“You might as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” ― William Tecumseh Sherman
Doing this is hard sometimes.
When I started The Not Fake News, I set some ground rules. One of them is to always tell the truth as I see it, however painful that might be and without regard to the number of readers it will cost us. From time to time, that truth is harder to write about than not. This is one of those times.
Because the truth is that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has won his war. And we lost.
The Nazis of the Second World War are reviled, and rightly, for their crimes; the Holocaust comes to mind. One might sympathize with an underdog country, afflicted with crippling poverty, seeking to recover their lost national pride — but never a government philosophy that burns books, stifles thought and expression, and slaughters their own citizens wholesale. Italian fascist militarism was barbaric; German Naziism was inhuman.
If there are Nazis in Ukraine, it’s worth our time to examine and our attention if it’s true.
Surrounding every conflict are rumors, innuendo, and error — and that’s not even considering deliberate disinformation along the lines of what we’re now seeing in the Ukraine conflict. Putin is a past master at this; leading up to the war were so many denials that it was going to happen, announcements of withdrawal, and so on that, for many of us, the waters were effectively muddied. And Zelensky himself is a consummate performer, a trained and experienced actor playing the greatest role of all time.
So what’s real, and what’s not? What’s worth worrying about and what’s worth forgetting? Above all: What’s about to happen?
It’s the new hit hashtag: #StandWithUkraine. People putting up blue-and-yellow flags.
Which means what, exactly?
Seems to me, it’s nothing more than an atheist’s version of “sending thoughts and prayers” — which is nothing. There’s not even the chance of a friendly deity intervening. It’s just an excuse to buy a militant tee shirt.
“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
– Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, from “The Gulag Archipelago”
Today, again, we stand on the brink of global war. Its spectre is never far from us; for all that our nations are inextricably intertwined by the bonds of commerce, natural resources never increase, and there will always be a country that wants what another has. There will always come a generation that doesn’t remember how terrible war can be, and that dreams of glory.
“There are two things I know to be true: There’s no difference between good flan and bad flan, and there is no war.” – C.I.A. Agent Mr. Young, “Wag The Dog” (image courtesy New Line Cinemas)
So if you haven’t seen the movie “Wag The Dog”, watch the movie. And I’m not just telling you that in order to dodge a “Take It Down” notice; frankly, I doubt any studio would waste the effort on the likes of me. Rather, it will inform you about what’s not going on in Ukraine right now.
It’s highly unusual for a new president to address Congress within his first year, much less his first hundred days. With a near-deserted hall (thanks to COVID) in a fortified building surrounded by heavily armed riot police and not a few National Guardsmen, tonight’s address made history in several ways.
What wasn’t unusual was the content. Although it was delivered in an almost informal, folksy style, we heard exactly what we expected to. The tone was optimistic, and the message was clear: Biden laid out his agenda for the coming months, and he expects to make it happen. How, exactly, is another question entirely.
The entire point of calling this “The Not Fake News” is to address commonly held misconceptions wherever they exist — “commonly held” because there’s no benefit to disproving something nobody believes in anyway, and “misconceptions” because there’s already a huge chorus of media outlets all voicing the same truths, so who needs one more?
In the past, people were obliging enough to present memes that could easily be demonstrated as false. However, now that our social media corporations are taking those down almost as quickly as they go up, it’s difficult to capture one long enough to dissect it, much less to spread the actual truth behind the meme. The danger of this is that rumors are started by that first glimpse, but without permanence there’s no space for discussion or disproof. Even the original poster won’t be sure what it was they started off trying to say.