/ September 19, 2023
Editor's Note: One casualty of America's loss of a Free Press is independent, fact-based reporting on critical news of geopolitical consequence. This commentary counters the dominant "narrative" about the Russia-Ukraine war with alternative sources and information. "Facts" cited by the warring narratives are also in dispute.
Commentary by Mike Scruggs
The United States and NATO are fighting a proxy war against the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
Russia, however, is a very different country from the old Soviet Union and has not been dominated by Communist philosophy, government, or ambitions for over 30 years. Yet the Western coalition of NATO and European Union governments and their national media have been telling the public since February 2022 that this war is about democracy, freedom, and guaranteeing Ukrainian independence, and that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, was “unprovoked” aggression.
That narrative continues to be upheld by many Western political leaders. but it is shallow and far short of the complete truth. It is largely propaganda. A huge part of this propaganda has been the ruthless, dishonest, and inflammatory demonizing of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it has also created an Orwellian “Russo-phobic” canon of misinformation about Russia and the Russian people.
This propaganda has been a major factor in U.S. foreign policy at least since 2008. In February 2014, the United States State Department, helped by the CIA and British MI6, encouraged and aided the overthrow of a fairly-elected Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in order to replace him with a pro-NATO and anti-Russian president. Then Vice President Biden, now Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, and now National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan were directly involved in that coup and regime change.
It is important to note here that more than a third of Ukrainians are by language, culture, and ethnic background Russian. These are concentrated in eastern and southern Ukraine. The 2014 coup caused a civil war between the Ukrainian Army and the Russian ethnic minority in Ukraine that cost 14,000 lives.
This Ukrainian Army’s “terrorist war” against Russian ethnics lasted right up to the so-called “unprovoked” Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government felt they had to intervene to protest against the betrayal of the May 2015 Minsk Agreement, which would have resolved discrimination issues against Russian ethnics and Russian ethnic dominant states within Ukraine. Moreover, the Ukrainian Army had significantly escalated artillery attacks against Russian ethnic civilians in the Donbass states of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Russian people were also demanding action to stop the violence against the Russian-majority in the Donbass. According to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who has been observing Russia for 60 years, the Ukraine War is “105 percent our fault,” the consequence of replacing objective intelligence with hegemonic ideology and politics.
The Western media has persistently passed on extremely exaggerated Ukrainian government and Biden Administration propaganda as the truth about the war. Only recently, has the public begun to see through this propaganda.
Ukraine is not winning the war. It is being destroyed. Over 14 million of its people have fled the country.
According to military and foreign policy consultant Col. Douglas Macgregor, as of September 15, 2023, an estimated 430,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed, and some are now estimating over 500,000. Probably less than 40,000 Russian, Wagner Group, Chechen, and Donbass militia soldiers have been killed. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have been permanently disabled, with more than 50,000 amputees. Also according to Macgregor, part of the wide difference in casualties is that the Russian Army is better prepared and equipped for recovering battlefield casualties and rendering emergency medical treatment. According to Macgregor, the Ukrainians have also lost a huge percentage of their original and NATO-contributed tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and other equipment. Several months ago he claimed 80 percent had been destroyed.
The war has been an artillery war of attrition with the Russians having better than an 8-to-1 advantage over the Ukrainians in artillery and munitions. A key to this victory has been that Russian industrial production of artillery weapons and munitions has outmatched U.S. and NATO capacity nearly 7-to-1, according to an Estonian defense official, and that lead is increasing. The United States has been sending its once superior industrial capability overseas for cheap labor. Climate change ideology has also had a de-industrializing effect on the United States, Germany, and other Western European countries.
The Russians also have air superiority in Ukraine and the most advanced anti-aircraft, anti-missile, and anti-rocket defense systems in the world. They have also demonstrated superior electronic countermeasures against aircraft, drones, rockets, and missiles. Moreover, their hypersonic cruise missiles, which can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, are almost impossible to intercept. They appear several years ahead of U.S long-range strike technology. (Andrei Martyanov, <em>Losing Military Supremacy—The Myopia of American Strategic Planning, </em>2018.)
