I posted a comment under a Daily Mail article on the recent assasination of Ayman al-Zawahiri in a civilian district of Kabul. I wondered when it became legitimate for us and our allies to explode missiles in distant countries with which we are not at war (and incidentally in breach of the 2020 withdrawal agreement). I further asked whether it would therefore also be legitimate for Xi Jinping to take out Joe Biden at the White House because of his regime’s position on Taiwan, or for that matter for Vladimir Putin to hit 10 Downing Street since Boris Johnson (and Liz Truss) are major players in the Ukraine proxy-war.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one reply said I was a disgrace to my town, asking rhetorically if I thought it was legitimate for Russia to try to assassinate the Skripals in Salisbury. Another responder said the al Quaeda leader was a “legitimate target,” which doesn’t seem to answer either of my questions.
We have somehow got used to US or British drone strikes on other countries (in this case our intelligence services were involved, enabled by our taxes), though all vengeance would be let loose if anyone tried it on us – as it was after somebody did do so on 9/11, resulting in a million deaths in uninvolved Iraq alone.
The first reply to my comment, though, shows how befuddled minds become under the barrage of propaganda. Leave aside the loose ends over the Skripal affair that raise the suspicion it may have been a false flag to build the “Russia/Putin evil” narrative so convenient now. Accepting the GCHQ version, my responder either thinks Russia’s highly targeted Novichok attack on a sovereign nation was illegitimate, in which case so are our less discriminating missile strikes. Or he thinks our action was OK, in which case he can have no rational objection to Russia targeting the Skripals, or Saudi Arabia murdering Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. In the latter case it seems the Saudis carefully diced the CIA-asset journalist’s body, just like the US missile is claimed to have done to Ayman al-Zawahiri. The only other positions, it seems to me, are either that we consider ourselves in the West divine Judges above the rule of international law, or simply that might is right.
That brings me more or less neatly to the Ukraine conflict, in which every independent analyst finds that the West’s might, right or not, is losing the fight, already at the cost of the cream of Ukraine’s fighting forces, and most recently of endless thousands of civilians conscripted up to the age (I am told) of 75 years.
Our own media continues, for whatever reasons, to tell us gleefully that the Donbas separatists and their Russian allies are losing (it seems that Donbas separatists, unlike Taiwanese separatists aided by the US, had no right to secede). In many cases this leads to absurd claims, like the article in the Telegraph showing a “Ukrainian” soldier setting off a butterfly bomb in Donetsk left by “retreating Russians.”
The problem is that the Russians are not retreating on any front, and certainly not in Russia-supporting Donetsk which is under their control, and where they are dealing with the illegal butterfly bombs delivered by missiles. There is as little rationale for Russia launching those missiles to hurt their own allies as there is for them to dispose of usefully-informative POWs by going into enemy territory to launch a Hymars missile. Besides, you can hear Donetsk locals say in interviews that the missiles came from Ukraine, just like they have done for the past eight years. But a Ukrainian soldier looks to Telegraph readers pretty much like a Russian soldier, so they fit the facts to the preferred narrative: the same clip has even been used to show the stupidity of the Russians!
Personally, I think such mis-attribution in the press is neither the fog of war, nor legitimate war propaganda. It is worse than the “Germans bayoneting babies” stories of World War 1 because the war crimes are real, and our governments know it, and yet deliberately put the blame on the other side. Worse still, we now know that the US insists on authorising every Hymars target, and that Kiev was fully informed of the location of its captured Azov forces from the outset. So not only did the Zelensky regime target the prison, but so did Washington. Given the NATO command and control acting in Ukraine, the very deployment of illegal ordinance like butterfly bombs on civilian targets by Ukraine is also a NATO war crime. That means it was done in our name, and involved our tax money, rendering us all accessories to the crime.
But the worst crime is the continuation of the war itself, given what all sides now accept, when they are not preaching up imminent victory to the public, to be nothing less than a meat-grinder for conscripted west Ukrainians. Zelensky simply does Washington’s bidding – and more alarmingly from my point of view Britain’s bidding, given that it was Boris Johnson’s personal intervention that derailed Zelensky’s early agreement to negotiate a peace settlement.
Even at this stage, when the strategically irrational defence of Donbas, reportedly against the advice of military commanders, is bankrupting the country and probably even degrading its demographic composition by the scale of the slaughter, Zelensky refuses any negotiation without what amounts to an unconditional Russian surrender. God alone knows who is applying what pressure to this puppet, but a lot of it is coming from our own governments, in our name.
The weapons we have supplied, to encourage the war to continue, are essentially useless given the loss of military infrastructure and skilled personnel. The much-vaunted training of conscripts by Britain is, apparently, a mere three weeks of basic instruction – just enough for them to find their way to the front line to be blown apart. Even I got much more than that in the Combined Cadet Force at school… maybe they’ll conscript me if this goes on.
The war could have been avoided before it began if the West hadn’t insisted that Ukraine was entitled to join NATO, despite having no intention of allowing it to do so, whilst turning the Ukraine into one big non-member military installation, like Kosovo. The military failure of Ukraine has been apparent for months, and is now undeniable, yet our governments, which could easily require negotiation as the price for continued support, still insist on (to use a now time-worn truth) “fighting to the last Ukrainian.”
There is no logical rationale for such a frankly murderous policy, whose moral bankruptcy is demonstrated by the massive castle of lies with which it is supported. Surely even the most corrupt government would not pursue such a futile and bloody course just to enable a better result in the mid-term elections (and why would Britain or Germany be so keen to support the Biden circus)?
A more realistic motive is the profit it brings to the “Military Industrial Complex.” The benefit to arms manufacturers of depleting NATO’s weaponry , and get member nations to buy more extends even to flooding the black market with their best products – taxpayers will simply increase the R&D budgets to counter the escalated threat from Taliban and Isis. If that seems cynical, consider this: corporations exist to maximise profit, and arms manufacturers profit exclusively by death, which has to blunt one’s moral sensitivity. There is no commercial incentive for them to foster peace, which is why such a powerful combination of morality-free international corporatism and ubiquitous government contracting is so destructive to the world.
Yet even that motive doesn’t seem to explain the Western prolongation of the agony in Donbas. Western nations are, it seems, becoming savvy to the reality that they are sending good money after bad and damaging themselves. And some Ukrainian recruits, it appears, are being sent to the front with one rifle between two, so the arms gravy-train looks as if it is already drying up, as the military denouement looks imminent.
Another possibility has been suggested that is even more reprehensible, by Mark Sleboda, an ex-US Navy man married to a Russian and resident in Moscow. He suggests that America and the Collective West actually want to maximise the number of Ukrainian casualties, to create a long-term problem for the Russians who are expected to take over the entire Ukraine. Not only does the maximum destruction of infrastructure create the maximum cost of rebuilding for Russia, but each and every death in battle creates a family with a hatred of Russia that would make western Ukraine ungovernable. It seems you can’t weaken Putin without breaking a few nations along the way.
To many that would seem just too cynical a policy to believe, from the “good guys” in NATO, and those democratic governments whom we elect and who collect our taxes. Maybe so – but remember that these are the same powers that are happy to send missiles into residential areas of foreign cities to slice and dice our enemies, or former allies, together with any innocent bystanders. And we are the taxpayers who, for the most part, cheer them on as champions of decency and call any dissenters disgraceful.
Do we expect a Western Day of Repentance and the sacking of governments any time soon? Or shall we just wait for judgement?