Ukraine: Baggers and War

Consensus is settling on the belief that Malaysia Airlines 17 was brought down by Russian-backed Ukranian insurgents who believed it to be a Ukrainian military cargo jet. This audio tape is the chief evidence:

After more thorough investigation we may yet learn that something or someone else was responsible for the 298 deaths. However, the Guardian is reporting that the insurgents are destroying evidence.

About the insurgents: David Remnnick describes one separatist leader at the New Yorker:

A wildly messianic nationalist who cultivates an air of lumpy intrigue, [Igor] Strelkov has found his way to the battlefields of Chechnya, Serbia, and Transnistria. He is now helping to run the separatist operation in Donetsk. Like the radical nationalists and neo-imperialists in Moscow, who have easy access to the airwaves these days, Strelkov has a singular point of disagreement with Putin: the Russian President hasn’t gone nearly far enough; he has failed to invade and annex “Novorossiya,” the separatist term for eastern Ukraine. Pavlovsky said that people like Strelkov and his Moscow allies are as delusional as they are dangerous, somehow believing that they are taking part in grand historical dramas, like the Battle of Borodino, in 1812, or “the novels of Tolkien.”

“Strelkov is well known for leading historical reënactments of Russian military battles, like you have in the States with the Civil War reënactors,” Pavlovsky said. “It used to be a fantasy world for people like him, but now they have a realm for their imaginations.”

In other words, they’re the Russian equivalent of the Cliven Bundy militia, armed with surface-to-air missiles. Josh Marshall wrote,

So that’s who you’re dealing with: some mix of civil war reenactor or Tea Partier decked out in revolutionary garb, with a mix of reckless aggression and comical incompetence. Here we have them break into nursing homes to photographs senator’s comatose wives; there Putin gives them heavy armaments designed for full scale land war in Europe.

I feel compelled to add that not all Civil War reenactors are that delusional. But you get the idea. See also Dylan Scott, This Is The Feared Russia-Born Separatist Who Allegedly Boasted Of Downing An Airplane.

There are a number of articles out today about why Putin is doing this. In brief, beside the fact that his ego is bigger than Russia, he’s also got ideas about nationalism that should have been left behind in the 19th century. His games in Ukraine also appear to have boosted his approval ratings among Russians.

And of course, on the GOP/Bagger American Right, the plane crashed because Obama.

14 thoughts on “Ukraine: Baggers and War

  1. As you all know, I’m half Ukrainian and about half Russian – there’s a bit of German on the Russian side: My mother’s mother.

    Since Putin first got in office, my Ukrainian half feared him.

    Now, my Ukrainian half doesn’t much like my Russian half.

    I’d use the word “hate,” but that’s usually how we get into these stupid and pointless arguments and wars.

    I’m of both cultures, so I know how much hatred there is.
    My parents are a fairly rare combo – most Ukrainian men wouldn’t marry a Russian woman.

    Back when I was a bartender in a Ukrainian bar on 2nd Ave in the early 80’s, I had a Ukrainian girlfriend whose parents refused to meet me because I’m half Russian.

    The battle between Ukraine and Russia goes back centuries.
    The Soviets did everything they could to fully annex Ukraine, and Russify it.
    Ukrainian couldn’t be spoken in public. Kids weren’t allowed to formally learn the language and cultural differences.
    And, when the USSR fell, Ukrainians probably celebrated as hard as anyone in any other country – if not even more.
    Plus, when it fell, Ukrainians felt uber-nationalistic – since they weren’t allowed to feel nationalistic for about 70 years, naturally, they went overboard with it. And the Russians hated that! It made their fall even more bitter.
    Religion enters into this hatred, naturally. A lot of Eastern Ukraine is Russian Orthodox, while the Western part, is Catholic – or, Byzantine Catholic.

    Why Putin did what he did, to me, is understandable: Sure, his ego’s monstrous, but he also knows what the Russian people’s “G-spot” is – Russian uber-nationalism! And he’s stoking the Russian people’s patriotic flames (Think Cheney and Bush).
    Let’s hope we don’t all go down in their patriotic flames.
    Or anyone else’s either, for that matter…

    What a mess!

  2. And of course, on the GOP/Bagger American Right, the plane crashed because Obama.

    Sometime during the Clinton years, when I first came to grips with right wing madness, I made up this joke:

    [Pointing to sky, with serious demeanor] “If there’s a cloud in the sky, Clinton put it there.”

    [Pointing to other person’s shoes] “If your shoelaces become untied, Clinton did that too.”

  3. I am married to a Russian woman – I could not agree more with Gulag’s assessment. Once Ukrainian nationalized this year, they wanted to ban the Russian language, which was not-too-subtle code for get even with all Russian blood in Ukraine. This is an ugly civil war with blame on both sides. Unfortunately, Putin put SAMs in the hands of idiots.

    Of course this week, Israel is using advanced weapons stamped, ‘Made in the USA’ on women and children in retribution. A huge chunk of what’s called ‘foreign aid’ is little more than coupon books that can only be redeemed for US made weapons. We will hold Russia ‘responsible’ and we should, but we will ignore the civilian carnage of US weapons we provided to fools.

  4. The “great game” is what compels “us” to get involved in civil wars based on centuries old tribal rivalries. For whatever political advantage it gives over our rivals. And speaking of egos, what about ours, as embodied in our exceptional exceptionalism that blinds us to the fact that, if these conflicts haven’t been resolved in centuries, how is our involvement going to do it?

    Putin is doing the same thing; he arms his proxies as we arm ours. Drumming up the messaging to paint Putin as the only bad guy maybe works from a certain perspective, but clearly, there are few if any “good” actors in this entire mess. The “legitimate Ukrainian government was how you would have described the democratically elected government in power before the game of “he’s killing his own people” was started to cover up the fact that we were siding with those fomenting a coup, because they were against those who were supported by our rival.

