The “Anti-War Left” Makes me Crazy

THURSDAY 17 MARCH 2022

What kind of a people are we to sit and watch the destruction of Ukraine?

People in the United States fell all over themselves to get the military into Iraq and Afghanistan, conveniently ignoring Saudi Arabia.  But now?  Where are those people who wanted so desperately to support a war?  There is a clearly illegal attack against a sovereign country conducted by the leader of a mafia state.  Putin is purposefully targeting schools, hospitals and even people waiting in bread lines.  We stumbled all over ourselves to go to was with a country who had not attacked us and was only a danger to us in the minds of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.  We invaded and kidnapped the leader of a sovereign country, Panama, because a man who had clearly been our son-of-a-bitch was becoming other people’s son-of-a-bitch. 

But, now, when there is a clear attack by an authoritarian megalomaniac which will change the post-WWII world order, we fumble and stumble and make excuses.  The Biden administration seems terrified of taking any direct defensive step to save Ukraine.  Blinken and Price and others are whining about provocation, debating what will and what will not be considered provocation.  Since presumably they have access to back channels in Russia, we must have literally asked if a no-fly zone or fighter jets would be considered a provocation.  This means we are asking an aggressor state’s permission to intervene on the behalf of the country being obliterated. 

Is that the country you thought you lived in?  Did you think you were living in what we are repeatedly told you is the “greatest country in the world” only to find out that that country has to ask permission to intervene on behalf of attacked people.  The very fact that they have asked Putin is bad enough, but what did they think he was going to say?  Did they think Putin was going to say, hey yeah, go ahead and send those fighter jets, establish a no-fly zone.  I wouldn’t dream of considering that a provocation or an escalation. 

It seems to me (and most Ukrainians) that we have already seen the “escalation” the “provocation” the “war.”  Why is attacking civilians, invading another country, kidnapping their local leaders, holding civilians hostage, taking possession of nuclear power plants considered a given, but everything we do short of humanitarian assistance “provocation?”

I suppose before the invasion started, Biden did an Obama, i.e., unilaterally took off the table US or NATO troops on the ground because he didn’t want to be provocative, escalate the war.  So, given that promise, or considering that promise, Putin just opened the invasion door and walked in.

Biden refused to implement meaningful sanctions before the invasion (even though for a few weeks, we were told ad nauseum that “crippling” sanctions would follow an invasion) to try to prevent an invasion.  After the invasion, the “crippling” sanctions that were touted so often before the invasion, seemed not so “crippling.”  We were immediately told that the sanctions would take weeks, months to take effect.  Some of us wanted to scream: That’s why we wanted you to implement then before the invasion.  But, those of us calling for sanctions before the invasion and tougher sanctions after the invasion were written off as hysterical, “emotional,” not grown up enough to be part of the professional class who made decisions for us.  Still, the US has rolled out sanctions but still they are not sanctioning as many people as the EU.  After threatening to remove Russia from SWIFT, when push came to shove and people demanded this after the invasion, the US only removed some banks from SWIFT and gave others a free pass.  In addition, they started lecturing us on how the SWIFT exclusion just wasn’t as effective as the peons thought.  It was certainly touted as effective up until the time when it would have to be used.

Every day I sit and ask myself:

How can decent people sit and watch the devastation on the television and oppose intervention.   How can they talk about “restraint” and “discipline?”  How can they warn against an “emotional reaction?”  In the elite-speak, the reasoning goes: we must not allow ourselves to be affected by the heartbreaking suffering of fellow human beings.  This is being naïve, “emotonal.’  The real cool professionals like Ned Price and Jen Psaki don’t fall for such amateurish human reactions.  No, they sit back and coolly, abstractly consider the wider implications of gas prices and disrupting the Russian money housed in hedge funds.  This is another of those: “You gonna believe me or your lying eyes” narratives.

But, we can see the people suffering, being destroyed.  How in God’s name can this Clinton/Biden/Obama professional class scold and disapprove of us for feeling emotion?  How can they try to turn perfectly human distress and emotion and desire to help into something we should fight against?

Given the usual superficial “People Magazine” coverage of the two corporate news channels CNN and MSNBC, I usually turn to podcasts for an intelligent discussion of world affairs.

Podcasts like Ukraine World were essential even before the invasion.  Hour long discussions with English speaking Ukrainians were fascinating and instructive.

Not so with American podcasts by (what Malcolm Nance calls) the anti-war left.  I very quickly became unable to listen to them.  This morning, I tried to listen to the Majority Report with Sam Seder.  The Majority Report is usually one of the most literate and interesting podcasts out there.  Their read on domestic events is usually close to mine and I learn an extraordinary amount from their discussions.   This started to change when Biden withdrew from Afghanistan.

I simply could not believe my ears when I heard people with extraordinary intellects whose judgement I generally trusted, not only support the withdrawal, but blind themselves to the disaster that it engendered. 

I could not believe that they were watching the same set of events unfolding as I was.  As disaster followed disaster, Seder and Viegland steadfastly maintained that withdrawal was the right course of action and that the withdrawal was not a crushing betrayal of the Afghan people. 

Just to get matters straight, I have never supported an American military intervention in my life – not Afghanistan, not Iraq, I wrote a book about the invasion of Panama (which the military still calls Operation Just Cause), not Grenada, not Vietnam.  But, when you have occupied a country for twenty years you cannot just pack your bags and walk out.  After twenty years you have a responsibility to understand that a large part to the economy depends on US money.  Seder and Viegland cheered the withdrawal, absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do, and just ignored the implications for the future of the country (the US and Afghanistan). 

I just could not believe that they were not talking about the long-term implications of the betrayal of trust.  Who would trust us after this, after we walked out on the Afghanistanis?  Why should anybody trust us after this?  But, Biden was portrayed as a hero for walking out.

We walked out and left the country we spent twenty years freeing from the Taliban and handed it over to the Taliban.  There was no evidence that the Taliban had suddenly transformed themselves into a group focused on democracy or women’s rights.  But, we didn’t care.  We were going to get out of Afghanistan.

We even secured Taliban protection (protection from people we had fought for twenty years and spend a ga-billion of dollars fighting) of our soldiers to ensure that there would be no embarrassing U.S. casualties on our way out.  And, even this didn’t work.  But, on Majority Report, the blown up servicemen was just what you got when you withdrew from a country.  They told us that these casualties would have happened whenever we withdraw from Afghanistan. 

What they were dead set against realizing that these kinds of casualties were not inevitable no matter WHEN and HOW WE WITHDREW. 

Women and little girls who had, at least in the urban areas, been given access to a semi-western life, were abandoned, thrown back into a world where their genitals would be mutilated to satisfy the sadism of religious fanatics.  Translators and contractors to whom we had promised loyalty were abandoned to be considered by the Taliban as enemies. 

THURSDAY 17 MARCH 2022

What kind of a people are we to sit and watch this destruction go on.  I just don’t know anymore who we are. 

We fell all over ourselves to get to Iraq and Afghanistan, conveniently ignoring Saudi Arabia.  But now?  When there is a clear attack by an authoritarian megalomaniac? We are whining about provocation, virtually asking Putin’s permission to protect a people who are being destroyed.  We brag about the amount of financial assistance we are giving, but we adamantly refuse to even leave troops and no-fly zones on the table.

We refused to implement meaningful sanctions (even though the Biden administration promised at every turn, crippling sanctions) before the invasion to try to prevent it from happening.  Even after the invasion, we have trickled the sanctions out and still are not sanctioning as many people as the EU.

How can decent people sit and watch the devastation on the television and talk about “restraint” and “discipline?”  How can they warn against an “emotional reaction?”  In the elite-speak we must not allow ourselves to be affected by the heartbreaking suffering of fellow human beings.  This is naïve.  The real cool professionals like Ned Price and Jen Psaki don’t fall for such amateurish feelings.  No, they sit back and coolly, abstractly consider wider implications.  For God’s sake, we can see the people suffering, being destroyed.  How in God’s name can you scold and disapprove of us for feeling emotion? 

Given the usual superficial “People Magazine” coverage of the two corporate news channels CNN and MSNBC, I usually turn to podcasts for an intelligent discussion of world affairs.

But, recently I have been unable to listen to them.  This morning, I tried to listen to the Majority Report with Sam Seder.  The Majority Report is one of the most literate and interesting podcasts out there.  Their read is usually something like mine.  This started to change with the Biden withdrawal from Afghanistan.

I could not believe that people who’s intellects I respected were watching the same set of events unfolding.  As disaster followed disaster, Seder and Viegland steadfastly maintained that this was the right course of action and that the withdrawal was not a crushing betrayal of the Afghan people.  I have never supported an American military intervention in my life – not Afghanistan, not Iraq, I wrote a book about the invasion of Panama (which the military still calls Operation Just Cause), not Grenada, not Vietnam.  But, when you have occupied a country for twenty years you cannot just pack your bags and walk out.  After twenty years you have a responsibility.  Seder and Viegland cheered the withdrawal and just ignored the implications for the future of the country.  There was the abandonment of the people of Afghanistan and the inevitable sucking out of the economy of all the money, but then there was also what this withdrawal did to our position in the world.  Who would trust us after this?  Why should anybody trust us after this?

