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When You Give Bush/Cheney a Pass, You Can't Lecture Putin

Pat LaMarche

Russia's Federation Council believes sending forces to the Ukraine will help "stabilize" that country and has voted unanimously to allow President Putin to do just that. President Obama's not pleased. Seems the U.S. president doesn't believe that boots on the ground have a stabilizing effect. It seems President Obama sees this act of aggression as nothing more than a territorial power grab and as such, has condemned the action.

President Obama has even promised "costs" for military action by Russia in the Ukraine. The problem is, the United States of America lacks the moral high ground necessary to lecture Russian officials about wars of invasion. With any luck, this means the U.S. will just sit back and watch while Russians start pouring Coke products into the sewers and rejecting the Big Mac. Seems those are the types of consequences the U.S. heaped on the rest of the world when they condemned the 2003 invasion of Iraq: French wine in the sewers and freedom fries for all!

And while the rest of the world continued to condemn American intervention until nearly every sentient American caught on, nobody, not even the Russians punished the U.S. in any meaningful way for the war crime of a non-provoked invasion in the Middle East.

It appears President Putin read his Mideast history book though, because he used U.S. foreign policy rhetoric against President Obama. President Putin pushed back on President Obama explaining that Russia has a right to protect its "interests in the region." After all, the Ukraine has weapons of mass destruction—or at least the material necessary to create them—and no self-respecting demagogue could allow a bunch of small-time non-superpower autonomous people to assure the safety of the world.

Democracy: It's really way too quaint for common folks who don't understand the potential for harm when they start all that adorable self-governing.

Honestly, if the Canadian government collapsed and the new leadership started waffling and wavering on where their allegiances lay—looking to President Putin for help, for example—is it all that hard to believe that imminent warnings wouldn't be issued to Congress and the American people that Canadian nuclear power plants and airports could be overtaken by Al-Qaeda and the U.S. must move in to "help" stabilize the situation while those charming Canadians get their act together?

President Obama has forgotten his U.S. history if he forgets our actions in Chile, Guatemala or at Wounded Knee. But surely he remembers the events of his own tenure as president of the United States. President Obama—currently outraged by Russia's criminal invasion of Ukraine—sought no justice for the criminal invasion of Iraq perpetrated by his predecessors.

While Pres. Obama clearly sees potential blood on President Putin's hands, he's blind to the gore drenched hands of President Bush. While President Obama believes President Putin should be sanctioned for his and his Federation's actions, he sees no need to demand payment from Vice President Cheney or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. While President Obama rattles super power-sized sabers that frighten by-standing nations and individuals all across the globe, he doesn't see that he has lost all moral footing from which to demand decency by any other would be invader.

If President Obama would like to lecture President Putin on the evils of invasion then he must direct Attorney General Holder to issue arrest warrants for his invading predecessors. If President Obama lacks the stomach to seek justice at home, he's ill-equipped to wag his overly powerful finger in anyone else's direction. Because when you ignore the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the lies told to the American people to wage a war of invasion, the crippling of the U.S. economy and the death and devastation of your own military personnel, you don't stand qualified to criticize aggression in others, you set precedence for it.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche is an author, activist and advocate. She is the author of "Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States" (Updated, 2020).  Her novel, "The Magic Diary" (2019) is now available.


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