“Cry for me Ukrainia”

Posted 3/16/22

To the Editor,

“Most Americans can’t take the reality of war, and the reports sent back by [media people] don’t help”. So writes Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in his autobiography …

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“Cry for me Ukrainia”


To the Editor,

“Most Americans can’t take the reality of war, and the reports sent back by [media people] don’t help”. So writes Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in his autobiography “American Sniper”. Kyle did four tours in Iraq and is regarded as the most lethal sniper in American military history.

Today we are seeing the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in real time from the viewpoint of the recipients of modern weaponry and are shocked when hospitals and schools are hit and civilians killed and wounded.

In February 1945 our 8th Army Air Force, led by British allies under Gen. “Bomber” Harris, firebombed the German city of Dresden that had no military significance. Most of the 25,000 civilians who died were hiding in air raid shelters where they roasted to death from the firestorms raging above.

Not to be outdone, the 20th Army Air Force firebombed Japanese cities until its commander, Gen. Curtis LeMay, complained they were running out of targets. On the night of March 9-10, 1945 we incinerated more than 100,000 children, women and men in eastern Tokyo. The casualties exceeded those of the atomic bomb attacks six months later

In our invasion of Iraq in 2003 we saw “Shock and Awe” from the attacker’s point of view. During the first three weeks of the air campaign 6,700 civilians were killed.

Cable news talking heads are practically hysterical in calling for a “no fly zone’ over Ukraine. They offer no clue where the planes enforcing the zone would fly from or whether American aircrew would be involved. Questions unanswered include what would happen when a Russian surface to air missile located in Belarus or Mother Russia downs a NATO aircraft or when a Russian fighter/bomber or attack helicopter is shot down by NATO.

One of these blowhards said we should send A-10 ground attack aircraft with “volunteer” pilots to destroy a 40-mile long convoy of Russian vehicles supposedly stalled on a highway. How this would not be considered an act of war by Vladimir Putin is unanswered as well as what our response would be if an A-10 is shot down and its pilot captured.

Why has Putin invaded Ukraine? In 1992 U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised USSR President Boris Yeltsin that, in exchange for the reunification of Germany, NATO would not expand eastward. Instead, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, one-by-one the nations of the Warsaw Pact, Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, have joined NATO edging up to the border of Russia.

American-backed NATO was formed during the Cold War to counter the military threat from the Warsaw Pact with Russia. It should have been dissolved with the breakup of the Soviet Union but like any other bureaucracy has taken on a life of its own.

In 2014, the U.S. covertly funded $20 billion to overthrow the democratically-elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, because he refused to enter the European Union. His replacement is the much-adored Volodymyr Zelensky.

Before the invasion the Ukrainian government was widely-regarded as one of the most corrupt. Those calling for the U.S. to send more high-tech Javelin and Carl Gustav anti-tank weapons and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles ignore what happens when hostilities cease and either Russia or Ukraine ends up with the leftovers. What if they end up in the hands of Islamic terrorists?

Let me pose the question of what the U.S. would do if, say, Mexico entered into a treaty with Russia allowing them to conduct war games on our southern border. Some of us remember our reaction when Russia was placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba in 1962. We went to the brink of nuclear war.

Richard J. August

North Kingstown



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