The psychiatrist I consulted In 1969 to “advise” me on my draft status said the war (in Vietnam) was a “mass neurosis.” I thought this was an understatement but I was glad he agreed with me. So I was, at least temporarily, unfit for “service.” Later that year I lucked out on the same lottery that Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump lucked out on, but unlike them I was not able later to make up for dodging the draft by killing people from the White House.
By Michael David Morrissey
If Vietnam was a mass neurosis, Ukraine is flat-out bonkers. It has never been clearer that our political leaders have no regard for human life and are determined to control the world even at the risk of nuclear war. The US, with all the European NATO countries dutifully following their leader, is waging a proxy and economic war against Russia that is killing untold numbers of Ukranians and Russians and wreaking economic havoc not only in Russia but primarily in Europe and also in the rest of the world, including the USA. (See Michael Hudson here, from 28:30.)
On May 1, on Face the Nation, Representative Adam Kinzinger said “Congress is vastly and largely united on the issue of Ukraine. We recognize Ukraine is fighting for all of us.” He continued:
I just introduced an AUMF, an authorization for the use of military force, giving the president basically congressional leverage or permission to use it if WMDs, nuclear, biological or chemical are used in Ukraine.
The next day Oliver Stone pointed out in a Facebook post that the US (and Ukraine) may be “setting the stage for a low-yield nuclear explosion, of unknown origin,” which nonetheless would be blamed on Russia to provide a pretext for the US/NATO to engage in direct combat, very likely with “retaliatory” nuclear weapons. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists confirmed recently that “many in the US defense establishment — the military, government, think tanks, and industry — promote the perception that a nuclear war can be won and fought” (see here), which is a bewildering insanity but unfortunately a real one that must be reckoned with.
The level of stupidity and willful ignorance displayed by Kinzinger and, if he is right, virtually all of the US Congress and the president is mirrored 100% in the mainstream media. This is the first time I can remember, and it seems to be the first time ever, including the McCarthy period, that the MSM have been so tightly controlled and the general population, as a result, so thoroughly brainwashed that the Russophobic march to Armageddon seems unstoppable, despite the insanity of this trajectory.
RussiaToday.com and SputnikNews.com and official Russian government websites (with transcripts of speeches and press conferences of government officials, in English!) have been banned in the US and in Europe. Although there are some “outliers of people,” as Kinzinger puts it, “that seem to show some Putin sympathy,” those who stray from the accepted doctrine – that Putin, aka “Hitler,” launched an unprovoked aggressive war against plucky, freedom-loving Ukraine because he wants to recreate the Soviet Union and must be stopped by all means necessary – are being excluded not only from the MSM but also from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even PayPal with no explanation, much less justification.
This is unprecedented. In Vietnam days we didn’t have the internet, but there were major protests starting in 1964 and plenty of demonstrations and sit-ins, teach-ins, SDS meetings and so on after that. There is nothing comparable today, either on the right or the left. There is no antiwar movement, just a few dissident voices on the internet that, with almost no exceptions (like Tucker Carlson), are banned from the major newspaper and television outlets. Unless you seek them out, you will not hear from people like (in no particular order) John Mearsheimer, Stephen Cohen (RIP), Noam Chomsky, Michael Hudson, Ray McGovern, Scott Ritter, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Maté, Pepe Escobar, Jimmy Dore (yes, the comedian!), Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, Dan Kovalik, Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, Richard Medhust, Eva Barlett or websites like ConsortiumNews.com, TruthOut.org, AntiWar.com, OpEdNews.com, TheGrayZone.com, MintPressNews.com, Telesurtv.net, Multipolarista.com, OrinocoTribune.com, MoonofAlabama.org, TheSaker.is, et al. As they are banned from Facebook and Twitter and YouTube they migrate to new, smaller outlets like Substack.com, Telegram.org, and Rumble.com.
But it is foreseeable that even these smaller alternative media will soon be threatened by the newly formed Disinformation Governance Board of the US Dept. of Homeland Security, whose task will be to “protect national security by combating foreign misinformation and disinformation.” This is now headed by a 33-year-old named Nina(compoop) Jankowicz, whom Tucker Carlson has appropriately lampooned, though I’m afraid it is no joke. Caitlin Johnstone also devoted a few choice words to this absurdity, to which I commented:
The US government can no longer be taken seriously, except to oppose it. It is exactly on a par with its Ukrainian puppet, and the EU/NATO states as well, as exemplified by Boris Johnson and Annalena Bareback (Ms. Trampoline, German Foreign Minister). And Joe Biden. I don’t think they even want to be taken seriously. They are telling us (as I have been saying for years): “We have you all by the balls, we don’t give a fuck what you think, and this is what you’re going to get so just do what you’re told or we’ll get serious and just obliterate you.” The Russians, I think, have received this message and are reacting to it. “We the people” have not. By a long shot. We are still wasting our time trying to be reasonable and argue with facts and logic. This just won’t work, and I think the “deep message” that the “Deep State” has for us is that we had better realize that before they show us what it is really like to live in a totalitarian — the totalitarian — state.
