Monday, March 21, 2022

A tragedy in Ukraine | READER COMMENTARY

Monday, March 21, 2022 These letters appeared in the SUN today 


A tragedy in Ukraine | READER COMMENTARY

For The Baltimore Sun

Mar 18, 2022 at 5:32 am

Relatives and friends attend a funeral ceremony for four of the Ukrainian military servicemen, who were killed during an airstrike in a military base in Yarokiv, in a church in Lviv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. At least 35 people were killed and many wounded in Sunday's Russian missile strike on a military training base near Ukraine's western border with NATO member Poland. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Here’s what Biden should be telling Americans about Ukraine

Here is the simple speech that President Biden should be giving right now (”How Marylanders can help Ukrainians fleeing Russian brutality,” March 9):

The reason that Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine is that Ukraine, a free country, has been on a path to become very successful, both politically and economically. Ukraine directly borders on Russia which, under Mr. Putin’s leadership can never be free or successful. This contrast would, in time, become very evident to the Russian people who, Mr. Putin fears, would eventually lay the blame on him. So, to not invade Ukraine now would ultimately threaten Mr. Putin’s hold on power.

The Ukrainians have put up a tremendous fight for their liberty, but Russia has a much bigger army. Mr. Putin had hoped that it would be a quick and relatively easy takeover. But it hasn’t been, and it now looks possible that with a moderate amount of equipment supply and a moderate amount of air cover, the Ukranians can hold on in parts of their country indefinitely.

The free countries have, in response to the invasion, applied strong economic sanctions to Russia. Mr. Putin will be determined to withstand these sanctions, however painful they may be, no matter how much they put Russia to disadvantage or impoverish its people. He believes that eventually the sanctions can be tolerated, weakened or eluded. His calculation is that all he needs to do now is overrun Ukraine and then wait out the sanctions.

Mr. Putin believes that apart from sanctions, the free nations are unlikely to meaningfully come to Ukraine’s aid, so fearful are they of a larger war or a nuclear war. Consequently, he threatens any nation considering to aid Ukraine militarily with both of those things.

The United States of America, and free nations everywhere learned in 1938 that they cannot permit themselves to be intimidated by such threatening behavior. The cause of the Ukrainians is just. The cause of Mr. Putin’s government is heinous and evil. At a minimum, the city of Kyiv must have a clear route for people, and supplies and food, kept open to it indefinitely.

I am announcing today that effective immediately it will be the objective of the United States to help provide this route and these services to the people of Ukraine. Just to be clear, attempts by the Putin government to interfere with the flow of people or supplies along this route will be met with such means as the United States and other liberty-loving countries will deem necessary.

— Jack Wickham, Glen Arm

Intervene to stop this tragedy

Unwilling to provoke Vladimir Putin, we stand back and watch on TV as the bombs rain down on Ukranian cities (“Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to deliver virtual address to Congress,” March 14). We seize Russian yachts as the Ukranians bury their dead in mass graves. I wish to ask the leaders of the world’s greatest military power to intervene to stop this tragedy.

— John Murphy, Baltimore

What is Putin’s endgame?

As I opened up the newspaper I saw “Russian bombs hit maternity hospital” and later “Besieged Mariupol buries dead in mass grave” (The Baltimore Sun, March 10). My local newspaper is fulfilling its job of providing the fine details of Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression. Other media outlets and online platforms are also getting out photographs and interviews with those who are victims of a massive bombing campaign.

These awful images of the carnage by the invading forces are sickening to watch. These atrocities have motivated those of us in Baltimore’s peace and justice movement to demand an end to the ultraviolence. And there are protesters around the world, including in Russia, who are saying “no” to war.

I was naive to think that Mr. Putin would not invade Ukraine. Now I am unclear: What is his endgame? Will he just take over Ukraine, or will he next attack Poland? He has threatened to use nuclear weapons, and his forces are involved in possible attacks on Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. There could be a nuclear catastrophe. Mr. Putin was responsible for the overwhelming destruction of Grozny in 1999-2000, as well as the annihilation of Aleppo in 2016. Surely, he does not plan to reduce many of Ukraine’s cities to rubble? Or does he?

— Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

Nuclear deterrence does not require costly modernization

Patty-Jane Geller’s column today (“US must take Putin’s nuclear threat seriously,” March 11) is a study in how think tanks and war profiteering are two sides of the same coin. The essence of her argument is that Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats now require us to spend more money modernizing our nuclear arsenal.

The only hope for humanity in the long run is that nuclear arsenals will disappear. Fifty-six nations have now signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and have pledged never to possess them. Both Russia and the U.S. should sign the treaty, but they have not.

Nevertheless, nuclear deterrence does not require costly modernization. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has clearly stated, for example, that “the United States can safely phase out its land-based … force.” The U.S. has sufficient air- and submarine-based warheads to deter any rational opponent from using nuclear weapons.

Weapons-makers and fossil fuel companies love this Ukraine war and want to goad the U.S. into more and more entrapment in the very types of endeavors that give Russia leverage to initiate its attack. The weapons-makers want NATO expansion — the drastic geopolitical mistake that has precipitated this crisis. They probably also want to throw gasoline onto the fire by adding U.S. troops into the mix. If the world had made its transition to renewable energy sources, Russia’s leverage to invade would have been minimized.

I’m a retired citizen and not on anyone’s payroll. Ms. Geller works for the Heritage Foundation, which is not required to declare all its funding sources.

— Charlie Cooper, Baltimore

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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