    The US will be a great nation when it pulls away from this deadly gamesmanship and truly works for peace in the world.

  5. The US will be a great nation when it pulls away from this deadly gamesmanship and truly works for peace in the world.

    That’s true, but we’re to heavily invested in the military industrial complex and the sale of arms. So I don’t see the prospect of any genuine attempts to truly work for world peace. We fuel conflicts with the sale of arms.

  6. “I feel compelled to add that not all Civil War reenactors are that delusional”

    Really? Hey we all have our hobbies some stranger than others but to me reenacting war is just plain weird. It glorifies war it adds a sense of nostalgia and romanticism to an often pointless and brutal exercise that mankind seems to put itself through on a regular basis? Hey I have an idea lets all reenact the great Bhopal gas tragedy?

    I’ve been watching RT for a different perspective on the MH17 tragedy, what I have learned is Putin and Rupert Murdoch must be buddies, because RT is the Russian version of FAUX. They are none too subtly shilling and dispensing pro Russian propaganda, reminiscent of the good old days when the bobbleheads at FAUX were (and still are) propping up Bu$hco after it became apparent the IRAQ war was a sham. Meanwhile our media seems to making a lot of hay due to the fact that the anti-aircraft missiles were Russian made so Russia must be responsible, which sounds resonable. Funny though no similar linkage is implied about the American made fighter jets, Smart Bombs, Artillery rounds, etc that have killed over 350 Palestinians in Gaza? Yes the one constant in these troubled times is good old fashion corrupt media!

  7. RT is the Russian version of FAUX.

    Interesting. I keep reading now and then of some talking head on RT who quits, because they can’t take the bs any more.

    …the anti-aircraft missiles were Russian made so Russia must be responsible, which sounds resonable.

    Not only that, but according to this, the people who fired the missiles had to have had extensive training. Bringing down a jet aircraft flying at 500 mph at 32,000 feet, with 1972 technology, on your first shot, is a lot harder than lobbing grenades at some hovering helicopter a few hundred feet overhead. It’s hard for me to believe that anybody but the Russians could’ve done it.

    The US will be a great nation when it pulls away from this deadly gamesmanship and truly works for peace in the world.

    That is the life work of all of us in this country. What I fear is that the whole right wing sickness is going to have to fully surface and expose itself, and cause a lot of damage, before the healing can really begin.

  8. Some Hope:

    …Late last week, the Reason Foundation released the results of a poll about that generation, the millennials; its signature finding was the confirmation of a mass abandonment of social conservatism and the GOP. This comes at a time when the conservative movement is increasingly synonymous with mean-spirited, prank-like and combative activism, and self-important grand gestures. The millennial generation has repeatedly defined itself as the most socially tolerant of the modern era, but one thing it really can’t stand is drama.

    Republicans were already destined for piecemeal decimation due to the declining numbers of their core constituency. But they don’t just have a demographic problem anymore; they have stylistic one. The conservative strategy of outrage upon outrage upon outrage bumps up against the policy preferences and the attitudes of millennials in perfect discord…

  9. moonbat,
    You mean I’m not the only one who can’t stand the mixed Republican Arts of Kabuki, Not-poetry Slam, and Theatre of the Absurd?

    Oh well, I may be 56, but I’m still a teenager at heart.

    If I didn’t want to get cremated, here’s what I’d want on my gravestone:
    I may have gotten old, but didn’t have to mature! :-)”

  10. “It’s hard for me to believe that anybody but the Russians could’ve done it.”

    That’s an awfully slim reed there. All of these systems work on generally the same principle, which means that its a stretch to assume that only a “Russian” could have operated it. Besides the fact that Eastern Ukrainians are not morons, not to mention that they are culturally Russian themselves.

    The other thing is, this may not have been the work of a technical genius, given that they shot down a passenger plane, which doesn’t appear to have been the intent. Whoever did this was unable to determine if the plane was military or not, and from any perspective, this was a massive screw up.

    And yeah, by this logic, imagine all the devastation the US is responsible for then, given all the death and destruction that has been caused by US made weaponry. But the narrative is that you are “hatin’ American” to even make that observation based on the same analogy as is applied to Russia and Russian made weapons in the hands of “separatists.”

    • I think that assuming the U.S. is always behind everything bad is just a variation of believing the U.S. can’t do anything wrong. It’s the two sides of the same delusional coin.

      Even assuming some Great Game is being played, and even assuming there were black ops on the ground pretending to be Ukrainian separatists, I see absolutely no advantage to the U.S. in arranging to down a Malaysian passenger jet. Surely there are less risky ways of making Vlad the Putin look bad. Certainly a war in the Ukraine is about the last thing the Administration needs right now.

      On the other hand, given the audiotapes and given their subsequent behavior, the actual separatists (who, you know, actually exist and actually have a big bleeping issue with an independent Ukraine; not everything is about America) are very plausible suspects. Sometimes the obvious answer is the right one. Granted, investigation may turn up something that changes the picture. I’m just saying that I hate knee jerking in all its forms.

  11. That’s an awfully slim reed there.

    All I’m going on is that it took a lot of training to successfully operate the missile launcher. Either a Russian team did it, or someone they trained.

  12. “you all know, I’m half Ukrainian and about half Russian”

    Gulag, would you please stop bombing yourself before you start a dag gum world war!

  13. My point in my last post was essentially, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, not that the this was a black ops, false flag situation.

    All I am saying is, if we are going to pre-judge the situation based on the evidence we have today, e.g. these are Russian weapons, then the same judgement would have to be rendered anytime something bad happens in the world and US made weapons were used.

    That’s the slim reed I am referring to.

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