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‘Let them kill as many as possible’ The Roots of US Militarism in Russia and Around the World

“This time, is the primary goal of the paramilitary program to help Ukrainians liberate their country or to weaken Russia over the course of a long insurgency that will undoubtedly cost as many Ukrainian lives as Russian lives, if not more?”

What the people of Ukraine are suffering from Russian aggression is suffered daily by millions around the world from U.S. aggression.

Common Dreams, BRIAN TERRELL, March 4, 2022   In April 1941, four  years before he was to become President and eight months before the United States entered World War II, Senator Harry Truman of Missouri reacted to the news that Germany had invaded the Soviet Union: “If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.” Truman was not called out as a cynic when he spoke these words from the floor of the Senate. On the contrary, when he died in 1972,  Truman’s obituary  in The New York Times cited this statement as establishing his “reputation for decisiveness and courage.”

“This basic attitude,” gushed The Times, “prepared him to adopt from the start of his Presidency, a firm policy,” an attitude that prepared him to order the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with “no qualms.” Truman’s same basic “let them kill as many as possible” attitude also informed the postwar doctrine that bears his name, along with the establishment of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, both of which he is credited with founding.

A February 25 op-ed in The Los Angeles Times by Jeff Rogg, “The CIA has backed Ukrainian insurgents before- Let’s learn from those mistakes,” cites a CIA program to train Ukrainian nationalists as insurgents to fight the Russians that began in 2015 and compares it with a similar effort by Truman’s CIA in Ukraine that began in 1949. By 1950, one year in, “U.S. officers involved in the program knew they were fighting a losing battle…In the first U.S.-backed insurgency, according to top secret documents later declassified, American officials intended to use the Ukrainians as a proxy force to bleed the Soviet Union.” This op-ed cites John Ranelagh, a historian of the CIA, who argued that the program “demonstrated a cold ruthlessness” because the Ukrainian resistance had no hope of success, and so “America was in effect encouraging Ukrainians to go to their deaths.

The “Truman Doctrine” of arming and training insurgents as proxy forces to bleed Russia to the peril of the local populations that it was purporting to defend was used effectively in Afghanistan in the 1970s and ’80s, a program so effective, some of its authors have boasted, that it helped bring down the Soviet Union a decade later. In a 1998 interview, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski explained, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention… We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”

“The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border,” Brzezinski recalled, “I wrote to President Carter, essentially: ‘We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.’ Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”

……………………..   In his LA Times op-ed, Rogg calls the 1949 CIA program in Ukraine a “mistake” and asks the question, “This time, is the primary goal of the paramilitary program to help Ukrainians liberate their country or to weaken Russia over the course of a long insurgency that will undoubtedly cost as many Ukrainian lives as Russian lives, if not more?” Viewed in light of United States foreign policy from Truman to Biden, the early cold war debacle in Ukraine might better be described as a crime than a mistake and Rogg’s question seems rhetorical. 

…………………   Globally, through its armed forces but even more through the CIA and the so-called National Endowment for Democracy, through NATO muscle masquerading as mutual “defense,” in Europe as in Asia, as in Africa, as in the Middle East, as in Latin America, the United States exploits and dishonors the very real aspirations of good people for peace and self-determination. At the same time, it feeds the swamp where violent extremisms like the Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria and Iraq and neo-Nazi nationalism in Ukraine can only fester and flourish and spread.  …………………………………………… https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/03/04/let-them-kill-many-possible-roots-us-militarism-russia-and-around-world

March 21, 2022 - Posted by | politics, Reference, USA, weapons and war

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