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Bruce, What Do You Think Should be Done About the War in Ukraine?

war in ukraine

Over the weekend, Merle asked me several thoughtful questions about what I think should be done about the war in Ukraine. Here’s what he had to say:

Bruce, can you let us know what you think Ukraine should do?

I share your concern with America’s emphasis on war. But I see there is also a time and place for legitimate defense. Is Ukraine in a place where defense is justified?

I see no way to describe the Russian attack on Ukraine as anything other than state-sponsored terrorism. Surely nations have the right to respond to most acts of terrorism. Do we come to the point where the terrorist actor is so powerful (Russia) that one is better off just stepping back and letting them ransack the country?

So what should Ukraine do? Should they fight back? Should they seek help from America? To what extent should America help?

I am a pacifist. I oppose all war on principle. I believe war never brings peace. At best, it brings a temporary cessation of hostilities. I can’t think of one war that brought permanent peace to a nation-state. Far too often, wars get recycled. The “War to End All Wars” gave birth to The “War to Really End All Wars — We Really Mean It This Time” in 1939. George H.W. Bush’s Iraq War gave birth to his son, George W. Bush’s Iraq War a decade later. The French War in Vietnam gave way to what Americans call Vietnam. The Soviets admitted defeat in Afghanistan, only to have the United States move in, thinking We’re #1, We’re Number #1, leaving twenty years later in defeat.

The United States has been at war with North Korea for seventy years. Currently, the U.S. is threatening China over Taiwan and threatening Iran over nuclear development. America has troops on the ground in numerous African countries, along with having tens of thousands of troops stationed in Europe, Japan, South Korea, and other countries. And thanks to the recent release of top-secret military documents, the American people now know that the U.S. has troops in Ukraine! Oh, they are just advisors, the Biden administration says. Oh where, or when, have I heard that before? Advisors on the ground in Vietnam turned into 500,000 American troops in Vietnam a few years later.

The United States is the world’s policeman, thanks to many countries across the globe abdicating their responsibility to provide for their own protection. The United States has the largest defense and security budget in the world. We give nation-states billions of dollars a year to protect themselves and sell other countries billions of dollars more of weaponry. The United States is in the war business. In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a nationally televised speech warning about the danger of the military-industrial complex:

As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

….

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The American people have been taken hostage by the Pentagon, NSA, CIA and the military-industrial complex. Convinced by both Republican and Democratic politicians, most Americans believe that bad actors on the world stage are trying to take away from them the “American Way of Life”; the mythical “American Dream.” This, of course, is a bald-faced lie, yet we believe it to be true. And with over a trillion dollars in tax money, we pay for our protection from a mythical enemy. We send American men and women to bleed and die “over there,” so we don’t have to fight them “over here.” We as a people have bought into the lie called “American Exceptionalism”; that we are a city on a hill, ordained by the Christian God to advance the cause of Western democracy to the ends of the earth, and now, to outer space too.

We can no longer afford the heroin addiction of the defense department and the various U.S. security organizations. The first thing I would do is cut the defense and security budget by twenty-five percent. Second, I would drastically reduce the number U.S. military bases and outposts. Third, I would put an end to the military’s use of private contractors and private soldiers. Fourth, I would cut our nuclear weapons stockpile from 3,700 to 1,000 — still enough missiles to destroy the world.

My goal would be to neuter the United States’ ability to engage in nation-building, regime change, and fighting offensive wars on multiple fronts. Doing so would force America to seek other means of conflict resolution besides violence, bloodshed, and slaughter. I would, in certain circumstances, support the defensive use of the military.

I would fully fund the State Department while firing all of the CIA and NSA agents who are currently manning Department stations. The State Department should be tasked with one thing: promoting global peace. We must stop thinking that our way of life must be the way of life for everyone; that every nation must be a democracy and have a capitalist economic system.