Americans walked out and left the country we spent twenty years freeing from the Taliban to the Taliban.  We secured Taliban protection of our soldiers to ensure that there would be no embarrassing U.S. casualties on our way out.  And, even this didn’t work.  Women and little girls who had, at least in the urban areas, been given access to a semi-western life, education, free will, were abandoned.  Translators and contractors who we had promised loyalty if they worked for us were abandoned.  We couldn’t even get the bureaucracy to work efficiently enough to process visa applications before the withdrawal much less afterward. 

After twenty years, a large part of the economy depended on U.S. money, U.S. contractors, NGOs.  Not only did we just walk out knowing that this walking out would destroy the economy, we then took part of the money due to the Afghanistan government and made it available to 9/11 victims’ families.  Anybody with sense, anybody even mildly aware of what was going on could see that this was going to be an unmitigated disaster.  And it was.

When the economy fell apart, and there were some guarded reports of famine and how many women and children were going to starve in Afghanistan, Seder and Viegland had the unmitigated gall to lament the situation.  So, I guess it was good that we cut and run, but who could have anticipated the devastation that followed?  Well, almost anybody who was paying half attention. 

What in god’s name did Seder and Viegland think was going to happen if we withdrew without any plans for how the economy was going to survive?  Cheerlead the withdrawal and lament the resultant devastation.  Did they think that after withdrawing we were going to hand over billions of dollars to the Taliban to administer? 

Then, there was Ukraine.  I was just astounded as I listened to the whining on the part of the anti-war left about Russia and Putin.  I couldn’t even bear to listen to much of it.  The one time I turned on the Majority Report, Viegland was lamenting the demise of Putin.  They sense weakness, she said of the United States, and they want to kick him (Putin) while he’s down.  Just think about that.  The Majority Report is not only taking the side of Putin, but lamenting the gross unfairness with which he is being treated.   Vladamir Putin is the head of a mafia state, a criminal enterprise that stole the wealth ordinary Russians had spent decades building up.  Putin was the death of any hope of a socialist state in Russia.  He turned the country into an oligarchic mafia state. 

After he does this, we are supposed to feel sorry for him?  I just don’t get it.

There is nothing, nothing positive to say about Vladimir Putin.  He is part of an authoritarian oligarchy who divided up and stole the accumulated wealth of the people in the Soviet Union like they were three Romans sitting in a tent dividing up the known world.  The wild west, uncontrolled exploitative capitalism that is now Russia is Putin’s playing field.  He helped bring this rapacious capitalism into being and he has benefited royally from it.  He is willing to jail political enemies, assassinate them steps from the Kremlin, send hit men to poison political foes with lethal radioactive substances.  He is willing to send men to throw enemies out of windows and even blow up neighborhoods of his own people in order to establish his own kleptocracy.  Kick him while he’s down?  Who wouldn’t?

With regard to Ukraine, Viegland condescendingly noted that most people (that’s us) have “no understanding of what a no-fly zone is.”  This lecturing narrative is common among the liberal professional class.  Viegland then goes on to use one of the most unappealing lines of argument I have heard about the no-fly zones.  She says that people don’t understand what a no-fly zone is and that the only times we have tried to establish a no-fly zone it was against vastly inferior militaries.  There is no irony at all when people use this argument.

But the meaning of this statement is that we are only prepared to use no-fly zones against people who can’t really fight back.  And, that’s supposed to be an argument that makes us feel good about not implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.  Because we are bullies?  I just don’t get it.

In the most recent podcast I listened to, Seder and Viegland were mocking the White House press corp.  Now, I have very little respect for the White House press myself, but not because they ask difficult questions.  Seder and Viegland played a clip of WH press reporters asking about Zelensky’s pleading for a no-fly zone.  How did the administration respond to that?   They asked.  Was there something more we could do to help the Ukrainians? 

I fail to see why these questions are worthy of derision.  What is wrong with the press asking whether we should be doing more? But for Seder and Viegland to even ask the question is an example of “war mongering.” 

Over on The Young Turks, things are not better.  I just don’t get it. 

Published by cjjohns08

Criminologist, writer, actor, storyteller, painter and a lover of all things feline. On Twitter @cjjohns1951

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: