by Andy Joppa
“Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
There is an increasing cacophony about declaring Putin a War Criminal. Perhaps he is, but there are far more deadly perpetrators in our midst. There is an abundance of “Peace Criminals” …those that damage life indiscriminately, all under the cover of law and/or respectability. They come espousing peace, then do everythng in their power to generate war for their own profit.
I must remind you that false narratives have driven many America military and political actions…they are almost the norm. It is difficult to place the responsibility for these distortions. Some are errors of convenience; that is, the propaganda narrative offered by biased international operatives, that were accepted at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Others are creations of our intelligence agencies functioning in an “ends over means” model; seeing their job as accomplishing a goal regardless of the method used. Others have been carefully constructed by the top advisors or leaders in the executive branch. Whether any President is culpable or is nothing more than the innocent ‘victim” of these fabrications, can be debated within the uniqueness of the circumstance. However, these and many others, are false narratives regardless of source or intent:
· In 1964 the creation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident was used to deepen our involvement in Vietnam.
· The successful demonization of the Serbs as unique and genocidal killers was one of the great propaganda triumphs of that era.
· The attack and killing of Qaddafi in Libya resulted from the “misinformation” that he was going to slaughter civilians in Benghazi.
· The call for the removal of Mubarak was a result of the dubious claim he had ordered the slaughter of Egyptian civilians in Tahrir Square.
These false narratives, among many, created little more than death, carnage, and chaos around the globe. Many in the Washington bubble accepted them wholeheartedly and dissenters were generally dismissed as irrelevant…or complicit. Perhaps we should explore our “involvement” in Ukraine with a perspective derived from our history of using propaganda to demonize our adversaries and, by so doing, freeing up our military response.
“Cui Bono” is a principle that probable responsibility for an act or event lies with one having something to gain. For example (I had previously written) …Who had something to gain from the gas attack at Douma during April 2018? It can be said with surety that it was Bashar al-Assad who had the least to gain. Note that I am not trying to make a case for any given scenario; I am merely suggesting that the Assad regime’s culpability was vastly under-proven by the public evidence.
One need not admire Putin in the present tense or Assad in the past tense to acquit them if that is where the evidence eventually leads. The war in Ukraine is a meat grinder, as is all war. It is always violent, vulgar, and vile. However, it is impossible to determine criminality, even Putin’s, when the war still rages on. We know that Ukraine gains the most by “documenting” what is being presented as his criminal acts. We know that deaths of civilians can be manufactured by Ukrainians as a way of inducing a reluctant West to bring more direct support to their battle with Russia. I certainly don’t know that…or its negation.
At this point I would have to accept that the ethical restraint of Ukrainians prevents them from manufacturing evidence against Putin. There is no reason to accept that premise…or reject it. In short…we do not know what has happened in Ukraine. I can, however, state unequivocally, that Putin has the least to gain by these actions. That doesn’t mean he didn’t…it means these actions are not in his interest. But really… we just don’t know.
What we do know, and can document, is that there are a myriad of actions taking place in the West that can collectively be labeled as the actions taken by “Peace Criminals”. The fact that there is no direct violence or bodies in the street does not diminish the horrendous impact of these “Peace Criminals”. We tend to believe that acts of direct violence are the only ones that can be used to determine criminality. I totally disagree with that premise. As I write, even if Putin is authoring the acts we are being given in Ukraine, there are far more devastating actions being committed by “Peace Criminals”. These are actions that offer the potential to damage the human experience far more than what is available from the barrel of a Russian gun. But, apparently, if no blood is spilled, it is all acceptable.
We can see these actions reaching fulfillment as a result of distortions manufactured for profit or power or both. We know that tens or hundreds of thousands died as a result of the suppression of COVID therapeutics that undoubtedly would have saved lives…all for profit. We know that late third trimester abortions result in the death of thousands of living human beings. We know that disastrous energy policies can lead to famine…if not, then vastly emaciated lives of depravation. We know that we are moving in the West toward configurations that would be undifferentiated from third world nations with a corresponding loss of life expectancy. We know that economic systems have been disrupted, resulting in chaos, stress, and an attendant loss of life.
All of this, and much more, is “given” to us by our “Peace Criminals”. It is often these same criminals who now bemoan the far less significant issues taking place in Ukraine. Yet, we believe their every word. We genuflect at their “wisdom “and believe they are purveyors of truth. They have consistently lied in every meaningful circumstance. Why should now be any different? How persistently naïve we are as a species.
“The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don’t want to go there.”
Bart D. Ehrman
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