Until we make systemic changes such as the ones I have mentioned in this post, we will continue to involve ourselves in the affairs of sovereign states. My God, there are Republican legislators calling for the U.S. military to invade Mexico in the latest chapter of the war on drugs.What’s next, invading Canada because they are “socialists?” This is what happens when we have a government that thinks every problem can be solved at end of a rifle.

war in ukraine 2

The United States is currently fighting a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. The United States is more than happy to sacrifice Ukraine, its soldiers, and civilians to destroy Russia’s military capabilities. We have no interest in peace between the warring factions. We have convinced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the war can be won, with all contested lands remaining Ukraine’s. And this is true as long as the United States and NATO continue to send Ukraine billions of dollars of weaponry. If Ukraine had to fight this war on its own, Russia would have won by now.

Let me be clear, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is immoral. I am not pro-Russia, I’m pro-peace. I also know the United States, NATO, and Ukraine are culpable in the war too. From NATO’s expansion to Ukraine’s refusal to address the concerns of ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Russia felt threatened. And when authoritarian leaders feel threatened, what do they do? They bite; they push back. Peace cannot be brokered in Ukraine without understanding its complex history. The United States paints the war as a fight between democracy and capitalism on the one hand, and authoritarianism and communism (communism) on the other. This picture distorts the complexities on the ground. It lacks historical context and nuance.

Peace can be had in Ukraine if the United States and NATO stop fueling Ukraine’s war machine. I am not suggesting that we stop helping Ukraine defend itself. Ukraine has a right to self-defense and to repel Russia’s aggression, but the countries paying for this war must draw a peace line in the sand, telling Ukraine they must broker peace with Russia, and if they don’t the flow of weaponry will be cut off. (The idea that dirt is more important than people is insane.) Further, NATO must swallow their pride and stop its expansion farther into Europe. Admit Sweden, but that’s it. What about Ukraine? Were they NATO-worthy before the war? If not, I would not admit them into NATO. Russia must also stop its expansionist tendencies. Further, the United States, along Russia, and other countries bordering the Arctic Sea must begin immediately to engage in negotiations and peace talks over the North Pole. If they don’t, the Arctic Sea could be the next place there’s a war between the United States and Russia. We must to everything in our power to keep Santa’s home safe (a little levity with a serious subject).

war in ukraine

While I am a pacifist, I am also a pragmatist. I know there will be times when defensive wars are inevitable. That said, I believe world peace must be our top priority. This priority must be shown in our government’s spending and military use. We must show by our actions that we are a peaceful people. As it stands now, the United States is viewed as a bully; a people who use violence and slaughter to advance their agenda and gain their objectives. Eighty years ago, the world largely thought well of the United States. Those days are gone. Even in Europe, people have soured on America. We must rehabilitate our image, and the only way we can do that is to change our behavior. Most of all, we must see things as they are. Ask the average American who was behind 9-11, and they will tell you Afghanistan and Iraq. This, of course, is untrue. It was Saudi Arabia who was behind 9-11, a fact that the US government refuses to acknowledge to this day. Why? One word: oil.

If we want peace, we must stop lying to ourselves about our own history. I don’t think, for a moment, that the United States is evil, but I refuse to turn a blind eye to the bloody, violent, murderous history of the country I proudly call home. Merle used the word terrorism to describe Russia’s murderous actions in Ukraine. I wonder if he would use the same word to describe the United States’ actions in Yemen, Syria, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and countless other countries.

War is terrorism, period. Flying drones over civilian populations and killing men, women, and children is terrorism. Bombing Dresden and Tokyo is terrorism. Dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations in Nagasaki and Hiroshima is terrorism. Using napalm in southeast China is terrorism. The United States has slaughtered millions of non-combatants in its many wars. Aren’t these injuries, deaths, and property destruction terrorism too? As long as we call what other nations do in war terrorism, but call our violent actions “just war,” we will not truly understand the depravity and terror of war, and why peace must be our highest priority as a people.

When we fail to make peace our highest priority, we make war possible. The United States has largely given up on the United Nations ideal. We use the U.N. to advance our agenda, and when “peace” might cost us something, we bow out. We refuse to sign treaties that would reduce war in the world. Why does the United States refuse to participate in the International Court of Justice? It seems like we want one set of rules for the United States, and another set of rules for the rest of the world.

