We must keep Ukraine off list of failed fights

It reminds me of Bastogne, the Alamo, Thermopylae, and Masada.

Those were battles where defenders were crazily outnumbered, but refused to quit. Like Ukraine today.

President Joe Biden is greeted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in front of photos of Ukraine’s war dead. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

The 101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagles, were surrounded by Nazis in the Belgian town. When the Germans demanded  U.S. surrender or face annihilation, Army Gen. Anthony McAuliffe replied with one word —“Nuts.” (Some believe Army PR cleansed his one-word response, which was something not fit for print.)

Surrounded by an enemy with five times  their number, lacking supplies and ammunition, the paratroopers fought like demons for seven days until Gen. George Patton’s Third Army broke through the Nazi perimeter to enter the town.

The remaining troops were saved.

Not so at the Alamo, Thermopylae, and Masada, where all the defenders died — the Texans against the Mexicans, the Spartans against Persians, the Hebrews against the Romans. 

That is what faces Ukraine today, unless it gets immediate and unqualified support from the West, as detailed in this report by Trudy Rubin, one of many she has done.

She explains the Ukrainians are not merely fighting for their freedom, and their lives, but also for the safety of the West, in the belief that if dictators are not stopped, they keep marching forward until they are.

President Joe Biden slipped into Ukraine a few days ago to assure the nation we will continue to stand by its side. I hope he is right. 

Some Americans do not believe America should continue to support Ukraine. They are in the minority. At least for now.

Their reluctance relies on one of two arguments, or both.

The first is money. The U.S. has sent $48 billion to Ukraine. That is a staggering amount of money, without question. And more is promised.

The second argument is that supporting Ukraine will further inflame Russia, move China to the side of Vladimir Putin, who already has  darkly hinted he will draw the nuclear sword, resulting in World War III and nuclear conflagration. 

Let’s start there, with WWIII.

Is it possible Ukraine can ignite WWIII?

Yes, but what happens if Russia wins? Will peace follow?

To avoid WWII, the world allowed Adolf Hitler’s Germany to annex the Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia, in exchange for peace. It did not bring peace.

In 2014, the world allowed Putin to annex the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, then under corrupt and feckless leaders.

It did not stop Putin from wanting more, and almost a year ago he launched an unprovoked attack on its neighbor.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy predicts if the free world does not stop Putin here, the tiny Baltic states will be next. But Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are members of NATO and an attack on them will be regarded at as attack on all 30  NATO members.

Russia’s aggressive behavior has led Finland — long “neutral” to its huge neighbor — to seek NATO membership for its own protection. They know better than most what Russia is capable of. Long-neutral Sweden also has applied for NATO membership because of Russia’s aggression.

Remember that line from “Dirty Harry,” when Police Inspector Harry Callahan asks a downed suspect if the punk is feeling lucky? I’d ask the same of Putin: Are you feeling lucky when you attack a NATO member?

Yes, Russia sits on a huge nuclear arsenal, but also on the knowledge that the West — if nuclear bombed — will retaliate, which will spell the end to Putin’s dreams of returned Russia glory, not to mention his planned retirement to a friendly country with a billion he has stolen from his country. 

Russia cannot win a war with NATO, and he knows it.

He might be encouraged to roll the dice, however, if he perceives vacillation on the part of the West. If he feels the West is going weak in the knees, or in the pocketbook.

Weakness invites attack, strength deters it.

This is a time for the West to be strong, and to give the Ukrainians anything they need to bring victory. Doling out weapons slowly only extends the conflict.

That brings up issue 1 — money.

My feeling is that we can spend it now, to stop Putin here, or later, when he encroaches on Latvia or Poland. 

Some people opposed to the war try to support their case against sending money to Ukraine by asking why don’t we send money to East Palestine, Ohio?

First, who says we won’t? Second, let the relief money come from the railroad company that caused the disaster.

That whole argument is a deflection. Why not spend the money we send to Ukraine on cancer research? Any number of hypotheticals can be plucked from the air.

Ukraine is fighting for its life, and I have a word for Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who actually says Ukraine started the war, and who also believes the U.S. is currently at “war.” Carlson knows the price of everything, the value of nothing, and is a skilled propagandist who is on the wrong side of history.

Tuesday night, reviewing speeches made earlier in the day, the craven cur Carlson actually took Putin’s version of events over Biden’s. Putin said the West started the war, and useful idiot Carlson believed him.

He derisively calls others “neo-cons.” What could be more “neo” than a conservative who does not treasure freedom — for everyone? Carlson and other creeps keep saying Zelenskyy makes “demands” for weapons. In fact, he makes requests, and shows gratitude for what he gets, even as Ukraine fights for its life.

He has never left his capital, even as missiles rain on schools and hospitals, even as civilians shiver in freezing basements lit by flickering candles. Russia is targeting civilians. There is no doubt Russia is committing war crimes.

Murder, torture, rape, kidnapping are Putin’s legacy. We must not let up. Ukraine asks not for our soldiers, just for the material to defend itself. Their stand is heroic, there is no other word for it.

Russia started the war, and we are supporting the victim of aggression with arms and other supplies, as we should.

American arms and dollars can be replaced over time.

Ukraine’s humanity can’t be replaced.

We must not allow Ukraine to become the Alamo, Masada, or Thermopylae.

19 thoughts on “We must keep Ukraine off list of failed fights”

  1. You’ll get no argument here. You are so spot on. Perhaps we will finally heed the lessons of history on appeasement.

  2. NATO should have put I it foot down when Russian troops were being built up on the border over a year ago. There would not have been a war. All of these lives lost both Russian and Ukrainian because Biden and NATO showed weakness. Biden learned nothing from Obama’s mistakes.

      1. Are you that dense that you can’t see that the world and the country are in chaos since Biden became president.

    1. The problem with NATO drawing a “red line” then is that Ukraine is not a member. I think it could have made more noise, and ditto to Russia’s grab of Ukraine, which paved the way to the current aggression. And if Ukraine loses here, we can count on more aggression. We know who Putin is.

      1. Biden and NATO ARE going at it half assed. And the Europeans are not stepping up as usual with their contributions even though the fight is in their backyard.

  3. Remember the TV ad whose tag line was “Pay me now, or pay me later”? That’s exactly what needs to be said regarding Ukraine, and Russia, and what’s at issue for the world. And you said it, Stu. Bravo.

  4. Excellent reference to history in this case, especially the murderer Hitler taking the Sudetenland. This is an excellent article.

  5. Awesome column, Stu. I wholeheartedly believe that Ukraine needs all the firepower it can get to defeat that Tsar wannabe.
    Good job on bringing up the Sudatenland.

  6. SPOT ON STU! I hope our elected officials see this reality and act to legislate accordingly!

  7. Well done, my friend. Well reasoned, well written–beginning to end.
    I particularly appreciate your calling out Tucker Carlson for what he
    is, in addition to being a scowling, squeaky-voiced moron.

  8. We have the responsibility to support them, my question is the amount of money being spent without any accountability or approval from our elected representatives.

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