According to Macgregor, former CIA analysts Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson, former Marine intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, and many other independent analysts, Ukraine has lost the ground war against Russia. Given the devastated condition of the Ukrainian armed forces and the immense resources of manpower, weapons, and technology of the Russians, pushing the Russians out Crimea and their formidable defenses in southern and eastern Ukraine is not a realistic probability.
The Russians have no ambition to occupy all of Ukraine. They will never give up Crimea and its Naval base at Sevastopol, which it has held since 1783. Crimea has never been more than 25 percent Ukrainian and is presently only 15 percent Ukrainian. They might want all or most of the other eight Russian-speaking states in Ukraine. They might want to go all the way to the Dnieper River for a clear defense line, but they do not want the rest of Ukraine. They only want it to be neutral in the sense of non-NATO and not anti-Russian. Only if provoked by NATO or Polish or Lithuanian troops in Western Ukraine would they feel forced to defend their own security interests by moving past the Dnieper.
The big question is whether the Biden Administration will recognize that the Ukraine Project, which was really to risk and use Ukrainian manpower to weaken Russia and eliminate them as a world power, has failed — at the cost of 430,000 to 500,000 or more Ukrainian lives.
“Fighting to the last Ukrainian,” indeed! To some, using up Ukrainian lives rather than risking American lives to accomplish the questionable Neocon and Biden Administration goal of effectively devastating Russia was clever cost-effective American national defense. However, I believe most Americans will recognize that such a clever scheme paid for in Ukrainian blood is far beneath the moral high-ground we should expect of our country and our leaders.
We are badly in need of reviewing the ethical standards of our foreign policy means and objectives.
A larger question facing us now is whether we can admit we made a mistake or must double-down in escalating the war in order to save political face. It seems we may have begun doubling-down with a strategy of striking Russian targets in Russia with “Ukrainian” long-range missiles. Are our leaders so focused on winning political elections that they are blind to the risks and human costs of high-level conventional or even nuclear war?
The Russians are prepared for a drive to the Dnieper, but they are weighing the risks and costs of NATO/American escalation. They must also weigh the costs of delay. This is balanced against a realistic hope that financial, economic, and military support for Ukraine from Europe will crash as winter demonstrates the suffering and heavy burdens that sanctions against Russia and sacrifices for Ukraine have wrought.
The Ukraine War is increasingly unpopular in European polls. This could lead to devastating election results for European politicians and parties identified with the Ukraine War and strong U.S. pressure for its support.
The Global Leader Approval Ratings for September 6-12, 2023, indicate a number of Ukraine War supporters in Western Europe are in considerable trouble: Fiala, Czech Republic, 20% approval; Rutte, Netherlands, 24%; Macron, France, 24%; Scholz, Germany 25%, Nehammer, Austria, 27%; Sunak, UK, 27%; Store, Norway 27%, Kristersson, Sweden 32%, Morawiecki, Poland, 32%; De Croo, Belgium 32%.; Varadkar, Ireland 38%. Joe Biden received 40 percent approval in the same poll.
In the U.S., Republican voters are moving strongly against support for the war, but most Republicans in Congress seem oblivious to their constituents’ concerns. This could spell some unexpectedly poor incumbent results in Republican primaries and the General Election.
Tensions are increasing over possible U.S.-backed Ukrainian long-range strike escalation and possible Russian reactions. They are simultaneously increasing in the face of Russian readiness to advance on Kharkov and Odessa, and possibly all the way to the Dnieper.
Recommended video or reading: JFK American University speech, June 10, 1963.
I voted for Nixon rather than Kennedy in 1960, but I strongly recommend that every American now watch or read Kennedy’s address to the graduating students of American University in 1963. It is on the Internet and is even more appropriate and timely today than it was in June 1963. Unfortunately, Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
“We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, good will toward men. That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
President John F. Kennedy
Mike Scruggs is a columnist and former USAF intelligence officer and combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is author of 'The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths' and 'Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You'.
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