Peace in Ukraine is possible, but until the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and NATO choose a different path, the only thing that will happen is more bloodshed. A cessation of hostilities will happen sooner or later, but peace? I am not sure the warring parties have an appetite for real, lasting peace.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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47 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Merle

    Bruce, thank you for a detailed answer to my question.

    Wars, especially wars of aggression are a horrible thing. But defense can be a necessary thing. Since defense is a worthy thing, our Department of War calls itself the Department of Defense, but that is somewhat of a misnomer.

    One can certainly argue that Ukraine should have negotiated with Russia before the war. But that is water over the dam. We need to deal now with the situation we are currently in.

    Should Ukraine negotiate with Russia? Certainly, but in their position, it is hard to see how that could happen. If, for instance, a terrorist group were bombarding the United States with 9/11 style massacres happening weekly, would we offer to give them, say, Florida, in exchange for peace? Not likely. So I can see how this would be a hard thing for Ukraine to do.

    A peace deal that would end the hostilities while giving Russia some of what it wanted would probably be the best thing to do. But does that encourage international terrorism?

    You ask if I think the United States has engaged in terroristic war acts. Yes, the United States has used its military to do terroristic acts that we would never tolerate had another country done them.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            Except for the fact that they actually are ethnic Russians; that they once were part of Russia; and many of them still want to be part of Russia.

            Sadly, most American have little understanding of Ukraine’s history before the past ten or so years. This leads to gross misunderstandings about them politically and culturally.

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        There’s a choice to be made: increased loss of life and generational destruction of buildings and infrastructure or a negotiated settlement that may result in the loss of land (that is inhabited by a majority of people who consider themselves Russian). I support an immediate ceasefire and an UN-controlled free and fair vote in Crimea and eastern Ukraine on which country they want to be a part of.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            I’m sure glad the US and Ukraine aren’t pushing propaganda.

            The Allies at the end of WW 1 should have made sure that Hitler and the Nazis could never come to power again. The US had a huge Nazi problem themselves, one that went largely unchecked — as it is today.

            Japan is a conundrum. They attacked us, so we had a right to defend ourselves. Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor? Was it to take over the US? No. Japan had been using military force to expand their empire for fifty years before 1941. Of course Britain, France, and the US had done the same in the past. The US, wanting to curb Japan’s expansionism, enacted brutal economic restrictions on Japan, as did other Western countries. These actions, of course, provoked Japan. (Eighty years later, the US has learned nothing. We still stupidly think economic sanctions work. All they do is harm civilians, turning them into haters of the US.)

          • Avatar
            clubschadenfreude

            that’s whataboutism, Bruce.

            Is provocation an excuse to attack? How would that attack have done anything about economic restrictions? I have seen some thoughts that if the US had helped Japan during their major earthquake in 1923, things would have been different. The Smithsonian Magazine has a good article on their website: “The Great Japan Earthquake of 1923”

            I do find it curious that you can’t or won’t answer questions that seem to be easy considering your pacificism. I, as one of the “rough men” from the Orwell (?) quote have trouble grasping the need to sit when others are in trouble. Unfortunately, violence seems to be the answer.

            I also wonder what you think that the Allies at the end of WWI should have done. The Treaty of Versailles had the central powers paying reparations. Those were seen as humiliating by the countries who lost, but from what I’ve read, they were not unpayable. Would having not required that stopped the Nazis? Admittedly, these are all very complicated matters.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            First, it is not whataboutism when pointing out a fact that Americans conveniently and repeatedly forget.

            Second, pacifists don’t stand by and do nothing. Gandhi and King Jr were pacifists. Did they stand by and do nothing. A core principle is non-violent resistence.

          • Avatar
            clubschadenfreude

            Which ends quite quickly when there are guns on the other side.

            Again, you offered a counter to my mention of propaganda by saying what about america, etc doing proganda too. I know they do. Why is this a reason not to care and hold the russians accountable and know how any supposed free vote will likely be attacked.

