“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.’”

— THOMAS PAINE
March 2022

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No Sympathy for the Devil

Matthew’s Gospel tells the story of King Herod of Judea and the Massacre of the Innocents. Herod ordered the murder of all males younger than age two. Why? Because he felt threatened by stories of the birth of the Messiah. Because he wanted to! Hitler did something like that when he ordered the massacre of more than 33,000 Ukrainian Jews at Babi Yar. Civilians!

Putin has tried his hand at mass murder before, in Chechnya and more recently in Syria. And now he’s doing it in the Ukraine. How can it be that we watch these crimes on television, and the heroism of the Ukrainian people resisting it, without a vigorous lethal response? Yes, we are spanking Putin with powerful economic sanctions undertaken by an extraordinary alliance. But it might be slow to work, while innocent children and their families are murdered every day. Must there be a martyr nation created before civilization acts to require lawful conduct?

We spend more than $700 billion per year on defense. Why bother? We are supportive members of the United Nations, which impotently watches Russia grab a neighboring country without cause. It was created for situations just like this and it is failing. Who needs it?

In December 1994, when Bill Clinton was President, the US, Russia and Britain conned the Ukraine into surrendering its nuclear arsenal, some 1,900 warheads, the third largest in the world, and in exchange promised and guaranteed the sanctity of its borders. Today we hear little of those promises and hear instead about article 5 and NATO’s boundaries. But nothing in NATO membership precludes action in a situation where a free and democratic non-member country is wantonly attacked. In the Budapest Memorandum we did not promise to use our military power to guarantee Ukraine’s boundaries, but neither did we promise not to.

What is wrong with us? We fear Putin’s use of nuclear weapons, of course we do. He may be just crazy enough to try using them, and his generals might not stop him. But the deterrent threat of mutually assured destruction has not been repealed. Putin has now attacked Europe’s largest nuclear plant after a pit stop in Chernobyl. The world watches. While the fear of nuclear war glues the world to the sidelines, this lunatic may go nuclear anyway. He is already indiscriminately bombing residential areas. We owe it to Ukraine to intervene before he blows up more schools and civilians.

His stealth assassins have attempted to kill Zelensky three times this week. These attempts have been foiled because Russians who disagree with Putin have leaked intelligence to Ukraine. Here is a 40-something year old Jewish comedian turned president who has more moxie than the heads of the UN combined. He has asked for help, spelled out how to aid him, and he deserves it. Whatever it takes….

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