declare victory and go home.”
The war was going badly, even though American forces were winning on the battlefield. Our victories were overshadowed by protests at home as Americans grieved over the casualties we suffered for a mission that no one at the Pentagon was able to articulate.
Russians are facing possibly the same the dilemma. Their forces invaded Ukraine months ago. The idea was to subdue Ukraine quickly, tossing out the government led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and installing a pro-Moscow puppet to dance to the tune called by Russian despot Vladimir Putin.
It didn’t happen.
The Ukrainians are fighting for their survival against Russians who are fighting to soothe the ego of a dictator.
Can the Russians now just “declare victory” the way Sen. Aiken saw many decades ago? It’s all right with me.
I want the bloodshed to end. I am sickened by the destruction brought to Ukraine. I am heartened, though, by the courage that Ukrainians are demonstrating — under Zelenskyy’s leadership — in fending off the invaders.
As for Putin’s possible victory declaration, I want to stipulate that none of that would preclude an international trial on charges of war crimes being leveled against this monstrous tyrant. By any measure one can make that charge against Putin, given that his forces have struck soft targets — schools, hospitals and apartment complexes — in direct violation of the Geneva Accords meant to govern the rules of war.
Let the bastard declare victory and then then commence a trial to convict him of crimes against humanity.
Now we are hearing reports that Russian madman Vladimir Putin is telling his people they should prepare for war against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which makes me believe more than ever that Vlad has a screw loose in that spook’s brain.
I cannot think of a worse outcome for Putin’s illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine than for him to send missiles into NATO countries bordering the Russian frontier.
We have this “thing” called Article V, which states that an attack against one NATO nation is an attack on all of them. All of them includes the United States of America.
To be clear, President Biden has said he will do everything within his immense power as U.S. commander in chief to keep our fighting men and women off the battlefield against Russia. I believe the president.
Putin, though, has far more to worry about than just the U.S. presence among NATO’s alliance of nations. The combined NATO military force constitutes an overpowering adversary. Does the Russian madman really intend to wage war against NATO? I want to believe the answer is no.
These chilling reports from Moscow, though, give me cause to think Putin really is mad.
Fox News’s Stuart Varney has a theory about why Russian soldiers are bogging down in their advance on Kyiv. It has to do with Ukrainian citizens taking up arms and killing the invaders with grenades, rockets and assorted high-tech weaponry.
Varney notes that the Russians are poorly trained and have “low morale” among the troops.
You know, it sort of reminds of me another military action many decades ago.
In 1941, not long after they conquered Greece during World War II, Nazi Germany decided to invade the Greek island of Crete in the world’s first airborne assault operation. Paratroopers bailed out of aircraft and landed by the thousands on Crete.
They were met by rampaging Greek citizens who stormed onto the landing fields with shovels, pitchforks, rifles and pistols and slaughtered many of the invaders; in some instances, they beat the paratroopers to death with their bare hands. The Greeks couldn’t stave off the invaders over time, but they fought literally like their lives depended on their success.
This is the kind of reaction Russian thug Vladimir Putin should have anticipated as he launched his unprovoked and shameful assault on Ukraine. For all I know, maybe he did anticipate stern resistance, but placed too much faith in his troops’ ability to subdue the Ukrainians.
Well, you know what they say when one assumes too much.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is putting his acting talent to good use as he stands before the world and plays the part of a real-life hero to the people he is defending against the Russian attackers.
I have no qualms about the role Zelenskyy has assumed for himself.
The Ukrainian president has assumed the role of wartime leader and head of state. Russian forces invaded his country for purposes that remain somewhat murky. I believe I can figure out what Vladimir Putin has in mind: He wants to take Ukraine over, returning to a sort of de facto Russian state.
Meanwhile, while the Russian despot’s standing plummets around the world, his adversary in Ukraine sees his standing skyrocket partly because he young Ukrainian president has enough show biz in him to play the role he appears destined to play: of an emerging leader and star on the world political stage.
Let me be crystal clear. I do not hold anything against Zelenskyy as he seeks to build worldwide public support for the cause he has taken up, which is to defend his nation against an aggressor state and a dictator with delusions of godhood.
There is little I can do from my far-away perch in North Texas.
I happen to believe in the power of prayer, so I will offer plenty of prayer to the young Ukrainian leader.
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.
Barry McCaffrey knows military matters better than just about anyone on Earth. I mean, the guy served combat tours in Vietnam, then rose through the ranks to get four stars pinned on his uniform. He served was a division commander and then led the Central Command in the Middle East.
So … when retired Army Gen. McCaffrey describes Russia as a “third-rate military power,” I tend to believe him. He does offer an important caveat, which is that Russia possesses a first-rate nuclear arsenal. As for its conventional fighting prowess, McCaffrey isn’t impressed with the way the Russians fight conventional battles.
All of this is my way of suggesting that McCaffrey could be onto something when he suggests that Ukraine might be able to earn enough of a battlefield stalemate against the Russian aggressors to force the Russian despot Vladimir Putin to seek some sort of “exit ramp” off the field of battle.
I have said all along — and I don’t proclaim to have any special knowledge of this — that Ukraine isn’t defenseless against the Russian onslaught. Ukraine does have a significant army and air force. It has been shooting down Russian aircraft and it certainly has inflicted a significant number of casualties among Russian personnel.
Putin well might have deluded himself into thinking the Russian armed forces would waltz into Kyiv, declare victory and then set up a puppet government all in short order. That ain’t happening.
Which takes me back to the start of this post. If the Russians are a third-rate conventional military power, what is their dictator thinking when he sends his personnel into battle against a force determined to protect its homeland against naked aggression?
I have to join the growing chorus of supporters around the world who are singing the praises of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zellenskyy.
A young man who entered politics after a career as a comic and an actor has emerged as a towering figure of strength in leading his country’s resistance against the Russian aggressors.
Heroes often are the product of the circumstances into which they are thrust. Zellenskyy didn’t ask to become a hero; it just fell on him when the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, decided he wanted to take Ukraine back, return it to the fold of the former Evil Empire. Putin acted for reasons that defy reason, logic and all that is rational.
Zellenskyy could have fled his country. He could have led a government in exile. He chose instead to stay and to lead from ground zero in the conflict.
He has risen to an enormous challenge. The Ukraine’s brave leader is made of the sternest stuff imaginable. I am going to pray hard for the president and his countrymen and women.