            I am also waiting to see what you would have the UN do.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            You only mentioned Russian propaganda, as if they were doing something that others weren’t doing. I watch MSNBC every night, and every night I hear, at some point or another, government propaganda. All I am doing is trying to push back on the idea that “our [the United States] shit doesn’t stink.” It does, and the US has no high moral ground to stand on. Its imperialistic, colonialist, violent, murderous history leaves no ground for moral pontification. The very things the US government accuses Russia of doing, it has repeatedly done in the past. This doesn’t mean we ignore Russia’s behavior, but a bit of self-awareness from the US would be nice. Of course, that’s not going to happen. We’re #1.

            We don’t know what non-violent resistance will do because we haven’t tried. Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi both used to non-violent resistance to force social change, so it can and does work. We should always start with using non-violent means to gain our desired objective. The United States doesn’t do this. We start with crippling sanctions that harm civilians, turning them into haters of the US, then we bomb the hell out of their homes, businesses, and infrastructure, and if that fails, we invade — killing thousands of people in the process. The US has been doing this my entire life.

            I oppose unilateral offensive war. I can think of no justified reason for such wars. The UN is worthless because of how it is structured to give a handful of nation-states control of the process, especially, the US, Britain, China, Russia, and France. I would like to see the UN work as a unified group in dealing with Russia, isolating the Soviets from the rest of the world. One of the reasons this won’t happen is that many member states view the US as a hypocrite who wants one set of rules for itself and another set of rules for the rest of the world. The US had a good bit of goodwill coming out of WW II. That is now gone.

            I am a pragmatist. Unlike Gandhi, I recognize that there will be times when military conflict is the only choice. It should be of last resort.

          • Avatar
            clubschadenfreude

            so you want the UN to intervene but consider it worthless.

            self-awareness is fine. it won’t stop Russia.

            you are worried about people dying, and that is admirable. however, it seems you don’t think much about the people dying in non-violent protests, sine that only means that one side is non-violent. Sometimes nonviolent protest works, but at a cost. If you want no lives lost, it isn’t a way to do that.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            In its present configuration, the UN is worthless. It has potential, but until the stranglehold the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain have on the Assembly, nothing of lasting value will be done. Personally, I would like us to take another look at the League of Nations — what worked, what failed for them, what we could do better. Of course, the US wasn’t part of the League.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Ukraine has a choice: increased bloodshed and loss of life, along with the destruction of homes, businesses, and infrastructure, and negotiating a peace treaty that may result in the loss of land. As I mentioned in a previous comment: there should be an immediate ceasefire and an UN-controlled vote in Crimea and eastern Ukraine that determines whether the region is part of Ukraine or Russia. We must not forget that Ukraine was once part of the USSR, and many of its citizens are ethnic Russians. How about asking these people what they want?

      The US doesn’t want peace. It wants capitualtion and destruction, and is quite happy to give Ukraine money and weaponry to accomplish this task.

      • Avatar
        Merle

        I realize that there are many ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine. But I cannot see that, after the events of the last year, more than a small minority of any portion of Ukraine would vote to join Russia. Maybe two years ago, but it is hard to believe it would happen today.

        One can call timeout in a basketball game, but in a war, a timeout may sound good, but it can also be used to say I will redeploy my troops for a rapid devastating attack later, and you can’t do anything to stop me. I called time out.

        But supposing we really could get a lasting ceasefire, like the one in Korea, with armies truly disengaging, then yes, call a ceasefire, disengage the armies, go to the table, with votes on secession being on the table.

        If some are allowed to vote to secede, where does it stop? Can someone vote to have his ranch removed from the United States, and from then on, United States law has no effect on that ranch? Can a small community vote to secede from that county, then build an enormous landfill to the detriment of the neighbors, but hey, nobody can complain, they seceded? Breaking up a democracy is never easy.

        I blame Putin, not Russia for what is happening. I think most of the Russian people are appalled at what is happening and want it all to stop.

