Letter to the Editor / Leave Ukraine Be
By Richard Boettger
Our jingoistic support of the war in Ukraine repeats our nation’s worst mistake.  We are again championing, in the name of Democracy, a leadership that bans not only opposition parties, but the media supporting them.   Worse, bans the common language of Russian in Donetsk and Luhansk and ignores the Azov Battalion and the assassination of questioning mayors.  Turkey’s Erdogan brokered with Zelensky a proposed cease-fire last march, which we vetoed.
Have we learned nothing from our useless wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, much less from our support of autocrats like Duvalier, Marcos, and Mobutu?  With a single dissent, Congressional Democrats voted to invade Iraq, and Obama surged into Afghanistan twice in 2009, pointlessly doubling the length of time we spent in another losing war.
I know there is no point criticizing a Military Industrial Complex exulting in another hundred billion going mostly to our own defense contractors.  But I am ashamed not only of my fellow citizens, but, worse, a liberal media that is jumping almost unanimously onto the contractors’ bandwagon, censuring all less-than-eager support of “as much as it takes” in Ukraine.  We need to re-appraise exactly what we are doing, again, in another war on the far side of the world.
The main reason for supporting this war is the evil of Russia, especially Putin, for invading and committing “war crimes.”  Denmark, for example, might so decry such evils , but note that we ourselves:
1] repeatedly invade countries not just on our borders but in the other hemisphere, and stay there for decades;
2] have killed a hundred times as many civilians, nuking Japan, fire-bombing Germany and Japan, napalming Vietnam and Cambodia, and most recently causing the deaths of half a million Iraqis and Afghanis.
3]  follow the common military practice of destroying infrastructure, as Ukraine continues to do to even their own roads and bridges when it hurts the Russians.
Bringing up our historical sins is assailed as “what about-ism,” I guess because we in our Manifest Destiny are immune from hypocrisy, from the exact criticisms we level against others.
Reacting to the debacle of our withdrawal from Afghanistan by waving our bent sword in another distant country hopes two wrongs will make a right.  Instead, we add another flag of shame to our history of regret, like our support of other autocrats like Marcos, Duvalier, and Mobutu.  The Ukrainian people are suffering greatly, exiled in the millions, and the longer we egg them on, the greater will be our eventual regrets.
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