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Opinion: Digging down for facts about recent wars
Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with the heads of delegations to the 18th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Security and Intelligence Agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States members via videoconference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Days ago President Joe Biden said the war in Ukraine was a war chosen by Russian President Vladimir Putin. If that’s true, then isn’t it also true the US war in Iraq was chosen by President GW Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney? 

Cheney intentionally and repeatedly lied, claiming there was a serious threat to Americans from weapons of mass destruction he insisted Iraq had. Cheney even said “we know where they are.” After years of occupation, decimation of the Iraqi army, loss of half a million Iraqi lives, and lives of thousands of US servicemen, hindsight shows Cheney lied the USA into a war of choice. No American political leader was ever held accountable. After what we did in Iraq, how can we criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine?

Consider the Cuban Missile Crisis that resulted after America discovered Soviet missiles in Cuba. Our reaction was to threaten open war if the USSR did not withdraw and remove those weapons. This is basically what Russia is doing today in Ukraine.

Let’s look deeper. In 2014 we acted to overthrow the President of Ukraine in order to take a strategically important satellite state which functioned as a buffer between Russia and European NATO states. Wiretapped phone conversations indicate US diplomat Victoria Nuland was involved in planning this coup. Did we think there wouldn’t be consequences? 

Russia’s invasion is that consequence. From Russia’s perspective, this is a defensive intervention to protect the Russian homeland from NATO’s weapons. It was a strategic mistake for the US to engage in regime change in Ukraine. The ultimate risk is if Russia fails to retake Ukraine territory, Putin is likely to be replaced by an unknown actor who is more likely to use Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Is this a risk US citizens would support?

Balance of power is key to global peace. If western powers (led by the USA) become too powerful from an economic, diplomatic, or military perspective, they will eventually constitute a threat to the rest of the world. We are rapidly becoming that threat.

With a 100-year history of using military and covert interventions to destabilize and overthrow foreign countries, we have significant culpability in pushing these events to the brink. We’ve done it over 41 times. We typically target a country with economic war, justifying our sanctions by claiming they are socialist regimes. We weaken them with sanctions, and sow unrest among their citizens. Then we foment and support regime change against their democratically elected leaders in order to install the preferred government of our choice.

A recent example was our effort to replace Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with our own choice Juan Guaidó. We claimed the election Maduro won was fraudulent. Sound familiar? That’s the same thing President Trump and his right-wing backers said about the last US election. It was a lie here, and it’s a lie down there, too.

Finally, if you think helping occupied Ukraine is moral, where is our help for the occupied Palestinians?

Bruce Vandiver