        Life is complicated. Pacifism and resistance to war is very important. But one cannot make a religion of pacifism. Its a great ideal, but real life decisions often involve tradeoffs between multiple good ideals. For the Ukrainians, staring down the face of a barrel, life’s decisions look different.

        By the way, I grew up Mennonite until my teenage years. My father was an active pacifist and also an active supporter of The Sword of the Lord. I bet you don’t see many with that combination, huh?

        I don’t know what the solution is. This post and the comments here have given me a lot to think about.

  2. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    I think that suggesting Putin is the bad guy in all this horror is rubbish. Well, not exactly… If you allow first that USA is the bad guy via thieving worldwide at the end of the rifle, then yes, Putin is also the bad guy. The bad guys continue to work together to prevent peace in the world. Watch this presentation from about a year ago. (I preferred a presentation from a retired General that was given at an American university but I can’t see it around anymore…)
    This presentation tells a more balanced history than any American mainstream news can manage now… The propaganda machine owns the news and has for many years. Thank goodness for the internet.

    • Avatar
      Troy

      Gravitas is described by some as a propaganda outlet “worse than Fox news”. So countries voluntarily joining a military alliance means that Putin (and it is Putin, not Russia) has clean hands invading a sovereign country? While Russia has suffered invasions during the imperial era (and notice they count Germany as well!) They dished it out as well. Stalin basically starved 3.9 million Ukrainians. Now why would Ukraine want to join NATO?
      The problem isn’t NATO, it’s Putin. Dictators almost always go to war.

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        NATO promised not to expand eastward and then did so anyway. It is not hard to understand that Putin and Russia feel threatened. The Cold War never ended. As long as each side views the other as an existential threat, the war posturing will continue. And statistically, one of these days the United States, Russia, NATO, Belarus, or some other country is going to do something that moves the conflict beyond the war of words.

        • Avatar
          steveastrouk2017

          Nato expanded because countries wanted to join it. Why ? because they spent two generations under Russian control and don’t want to go back. Nato doesn’t decide to take countries over

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            Let’s be clear NATO = United States. Trump was right about NATO — can’t believe I said that. 😂 We are the world’s policeman, the Western world is content to let us spend our money and shed the blood of our citizens to protect them.

        • Avatar
          Troy

          The NATO promise isn’t really all that clear. For one thing it isn’t part of a formal treaty. (Get it in writing!). This promise was rumored to Mikhail Gorbachev when the Soviet Union was still in existence not to Russia per se. If Putin’s war could wait until Chairman Xi’s Olympics were over, the invasion was not from a credible threat. Putin is on the record as lamenting the loss of territory in the break up of the Soviet Union. In fact his record as dictator has been to take over governments of several former soviet states. I’m with you, I want peace, but if the Ukrainians lose, the world will lose. If Ukraine compromises and cedes territory, Russia will just regroup an try again.

  3. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I don’t have the answers. I was raised on American exceptionalism, of jingoistic movies and songs promoting the US military, of thinking of the US as always being the good guys and the Soviets, Russians, Iranians, Chinese, Muslim “terrorists”, etc – pick your bad guy of the day – as the Evil Bad Guys. Having traveled and met and worked with people from these and other “bad guy nations” I see that average citizens just want the same things – security to live their lives. Leaders of nations are the ones willing to send their citizens into harm to further political and economic gains. Give Biden or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Mitch McConnell or any other politician a gun, send them to boot camp, require them to fight alongside the 20-year-old army private and see how they feel about all the wars and military operations. As for “terrorism”, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. We could make the argument that colonial fighters in the 1770s were terrorists, but because we’re US citizens we were brought up with the story of brave freedom fighters fighting for their rights. The victors write the narrative. I am sure the British see our forebears differently.

    • Avatar
      Tammy

      And I was raised by anabaptist conscientious objectors. Lots of focus on “we are not of this world – we are part of the invisible kingdom of Heaven”. I recognize more as I get older that my views and unconscious reactions are not at all in the American mainstream. In fact they are highly suspect in most American circles. I think a lot of what Bruce wrote fits within that paradigm and why it feels so right to me.