What can we expect of a nation that pays lip service to “freedom of speech” but persecutes the foremost journalist of our time, Julian Assange, who has dared to report the crimes of the state and the powerful? (And there are many more examples.) It cannot be surprising that the history of the Ukraine conflict is generally ignored, with few exceptions. On the day of the invasion, Ted Galen Carpenter wrote on 19fortyfive.com, reprinted in The Guardian on Feb. 28:
History will show that Washington’s treatment of Russia in the decades following the demise of the Soviet Union was a policy blunder of epic proportions. It was entirely predictable that NATO expansion would ultimately lead to a tragic, perhaps violent, breach of relations with Moscow. Perceptive analysts warned of the likely consequences, but those warnings went unheeded. We are now paying the price for the U.S. foreign policy establishment’s myopia and arrogance.
“Perceptive analysts” like John Mearsheimer and the late Stephen F. Cohen, not to mention Putin himself, have indeed been warning about US “myopia and arrogance” for years. But now it is no longer acceptable in the MSM to mention the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine government and military, the eight years of Ukrainian terrorism against the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass resulting in 14 thousand deaths since 2014, the failure of the Ukrainians to implement the 2015 Minsk 2 agreement, the 32 years of NATO eastward expansion despite Russian protests and warnings, and now, bringing all this to a head, the continuing refusal of the US/NATO and Ukraine to commit themselves to excluding Ukraine from NATO.
This is the reason for the Russian invasion, and the key to ending the war, but even now, after almost three months of devastation, it is seldom even mentioned. What one hears in the Western media, instead, from both the left and the right, is how important it is to continue supplying Ukraine with ever-more sophisticated weapons so that they can defend themselves against the evil Russians who have attacked them for no good reason and must be stopped at any cost.
Germany is especially to blame for ignoring the history that made it possible for Germany even to exist as a state in its current form. It was the primary beneficiary of the 1990 treaty that allowed reunification, on the condition that no foreign troops or nuclear weapons would be deployed in the former East German territory. There has been controversy about the “legality” of the promises made by the US in 1990 that after German reunification NATO would not expand “one inch eastward” (Baker), but there has never been any question about the Russian objections to any such expansion.
Where was Germany when “US President Bill Clinton called for former Warsaw Pact countries and post-Soviet republics to join NATO, and made NATO enlargement a crucial part of his foreign-policy,” and when, beginning in 1999 and always despite the vehement but ignored objections of Russia, 14 more countries (in addition to reunified Germany) joined NATO, including five directly on Russia’s borders (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Norway)?
Germany should have been the first country to object to this expansion and violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the agreement that made it possible for it to exist as a whole country again, and even join NATO in a military alliance against the very country, Russia, that had sacrificed so much (27 million lives!) in order to defeat it in its former incarnation as the “Third Reich,” the worst scourge that has been visited upon humanity in modern history.
But no, we do not see Germany objecting to NATO expansion. On April 1, 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported that
Mr. Scholz made one last push for a settlement between Moscow and Kyiv. He told Mr. Zelensky in Munich on Feb. 19 that Ukraine should renounce its NATO aspirations and declare neutrality as part of a wider European security deal between the West and Russia. The pact would be signed by Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden, who would jointly guarantee Ukraine’s security.
Mr. Zelensky said Mr. Putin couldn’t be trusted to uphold such an agreement and that most Ukrainians wanted to join NATO. His answer left German officials worried that the chances of peace were fading.
This is remarkable for three reasons, all of which are obvious and important but none of which, as far as I know, have been pointed out in either the German or the American press. First, it shows Scholz knew exactly what was needed to prevent the war. If the same proposal had been made to Zelensky by Joe Biden, it would not have been rejected. Ukraine would not have been able to fight the Russians effectively, and would not have wanted to, without American support.
Secondly, it shows that Olaf Scholz did not have the backbone to allow the news of his rejected proposal to be reported by the German press. Germans did not hear about it until 40 days later, after it appeared in the WSJ. It is highly unlikely that the WSJ reporters had access to information about the German chancellor that German reporters did not, which means Scholz’s office must have put pressure on the German and perhaps also the foreign press not to report it. When it was finally reported in the WSJ, it appeared at the end of a long (6,500-word) “backstory” article that describes the history of the conflict as “Putin’s 20-year march to war” and the “roots of the war” as lying not in Russia’s legitimate security concerns but “in Russia’s deep ambivalence about its place in the world after the end of the Soviet Union.” The article is full of distortions that I will not try to correct here, but the intended take-away is clearly that the valiant efforts of the West over two decades “managed neither to deter Mr. Putin from invading Ukraine nor reassure him that Ukraine’s increasing westward orientation didn’t threaten the Kremlin” while Putin “resorted to increasingly aggressive steps to reassert Moscow’s dominion over Ukraine and other former Soviet republics.”
