Friday, March 11, 2022

Stop Believing: Be Skeptical of the Civilian-casualty Narrative

Stop Believing:
Be skeptical of the civilian-casualty narrative

 Jim Kavanagh

Moscow Times/TASS / CTK Photo / Vladimir Prycek

As I’ve said before, in a full-scale war, no one gets out with clean hands. In any war, both sides are going to kill some innocent civilians and each side is going to downplay its own excesses and highlight the enemy’s. Though we’d like to, we cannot avoid what we all know is the terrible answer to this question: When has any side in any war stopped fighting because of civilian casualties?

In such a context, by no means should anyone believe either the report or denial of an atrocity on the basis of statements from the warring parties and their interested allies alone. To decide what version of events one thinks is true, it is necessary to critically analyze the versions of the interested parties and seek information from as many independent sources as possible who have demonstrated their honesty, fairness, and reliability in such situations.

We’ve had decades of “aggression and atrocity” lies to justify the U.S. going to war—Vietnam’s attack on U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf, Iraqi soldiers dumping babies from incubators in Kuwait, WMDs in Iraq, Viagra-pumped Ghaddafi rapist soldiers in Libya, Syrian government poison gas attacks on their own citizens in Syria, etc. In this very conflict, within the space of ten days, we’ve had a number of blatant lies loudly promoted and then demurely retracted—the ghost fighter pilot of Kiev, the heroic Snake Island martyrs who fought to their death, the vicious Russian tank driver who crushed a car, the non-existent then “dangerous” biological research labs, etc. So, I think it’s imperative that Americans not believe, on first hearing, the atrocity reports coming from the media that peddled and memory-holed all those lies.

The U.S. and Western media have demonstrated that they are interested parties, allies and voices of the Kiev government (ward of the U.S. government), who accept and transmit as true any of that government’s accounts of Russian crimes. Without any further proof, they will maintain the truth of those accounts, until and unless someone else (they will never look) provides irrefutable counter-evidence they cannot ignore. Their attitude, which they have successfully inculcated in most of their American audience, is that what Kiev says can must be taken as true and what Russia says must be taken as false. It is the most dangerous attitude in the world.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Battle of Ukraine and the War It’s Part Of

The Battle of Ukraine and the War It’s Part Of

Jim Kavanagh


Last week,  I wrote that Russia was “on the offensive and impatient” and would “act very soon.” It did, but in a way that far exceeded my expectations. I thought Russia would make a direct military intervention to secure the Lugansk and Donetsk Republics (LDPR) it had newly recognized, and maybe help them to capture the large portion of their claimed territory still controlled by Ukrainian forces—a more offensive and riskier move that, I warned, would make it easier to create a political narrative detrimental to Russia. Unlikely, I thought, that Russia would engage in a military offensive west of Donbass, let alone aimed at Kiev.

Well, as I was writing that, Russia moved in a way that blew through all my—and just about everyone’s—oh-so-shrewd calculations of how oh-so-shrewd Russia’s strategic thinking would be. Russia mounted a broad, full-scale offensive—destroying military facilities throughout Ukraine, seeking to encircle and capture major cities, and moving on the capital itself. This is nothing less than an attempt to achieve major policy changes in Ukraine by military force.

Russia is insisting that Ukraine recognize Crimea as Russian territory, abide by the Minsk agreement (oops, too late) recognize the LDPR, officially renounce joining NATO and remove any extant NATO infrastructure, adopt a neutral stance, and eliminate the fascist political influence (“de-Nazify”).

It is the Battle of Ukraine. This is a demand for a definitive redefinition of the Ukrainian polity that has emerged since 2014. “Regime change,” if you wish, in a substantive sense. The Kiev government and its patron, the US, will not agree, and never would have agreed, to any of it, except by force.

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