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        It does. I became a pacifist in the 90s, long before I left the ministry and Christianity. It was the first Iraq war that caused me to rethink my view on war. Anabaptist/Mennonite authors, along with Catholics such as Dorthy Day Thomas Merton, and Methodist Wendell Berry, made a deep mark on me, one that remains to this day.

      • Avatar
        ObstacleChick

        Tammy, interestingly, my Catholic-school educated (including seminary/college) father-in-law was a conscientious objector when he was drafted for Vietnam War. So they made him a medic. Fortunately, he never was sent overseas. Today, he is a rah-rah Trumper jingoistic American “patriot”. He’s still not personally big on war, and you can see the conflict he has regarding whatever he’s getting from FOX and OAN and all about American military operations. He has a really hard time when any of his personal views conflict with the far right narratives.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Nation-states have a right to defend themselves from offensive attacks by other countries. When Japan attacked us in December 1941, we had a right to defend ourselves. I oppose first strikes and preemptive military actions — the MO of the United States my entire life. We did to Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), and Vietnam exactly what Russia did to Ukraine. Our alliance with NATO does obligate is to support certain countries, but the United States seems quite selective about who they will support, while expecting all of NATO to join us every time we go on the offensive (which is often).

  4. Avatar
    Ben Berwick

    I see war as a desperate last resort, to be used only once every avenue for peace has been exhausted. I dare say Putin considered it as one of his first resorts, and I aim most of the blame and responsibility for the Ukraine war on his shoulders.

    But, I do see where you’re coming from Bruce. The US war industry is a hugely profitable one, and it has made slaves of the US political establishment. Successive governments have been very quick to pull the trigger on military action, and line the pockets of their paymasters. It makes you wonder how much better everything would be if all that money when on things like social care, healthcare, transport and education. It’s a pity more people aren’t awake to that.

  5. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Look at a rifle. Look at a missile. What do they have in common? They’re long, stiff and erect. And when something is long, stiff and erect, it makes whoever is behind it want to ram it into someone or something somewhere.

    All the person/institution/nation with the long, stiff, erect staff has to do is tell a few sweet little lies to the people they “love” about how they’re wonderful and special and nobody else matters, and how the one with the staff will never hurt them or allow anyone else to hurt them.

    And to anyone else who tries to horn in: “My warhead is bigger than your warhead!”

    • Avatar
      ... Zoe ~

      Just like “the church” &/or “religions.” Painting with a broad brush. On purpose. Because in a way, until there is literally a separation of church and state on a global level, the wars will continue. As long as there are beliefs that the universe is in a battle between good vs. evil, everyone will keep practicing their cherished beliefs (whatever they are), justify war, and for the most part eagerly wait for their redemption via their beliefs.

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        So true. Religion plays a big part in the Ukraine War. Both countries are primarily Orthodox, yet one group supports Ukraine, the other Russia. Neither group seems to say much about peace.

        Sadly, many Americans think that whatever our military does is righteous, moral, and good. In their minds, the United States has been ordained by God to be defenders of the “free world”; to promote freedom to the ends of the earth — using violence, bloodshed, and death to do so.

        As I’m sure you know, many Americans know very little about the history of their country. And I mean the real, unvarnished history, and not the selective, sanitized version of American history taught in public (and private Christian) schools.

  6. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    I have to admit that when it comes to the Ukraine situation, I don’t know much other than I feel sympathy for Ukrainians whose lives have been turned upside down or lost loved ones and disgust for Putin—and that there’s a millennium of history behind it that I understand superficially, if at all. That’s why I am reluctant to say much about it, except this: The United States looks like it’s fighting another proxy war (as it also is in the Horn of Africa, by the way). The only ones in the country fighting the proxy war who benefit are those—-whether in business or politics—who have stakes in the arms industry.