In this context, Scholz’s “one last push” is quite falsely depicted as if it was only one of many sincere efforts by the West to recognize Russia’s legitimate security concerns and do the right thing. The fact is, however, that this proposal had never been made, either to Zelensky or to Russians, and if it had been – by the US – there would have been no invasion and no war, and everyone would have been happy except the fools and warmongers in Washington who think the war will weaken Russia and bring about regime-change in Moscow – as well as fill the coffers of the arms industry.
Thirdly, Scholz’s “last push” offer and the effort to keep it from being publicized shows how pitifully weak and spineless is the strongest “ally” of the US in NATO. If Scholz had had the guts to announce to the world that he had made this offer to Zelensky instead of keeping it secret, Zelensky would not have been able to reject it out of hand and the US would have been forced to choose between supporting its NATO ally or supporting Zelensky. It would be very interesting to know if Scholz discussed his proposal with the Americans before making it to Zelensky, and what the American response was.
Without knowing this, I won’t speculate, but it is fair and necessary to consider what could have happened if Olaf Scholz had made his proposal known, in which case, like e.e. cummings, I could “sing of Olaf, glad and big,” instead of having to criticize him as just another spineless US vassal.
If Scholz had accompanied his proposal by declaring formally that Germany, for one, would never allow Ukraine into NATO, that in itself might well have been enough for Russia to call off the invasion. It would have raised the ire of the US, of course, but they would not have been able to override Germany’s veto since the NATO charter clearly requires any decision on enlargement to be unanimous. Even if a German pledge to keep Ukraine out of NATO had not dissuaded Russia from invading, Germany could and should have continued to refuse to contribute anything but humanitarian aid to Ukraine. It could and should have also refused to participate in sanctions against Russia, and refused to scuttle its multi-billion-euro Nordstream 2 deal with Russia.
All of this could have been justified by the special position that Germany has vis-a-vis not only the US but also, and especially, Russia after WW2. It was, after all, primarily the Russians who freed the Germans from the Nazis, at the cost of 27 million lives. And it is right to be grateful for the Marshall Plan, but how far should this gratitude extend? Does it require that Germans sacrifice their current economy because of sanctions and a US proxy war that could have been easily avoided and could even now be immediately ended instead of being stoked ever more dangerously to the brink of nuclear war?
All it would have taken, and all it would take now, is a simple No. No to Ukraine ever joining NATO, no to nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and no to Ukraine’s refusal to implement the Minsk 2 agreement, and as Scholz quite reasonably proposed, a declaration of neutrality “as part of a wider European security deal between the West and Russia.” I fail to see how any rational person can fail to see the common sense and utter simplicity of this, as an alternative to war.
My father, a West Pointer and veteran of two wars, once told me that “everybody feels guilty when there is a war.” He was capable of such flashes of brilliance, which seemed to emerge from him despite himself. It was his response to my confession, many decades after the fact, that I sometimes felt guilty about not “serving” in Vietnam. That too, despite myself, since I would not have admitted it in a rational state of mind.
What we are seeing now in Ukraine is insanity. No one is going to accept any guilt. That may come later, if there is a later. The Vietnam war dragged on for years solely on the grounds of “saving face,” which had in fact become a major factor even before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, as shown in a conversation between President Johnson and Senator Richard Russell on May 27, 1964. Applying this to President Trump’s policies in 2017 re North Korea and Afghanistan, Jeff Greenfield wisely wrote:
Are we doomed to follow a path with North Korea [read “Ukraine”] where the only apparent options are nuclear war or some sort of diplomatic or geopolitical defeat? If the reasonably foreseeable outcome of a policy is disaster, then pursuing that policy because no one can conceive of an alternative is something close to madness.
“Saving face” as a “reason” for war, or more war, is not “close” to madness, it is madness, just as it is madness for anyone to claim to be “fighting for peace” by delivering arms to Ukraine. The German Greens, who once had the slogan “Frieden schaffen, ohne Waffen” (Make peace without weapons), now as part of the coalition government are leading the demand for more arms to be sent to Ukraine and fully support the Russian sanctions that will hurt Germany probably more than any other country.
To make matters even worse, Finland and Sweden are now also on the verge of joining NATO, supposedly because of the “Russian threat” as seen in Ukraine, when Ukraine is in fact the result of the NATO threat to Russia, which has been ignored for 32 years.
There is no reason in any of this. It is full-blown insanity. The best thing that could happen, and maybe the only thing that will save us, is if there is a massive shift of consciousness and we start filling the streets and demanding what Olaf Scholz proposed to Zelensky on Feb. 19.
Michael David Morrissey is a linguist (Ph.D. Cornell University) and taught English for many years at the University of Kassel. He has written articles and books on politics, English grammar and language teaching, and Irish folk songs. Born in DC, now a German citizen