Putin’s Atrocities

If any Spirited Reasoners had any questions about the moral depravity of recent atrocities by Russia’s military invaders in Ukraine, one image from last night’s news should settle the argument. It was a photo of the stem of one of the rockets used to destroy the train station in Kramatorsk, where at least 50 people were killed and 98 injured, including families with small children. The lettering, in Russian, on the side of the rocket read as follows: “For the Children.”

Aside from the horrific nature of that statement, and that attack, Spirited Reasoners observe two salient points. The first is that the Ukraine’s military must have the Russian tank officers so frightened of Javelin missiles that they have decided to resort to long range rockets to make their point. And the second is that the senders of these rockets not only know full well the civilian consequences of their attacks, but they also revel in the barbarity.

How can average Russian citizens tolerate such behavior by their leaders? The answer is fairly simple. They don’t know it is happening. Their leaders use the media to lie to their constituents. (One need only watch Fox News to see nightly examples of how this works.) At some point, though, the truth will dawn on them. The only question is how long it will take before they see it.

All these atrocities have accomplished is to render any negotiated settlement untenable. How could the Ukrainian people ever settle for an agreement whereby this type of behavior is forgotten or ignored? By demonstrating their utter disregard for the sanctity of human life, Russia’s political and military leaders have now forced Ukrainian leaders to a single logical conclusion: the only satisfactory ending to this conflict is a decisive victory by Ukraine.

Speaking recently to a crowd of his disciples, former President Donald Trump’s reaction to all this was to opine that President Putin had “overplayed his hand.” We take that to mean that he might have considered such atrocities as okay if the Russian military had been more successful.

Before Putin’s invasion, Spirited Reasoners might have debated the pros and cons of drawing different boundary lines on Ukraine’s eastern side, if only to satisfy the desires of Russian-oriented rebels. After witnessing these atrocities, however, we cannot justify any settlement that could be viewed as rewarding such behavior.

If he succeeds, President Putin will not be satisfied with only Ukraine. Like Adolf Hitler after invading Poland, Putin’s eyes will be toward further expansion. We must therefore all stand together for Ukraine. Not just for their sakes, but for our own.