  7. Avatar
    davey crockett

    Bruce, how can a vote be realistic when how many million people have become refugees and gotten the hell out?? How will one count their votes?? And how can a vote be trusted when the Putin the bully uses all possible tools to control people?? In that kind of environment you Bruce would be hauled into the authorities, judged with a vague law before a biased pro-kremlin judge, humiliated in a barred courtroom cage, and sentenced to a ridiculous jail term to be a public example to any and all who think like you.
    The Russian reaction of pillaging and destroying in the name of their supposed fear is so gross and barbaric. And we don’t even know for certain that this fear of NATO thru Ukraine is for real. So far it has been a point as believable as the ukrainians being neo-nazis and hating Russians. They’re both political smoke screens, clouding clear vision. Have you Bruce and the world already forgotten what the Russians did retaking Georgia?? Nobody lifted a finger. From there they went to Crimea and Mr. Obama did nothing to help and from there they moved on to Ukraine.
    If actions are a sign, Putin thinks he’s on a roll with a long time line. Many of your points and ideals are real and admirable but we are dealing with a Russian Bear. Bears are all about power and intimidation. Don’t forget France helped us become a country by financing tools of war. I think a lot of you Bruce and the work you do, but for me you have really dropped the ball on this one.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I could write a long, detailed answer to your comment, but, quite frankly, I am tired of doing so.

      So, let me ask this: how much bloodshed is enough? How many men, women, and children have to die before we say “enough?” 500,000? 1,000,000? How many homes, businesses, and infrastructure have to be destroyed before we say “enough?” As it stands now, it will take a generation to rebuild Ukraine.

      People demonize Russia, and rightly so based on their past offensive military interventions. What troubles me is the fact that these same critics seem unable to turn the same critical eye towards similar actions by the United States; that our offensive military interventions are “different”; that they are just, moral, defenses of liberty, freedom, and democracy. Until we can see our own culpability not only in Ukraine but in numerous conflicts across the world, the United States has little to offer when it comes to resolving the war in Ukraine. I am not sure the US wants the war to end. They want to see Russia humiliated. The US is playing a dangerous game, one that could have catastrophic consequences (i.e. nuclear war).

      We lack imagination. Unable to envision a better way, we fall into past patterns of conflict resolution: sanctions, weapon sales, advisors on the ground, boots on the ground, massive bloodshed, carnage, and death, and, finally a cessation of hostilities. And then, X number of years later, we do it all over again. Talk about insanity.

      I have no doubt the US (and Russia) will continue in their violent ways. ‘Tis what they do. There is a better way, but there seems to be no appetite for peace.

      • Avatar
        Sage

        Well Bruce, it’s all about American Exceptionalism and understanding that the United States is the best country in the world, ever. And all wars the nation fights or supports are gods will. And god will make sure that the United States prevails since it is a god fearing country founded on judeo Christian principals.

        And let’s not forget the duty to go into the world and teach the gospel. Surely that hasn’t caused any problems. Sure, sometimes military force and subjugation of cultures is necessary, but it’s all for the good of god so whatever was done is ok

        Yes, the important thing is to be the biggest bully in the block

        • Avatar
          Elliot

          Elliot is a antisemitic Holocaust denier. He is also a homophobe and a misogynist. On top of that, he’s an asshole. He knows he’s permanently banned, yet be continues to try to comment. Ain’t ever going to happen, Elliot. You can personally annoy me, but readers will never, ever see your vile stuff.

  8. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    “War is terrorism, period. Flying drones over civilian populations and killing men, women, and children is terrorism. Bombing Dresden and Tokyo is terrorism. Dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations in Nagasaki and Hiroshima is terrorism. Using napalm in southeast China is terrorism.”

    Do you know what else is terrorism? Blaming Spain for the explosion of the U.S.S. Mains. “Annexing” Hawaii’i. The occupation of Haiti. The occupation of the Dominican Republic. Backing Fulgencio Batista, the Saudi Royal Family, the Shah of Iran and Pinochet. Assassinating Patrice Lumbumba. Oh, and our completely duplicitous relationship with Israel.

    The worlld has the US to thank for the Marcoses, the Duvaliers, the Ayatollah, Fidel Castro and basically every Islamic “terrorist” group in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

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