Starting with a Tweet from Ajamu Baraka:
On the issue of Russia, WSWS has published a letter David North (Chair of the Interntational Editorial Board of the WSWS) wrote to a friend in Russia. Excerpt:
As the war continues, it becomes increasinly evident that the fate of Ukraine is of significance to the United States only within the context of its expanding struggle for global hegemony. The Biden administration instigated the war, driving Putin — who up until the last minute hoped that he could persuade his “Western Partners” to make reasonable concessions to the Russian state’s “national security” — into a poorly prepared (both from a military and political standpoint) war. What is surprising is that Putin and his military command appear not to have fully grasped the extent to which NATO had armed and trained Ukraine’s military. But this failure of their intelligence services is rooted in the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was based on wildly unrealistic, almost childishly naïve, conceptions of the imperialist system. While repudiating all association with Marxism, the Kremlin retained its faith in the possibility of “peaceful coexistence” with its Western Partners. Putin, shortly before ordering the invasion, complained pathetically that Russia had been “played” by the West.
Moreover, it is apparent that Russia — after having failed to pressure the West — did not have a clear strategic plan. What, exactly, is Putin trying to achieve? The military operation — at least in its initial stages — has been a disaster. It seems to consist of a series of reactions improvised in response to unexpected difficulties. The loss of seven generals in the opening weeks of the war is evidence of a staggering level of incompetence. Putin, who draws his inspiration from Imperial Russia, seems to be no more competent as a war leader than Nicholas II.
The American and European governments and media are denouncing Russian brutality. We are not at all inclined to minimize, let alone deny, the devastating impact of the war on the Ukrainian masses. But the US-NATO denunciations of Russia are shot through with hypocrisy. The Russian invasion did not begin with “shock and awe,” i.e., the type of massive bombing that the United States unleashed against Baghdad in 1991 and, even worse, in 2003. If the Pentagon had launched the war against Ukraine, Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities would have been more or less destroyed on the first day of the war.
Of course, this does not justify Putin’s invasion, which is a desperate and essentially reactionary response to the relentless and intensifying pressure exerted by the US and NATO upon Russia. The politically weak Russian bourgeoisie, which still lacks a substantial base for its rule, is trying to counteract this pressure through limited military actions. But this strategy, based on the conventional logic of bourgeois nation-state geopolitics, is strategically ineffective, tactically disastrous, and politically bankrupt. The latter aspect was exposed most clearly in the speech with which Putin initiated the invasion.
Wars continue around the world. They don't get a moment of silence on the Academy Awards. US troops remain in Iraq. WCBS reports on one US servicemember who just returned to the US:
Sgt. Jake Pletsch had been stationed in Iraq since March 2021, but he got home a month earlier than expected.
His sister and staff at George White Middle School in Hillsdale staged a “Lost and Found Day.”
Most of their fellow believers around the world scarcely know they exist. But once you meet the Christians of the Nineveh Plains of northern Iraq, you will not forget them.
“Francis in Iraq,” a new documentary by Stephen Rasche about Pope Francis’ historic visit to the country on March 5-8, 2021, provides a memorable introduction.
It took courage, and no little amount of trust in God’s providence, for the then-84–year pontiff to undertake such a taxing journey, coming as it did amid a still-perilous pandemic and legitimate concerns for his security and health.
No pope had ever visited Iraq. Pope John Paul II hoped to do so, but was never able to go. Francis seized the opportunity, calling the trip “a duty to the land that has been martyred for so many years.”
Though there is plenty of footage from his visit, the film’s title, it bears noting, is something of a tease. That’s because the real protagonist isn’t the pope; it’s the long-suffering people he came to see.
[. . .]
It is November 2016. Just days before, Islamic State fighters were driven off after a fierce battle that has reduced to rubble Al Mekko’s village of Karamless, located less than 20 miles southeast of Mosul, the center point of the crescent-shaped Nineveh Plains region. The damage we see is so severe, it is difficult to imagine that anything but a quarry ever existed in this place, or ever would again.
Wending his way through the ruins, Al Mekko arrives at what remains of his parish, St. Addai Church. Waiting for him in front of the altar is a statue of the Blessed Mother, standing upright, its head decapitated and hands severed. The unspoken message of this surgical desecration is rendered more explicitly by some ISIS graffiti, left in a Catholic church in another town, Batnaya, whose own statue of Mary has met with an identical fate.
“Oh you slaves of the cross, there is no place for you in the land of Islam,” the graffiti said, in German. “Either get out of here or we will kill you.”
No moment of silence at the Academy Awards for them. No real coverage from western news for them.
The following sites updated: