Pity the Nation

Fact-based arguments Scott Ritter made challenging the case for war against Iraq were effectively silenced. Today he sees the same template in play towards anyone challenging the dogma of “Putinism.”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 2012. (Cmichel67 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Pity the Nation

Pity the nation whose people are sheep

And whose shepherds mislead them…

Pity the nation oh pity the people

Who allow their rights to erode

and their freedoms to be washed away

– Lawrence Ferlinghetti

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

In the past few months, the United States has undergone a kind of transformation that one only reads about in history books — from a nation which imperfectly, yet stolidly, embraced the promise, if not principle, of freedom, especially when it came to that most basic of rights — the freedom of expression. Democracies live and die on the ability of an informed citizenry to engage in open debate, dialogue and discussion about difficult issues. Freedom of speech is one of the touch-stone tenets of American democracy — the idea that, no matter how out of step with mainstream society one’s beliefs might be, the retained right to freely express opinions thus derived without fear of censorship or repression existed.

No more.

In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russophobia which had taken grip in the United States since Russia’s first post-Cold War president, Boris Yeltsin, handed the reins of power over to his hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, has emerged much like the putrid core of an over-ripe boil. That this anti-Russian trend existed in the United States was, in and of itself, no secret. Indeed, the United States had, since 2000, pushed aside classic Russian area studies in the pursuit of a new school espousing the doctrine of “Putinism,” centered on the flawed notion that everything in Russia revolved around the singular person of Vladimir Putin.

The more the United States struggled with the reality of a Russian nation unwilling to allow itself to be once again constrained by the yoke of carpetbagger economics disguised as “democracy” that had been prevalent during the Yeltsin era, the more the dogma of “Putinism” took hold in the very establishments where intellectual examination of complex problems was ostensibly transpiring — the halls of academia which in turn produced the minds that guided policy formulation and implementation.

Outliers like Jack Matlock, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Cohen were cashiered in favor of a new breed of erstwhile Russian expert, led by the likes of Michael McFaul, Fiona Hill and Anne Applebaum. Genuine Russian area studies was supplanted by a new field of authoritarian studies, where the soul of a nation that once was defined by the life and works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Lenin, Stalin, Sakharov, and Gorbachev was distilled into a shallow caricature of one man — Putin.

We had seen this play before, in the buildup to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, when the national identity of a people who traced their heritage back to the Biblical times of Babylon was encapsulated in the person of one man, Saddam Hussein. By focusing solely on a manufactured narrative derived from a simplistic understanding of one man, the United States papered over the complex internal reality of the Iraqi nation and its people, and in doing so set itself up for defeat. It was if Iraq’s long and storied history ceased to exist.

The impact this erasure of context and relevance from the national discourse was felt in the lead up to the decision to initiate what was, by all sense and purposes, an illegal war of aggression — the greatest war crime of all, according to U.S. Supreme Court justice and U.S. chief prosecutor during the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, Robert H. Jackson.

My own personal experience serves as witness to this reality. As a former chief weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998, I was uniquely positioned to comment on the veracity of the claims made by the United States that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction capability in violation of its obligation to be disarmed of such. When my stance was deemed convenient to a narrative attacking a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, I was readily embraced. However, when my fact-based narrative ran afoul of the regime-change policies of Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, I was cast aside as a pariah.

Politics of Personal Destruction

U.S. Army soldiers confer near a defaced mural of Saddam Hussein at the Baghdad Central Detention Facility, formerly Abu Ghraib Prison, in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 27, 2003. (U.S. National Archives)

The politics of personal destruction were employed in full, and I was attacked for being a shill of Saddam and, perhaps worst of all for someone who served his nation proudly and honorably as an officer of U.S. Marines, anti-American. It didn’t matter that, without exception, the fact-based arguments I made challenging the case for war with Iraq proved to be accurate — at the time and place where the arguments could have, and should have, resonated greatest (during the buildup to the invasion) — that my voice had been effectively silenced.

I see the same template in play again today when it comes to the difficult topic of Russia. Like every issue of importance, the Russian-Ukraine conflict has two sides to its story. The humanitarian tragedy that has befallen the citizens of Ukraine is perhaps the greatest argument one can offer up in opposition to the Russian military incursion.  But was there surely a viable diplomatic off ramp available which could have avoided this horrific situation?

To examine that question, however, one must be able and willing to engage in a fact-based discussion of Russian motives. The main problem with this approach is that the narrative which would emerge is not convenient for those who espouse the Western dogma of “Putinism,” based as it is on the irrational proclivities and geopolitical appetite of one man — Vladimir Putin.

The issue of NATO expansion and the threat it posed to Russian national security is dismissed with the throw-away notion that NATO is a defensive alliance and as such could pose no threat to Russia or its leader. The issue of the presence of the cancer of neo-Nazi ideology in the heart of the Ukrainian government and national identity is countered with the “fact” that Ukraine’s current president is himself a Jew. The eight-year suffering of the Russian-speaking citizens of the Donbass, who lived and died under the incessant bombardment brought on by the Ukrainian military, is simply ignored as if it never happened.

Pro-Ukraine demonstration in Washington, Feb. 25. (John Brighenti, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The problem with the pro-Ukrainian narrative is that it is at best incomplete, and worse incredibly misleading. NATO expansion has been consistently identified by Russia as an existential threat. The domination of the hate-filled neo-Nazi ideology of the Ukrainian far-right is well documented, up to and including their threat to kill the incumbent president, Volodymyr Zelensky, if he did not do their bidding. And the fact that the former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, promised to make the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass cower in the basements under the weight of Ukrainian artillery fire is well documented.

Unfortunately for those seeking to have an informed, fact-based discussion, dialogue, and debate about the complex problem that is Ukraine-Russian relations is the reality that facts are not conducive to the advancement of the “Putinism” dogma that has gripped American academia, government, and mainstream media today.

The Saddam-era tactics of smearing the character of anyone who dares challenge what passes for conventional wisdom when it comes to Russia and its leader is alive and well and living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The age-old tactic of boycotting such voices by the mainstream media is in full-swing — the so-called news channels are flooded with the acolytes of “Putinism,” while anyone who dares challenge the officially sanctioned narrative of “Ukraine good, Russia bad” is excluded from participating in the “discussion.”

‘Russian Misinformation’

Demonstration in Stockholm against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. (Frankie Fouganthin, Wikimedia Commons)

And, in this age where social media has, in many ways, supplanted the mainstream media as the source of choice for most Americans, the U.S. government has colluded with the commercial providers of the major platforms used to share information to label anything that deviates from the official line as “Russian misinformation,” going so far as to label data derived from Russian sources as “state-sponsored,” along with a warning that supposes the information within is somehow flawed and dangerous to normal democratic discourse.

The ultimate sanction, however, came when the U.S. government pressured the corporate internet providers to shut down all Russian-affiliated media, leading to the closure of RT America and other media outlets whose accuracy and impartiality, upon examination, far exceeded that of their American counterparts.

Now America is taking it to the next level when it comes to the pandemic of Russophobia that is sweeping across the country, purging everything Russian from the national discourse and experience. Russian books are being banned and Russian restaurants boycotted and worse, attacked. The massive economic sanctions enacted against Russia and the Russian people has extended to what amounts to an erasure of all things Russian from the American experience.

Where will this stop? History shows that America is capable of healing itself — the national shame that was the treatment of Japanese- Americans during World War II is a clear demonstration of this phenomenon. However, the politics of cancellation which has emerged in the American body politic has never carried with it the kind of potential blow-back that exists in the case of Russia.

In the pell-mell rush toward cancelling Russia in the name of defeating Putin, emotion has replaced common sense, to the point that people are ignoring the fact that Russia is a nuclear power willing and able to use its Armageddon-inducing arsenal in defense of what it views as its legitimate national security interests.

There has never been a time when a national discussion has been more essential to the continued survival of the American people and all humanity. If this discussion could occur armed with the full range of facts and opinions relating to Russia, there might be hope that reason would prevail, and all nations would walk away from the abyss of our collective suicide. Unfortunately, the American experiment in democracy is not conducive for such near-term embrace of sanity and reason.

“Pity the nation,” Ferlinghetti wrote, “whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced, and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.”

Pity America.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

73 comments for “Pity the Nation

  1. Paul Neubauer
    March 13, 2022 at 07:13

    Sorry Scott but your narrative is at best delusional. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is part of his plan to reconstitute the Russian Empire. He’s written about this himself, we don’t need any western media to interpret this for us. My personal experience in Russia, my friends and family in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Europe all say the same thing, even those who like Putin.

    Putin is invading Ukraine, now, not because he fears NATO but because Biden/Harris/Blinkin/Kerry are incompetent. Because Putin, and Xi, have spent decades making the EU and American dependent upon them. And they want to break the world order.

    We either stop Putin in Ukraine, or we end up confronting him in Paris or Berlin. And the CCP in the Pacific. Thanks to Biden and Pelosi America is on the verge of economic collapse. The EU has made itself vulnerable to energy blackmail.

    We need, now, to confront Putin with large scale war. And mean it. Or he will dominate Europe.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      March 13, 2022 at 08:17

      Either you or Scott Ritter are delusional and we published Scott Ritter. Putin wants to avoid a war with NATO, with all that entails, as much as NATO wants to avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia. I think people in Paris and Berlin can sleep well at night.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    March 11, 2022 at 15:41

    Thanks Scott you have described this phenomenon to a “T” !

    What great amount of justice could be gained from getting each and every NeoCon liar in the same room, at the same time and have them defend their illogical, illegal, insanely hypocritical actions and beliefs.

    It could be called the “Grand Spectacle of Bearing the Soul of Evil.” The truly evil practice of hating based on religious belief without reason, for a profit.

  3. HD
    March 10, 2022 at 00:18

    Scott Ritter: As it was in 2002-2003, an American I can still be proud of as an American. Great piece, great recent interviews. Many thanks!

  4. March 9, 2022 at 15:40

    Here’s what is going on. We are ruled in the west by intellectual midgets, yes sir, puppets to the satanic “illuminati” who are themselves inbred idiots with zero real life experience. The Turd in Canada and all the other turds in the west, have been running their economies “countries” on a credit card. The puppet minister talking to cabinet puppets in a hypothetical exchange. Sir, the Chinese don’t want to send us any more stuff unless we pay them with hard assets. Don’t we have gold, silver, other metals? Sir we sent the gold and silver to London 20 years ago. All the other metals are gone as payment already. What about the mines? They are all in Chinese hands already. What about the timber rights in British Columbia? Gone, China and some in Brazilian Conglomerates. What about the potash mines in Saskatchewan? The Chinese have owned that for over two decades. What the hell, we have nothing? No. That’s why all the shelves are bare. That’s why the truckers are protesting, lack of any freedom in the country. We have to suppress them. How, the cops are crossing over to the truckers, even the RCMP and the army don’t want to get involved. We have to get UN mercenaries to clear them out of Ottawa. How, if they don’t want to go, what are you going to do, shoot them? If I have to. If that fails…? I will have a plane on stand by to whisk me away.
    Well, it worked this time, but things will keep getting worse and worse, and next time there will be ropes and lamp posts.

  5. junivers
    March 9, 2022 at 09:21

    My freedom to think and say what I want stops when it prevents yours, and thankfully depends on no Constitution or gang of bloodthirsty oligarchs to exist. It lives or dies only on the quality of thought and speech I can muster.

    Consortium News musters far better. I learn much, here, every single time I visit. Thank you, Joe Lauria, for sticking so assiduously to Parry’s vision and allowing Scott Ritter’s mind-blowing experience and insight to shine so beautifully in this time of MSM-induced intellectual darkness. Thanks to you all.

    Free Assange, and peace in the world.

  6. March 9, 2022 at 02:00

    My local paper carried a story – probably off the wire – which featured Ukraine complaining that Russia is using ‘medieval tactics’ to ‘lay siege to the cities, and batter them into submission’. Poor muffins.

    Nary a word, of course, about Ukraine’s army blasting artillery into the eastern regions for 8 years now, shutting off Crimea’s water (only recently restored since the start of the ‘Special Operation’ and blowing up the power pylons that carried the east’s electricity with an anti-tank weapon. Ukraine has tried since breakaway to misery the eastern republics and Crimea into recanting. But since the west never brings it up, Ukraine sees no reason to depart from that policy.

    The blowback of the west’s departure from reason for points north will surpass expectations. It is now time in western climes to sow the crops for a pretty serious demographic. The earth is sufficiently played out that in most areas, commercial-scale agriculture depends on fertilizer. Russia and Belarus are major sources of potash, used in making fertilizer, and the natural gas for which large quantities are required in the making of ammonia, critical to nitrogen-based fertilizers. Canada has large resources as well but its production could not ramp up quickly enough to save this year. We are looking down the barrel of a global food shortage, quite apart from the energy maelstrom created by deliberate shunning of Russian hydrocarbons. Natural gas in Europe has already passed the previous record price by more than $1000.00 per 1000 cubic meters. And that’s without Russia even threatening to shut off the supply; it continues to supply gas to its avowed enemies. Meanwhile, the public has the bit in its teeth and is hysterically ‘canceling’ anything that even sounds Russian. A suggestion has arisen in the Duma that the firms and assets of western companies shutting down their operations be nationalized and seized; companies pulling the plug in Russia will not likely be asked back, and some who see this looming are hastening to announce they are ‘suspending’ their operations and will continue to pay their workers.

    Too late, boys. The die is cast.

  7. Ash
    March 8, 2022 at 23:12

    Very insightful article. Thank you. Leaving you with a poem which implores the enlightenment and truth we all need to dispel the darkness of our times.

    “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

    Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali, Noble Prize Winner for literature from India, (1914). First Asian to receive that award.

  8. CNfan
    March 8, 2022 at 19:51

    The blanket of propaganda that our “news” media spreads over the country is obviously highly coordinated. All the same omissions, all the same lies, all simultaneously, is far, far from a random pattern. So who is the central command orchestrating this orchestra of deception?

    Who can afford to buy controlling shares of all the mainstream media? Who can also afford to buy controlling shares in the weapons companies who profit from this blanket of deception? And who can also afford to bankroll the many politicians necessary to control the war and peace decisions?

    Back in 1791 Tom Paine wrote, “That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true”. The American Revolution 2.0 will be when the American public learns how their country has been invaded and captured, the war profiteer story.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      March 8, 2022 at 20:59

      No central coordination is necessary. Everyone in corporate media knows the script and what will happen to you if you don’t follow it. And it is all being cemented by a mass hysteria that has a logic of its own.

      • CNfan
        March 9, 2022 at 18:54

        “Everyone in corporate media knows the script and what will happen to you if you don’t follow it.”

        Agreed. Who then enforces “what will happen to you”? And how do they coerce everybody in all the mainstream media corporations to follow that same script?

  9. Jeff Harrison
    March 8, 2022 at 18:12

    I don’t think you need another accolade but I’ll give you one anyway. Great job, Scott.

  10. Bob
    March 8, 2022 at 16:50

    I don’t understand the inclusion of Stalin in your list of Russian greats. Stalin represented the weight of imperialist pressure on the first workers state from within the Bolshevik party. He embraced a nationalist perspective, engineered the Holodomor, organized the murder of Sergei Kirov (who outpolled Stalin in 1934 for membership in the CPSU Central Committee), framed the opposition for Kirov’s murder in the Moscow Trials, decapitated the Red Army by removing 85% of its officers at the rank of colonel and above (through murder or exile), failed to prepare the Soviet Union for war with Nazi Germany (at the cost of 27,000,000 Soviet lives), closed down the Communist International and betrayed revolutionary movements globally (Greece, France, China, Italy, Yugoslavia, etc.). Sakharov and Gorbachev were merely the realization of Trotsky’s prediction in Revolution Betrayed that failing a political revolution to remove the bureaucracy the restoration of capitalism was inevitable. No real genius there. Putin? A nationalist thug of a type universally common in the world today. Yes, the American foreign policy elite bear direct responsibility for the provocations that forced Putin’s hand. This is not about the struggle for democracy. This is great power politics (very stupidly played by ignorant fools) in the death agony of world capitalism. This predates 1914. And American media is completely shameless in the coverup of that fact. On that I completely agree.

  11. Robert Emmett
    March 8, 2022 at 12:26

    Putinism & pietism

    clasp hands
    in rain-dash alley
    of glitterati,
    power turns in
    Mazzerati to go
    watch fun.

    Russian bread & Roman
    circus time. Hear
    gladiator roar!
    Soon will be loosed
    beasts & blood-splash

    But not good
    look for you, Amierca.
    So ol’ fashy,
    so las’ year!
    Such a way, eh
    to strut & fret
    final hour upon stage

    and then…?

  12. Hoppelpoppel
    March 8, 2022 at 10:04

    The orgy of abuse and discrimination of Russia and Russia has an infamous forerunner in the treatment Americans of German originell in WW I. It seems that average Americans are in favour of this lynch mob energy. It is not especially about Putin. This mobbing style is a genuine element of the American political culture. It is a pity indeed.

  13. Richard Coleman
    March 8, 2022 at 09:31

    1. “the soul of a nation that once was defined by the life and works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Lenin, Stalin, Sakharov, and Gorbachev”… I take exception to the inclusion of Stalin in that list.

    2. The way things are going, I foresee that the US will terminate recognition of Russia altogether and thus break off all diplomatic relations. We will then be back to 1932 (The US didn’t recognize the USSR until 1933).

    3. Although all-out war with Russia may possibly not have been the intention of the “leaders” (note I said “may”), and although there may be a few sane heads left at the Pentagon and maybe even at State, I don’t see any way of avoiding it now. The thing has, as the cliche says, taken 0n a life of its own.

    “In the heat of action, a man may forget where his best interests lie.” –Dashiell Hammett

    • Bob
      March 8, 2022 at 18:56

      Thanks for pointing out the inclusion of Stalin. I breezed right past that. Stalin was the Anton Chigurh of Russian culture.

    • Realist
      March 9, 2022 at 01:02

      Also, Stalin (birth name: Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili) was an ethnic Georgian, not a Russian. Like Hitler (implying “heat” or great passion), he took a pseudonym (“Stalin,” meaning “steel”) that he thought inspired great strength. Stalin was already discredited throughout the Soviet Union under Khruschev. Putin has refuted Stalin’s leadership many times. Any insinuation otherwise is simply more Western slander of Putin.

  14. historicus
    March 8, 2022 at 09:30

    Old Billy Shakespeare nailed it pretty well in King Lear, as well: ‘Tis the time’s plague, when Madmen lead the Blind.

    I had hoped to retire this frequently-quoted aphorism when Trump went away, as if this were my first day in America, right.

    I am also reminded of the first sentence of Plato’s Apology: so cleverly did they speak that I almost forgot my own position; but I tell you there was no truth in any of it. In the original Greek the adverb “cleverly” means literally “like a snake” and that about sums things up today. With apologies to defaming actual snakes!

  15. susan
    March 8, 2022 at 09:13

    Thank you Scott – great piece and so crucial!

  16. March 8, 2022 at 09:13

    New Global Peace Movement is prepared with a New Emotion

    Dear Mr. Ritter,

    Plans are prepared to unite the world to “reverse direction” and create “trust and respect” among nations and people.

    Your statement, “In the pell-mell rush toward cancelling Russia in the name of defeating Putin, emotion has replaced common sense,” is PROFOUND and must be the focus for creating change.

    Please contact me at your earliest availability. The plan is ready now. One last step remains to begin the movement and you can assist. Thank you very much.

    Peace and Love, Andre Sheldon
    Director, Global Strategy of Nonviolence
    (Please note, the website is old but has the basics of the plan.) www(dot)GSofNV(dot)org

  17. C. Parker
    March 8, 2022 at 08:45

    Thank you! I gave up on mainstream news years ago. And, now, this includes PBS and NPR. Fresh Air’s Terry Gross recently interviewed Anne Applebaum. The entire program Applebaum controlled the narrative. No mention of America’s heinous role using Ukraine to intimidate Russia’s security. Sending weapons to Ukraine for right-wing nationalists to use against their fellow citizens friendly towards Russia. Applebaum omitted the 2014 U.S. backed coup. NATO was not discussed, no mention of Russia’s attempt to settle the civil unrest stopping violent attacks in the Donbass region. Bucharest Summit Declaration, the Minsk Accord, NATO’s installation of missiles in Romania and Poland were never got a mention. According to Applebaum this is just Putin’s fault. Applebaum went unchallenged by Terry Gross, whose work in the past had been admired for her ability to listened to her guest before framing her question. Something has changed.

    The Ministry of Truth…War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.

    There has never been a more important time to thank Consortium News and their team of journalists.

    • Bob
      March 8, 2022 at 18:53

      That was a watershed interview for me, too. Poor Terry Gross. I couldn’t get past the first five minutes. If you can’t count on Terry Gross who can you count on? Pretty sad.

    • Aime (Duke) Duclos
      March 8, 2022 at 19:13

      Is this you, Mr Parker? You sound like my good old friend. Times are certainly crazy. remember to listen to your heart and soul. Nothing is ever simple, many many layers.

  18. Donald T. Coughlin
    March 8, 2022 at 08:21

    Leaches are honest. Truther writers are honest. A formal hierarchy of data distribution, as is this example is-is honest…delivering to the reduced mentally evolved. If only they would listen! I am an environmentalist! I know my temporary plateau of existence. A leach does not. Thank you again Scott Ritter. Please keep my head above water.
    B Al Gore’s Leer Jet:

  19. Mike
    March 8, 2022 at 07:03

    Scott Ritter is one of the great Americans of whom there are many. He could have walked away after Iraq to lead a quiet life (joke) but he has kept on battling to try end all the pointless and destructive fighting in which USA leaders cannot help themselves from getting involved.
    I have read elsewhere on CN that Scott Ritter reported on Iraq that ‘any WMD would have turned to gooh’. But what about that tanker of anthrax that Saddam’s uncle held in one of the palaces (or was it his garage?). That must have been spread far and wide amidst all that shock and awe, joining up nicely with all the depleted Uranium – which definitely exists, and to this day. And what about the mass of Iraqi WMD documents headed to UN but instead snatched by the Pentagon for safe keeping? Redaction of all or any USA connections is of course no longer necessary.
    And how is the UN Sec Gen taking sides when none of his previous interventions in conflicts have had any effect?
    Intervening also is the ICC, a body which goes after relative minnows and which accepts USA sanctions and that it can never ever investigate a potential war crime by an American working for the US government.
    Through control of information, they gain control of thought as well as ‘free speech’. ‘They’ don’t just want power, ‘they’ want absolute power – because ‘they’ are incorruptible.
    Without CN and some other fearless people and organisations, there could be little hope in the world right now.

  20. Aaron
    March 8, 2022 at 06:51

    Excellent and well-written. I can’t stop thinking about the hypocrisy and audacity of the U.S. after all of the lies, crimes, and deaths committed in Iraq to be preaching platitudes of morality regarding the Ukraine situation. Indeed it is if it has all been erased from the minds of many, and I find it to be appalling. The hagiography of Colin Powell after his part in taking us into an illegal war, and the restoration of George W. Bush, I recently was watching an SMU Mustangs game and he was there having a grand ol’ time laughing and being honored and applauded, how can people be so deluded? It is madness what’s happening, sheer madness. It’s a powerful point you make that the social media algorithms are reinforcing the narratives and I fear this will absolutely not stop until they put so much pressure on Biden that he caves in to Zelensky’s demands that we attack Russia for him. I pray everyday that there is no nuclear war. Nuclear war, above all, must be avoided, that must be the first priority. Nothing else matters.

  21. Sam F
    March 8, 2022 at 06:26

    Very true that “national discussion” with the “full range of facts and opinions” is essential in making fair policy, and that the US “experiment in democracy” failed to provide the means. See CongressOfDebate dot org for the solution to this problem. That requires reforms to eliminate economic influence upon all branches of the US government and mass media, which has destroyed democracy. The CPD is in now the implementation phase.

  22. D. Brand
    March 8, 2022 at 06:03

    At age 71, I have lived through the cold war right next to the iron curtain. Yet, I can’t remember a time when censorship was so total in the West and when war hysteria was so intense as they are now. Even self-censoring every word I say, it’s impossible to express my opinion without being banned for life without warning on many Western discussion platforms. This is not a return to the cold war, no, this is a return to the witch hunts of medieval Europe.

    We life through the most frightening times in human history, where the war propaganda has shut down the free expression of opinion. The West destroys the human right of free expression while pretending to defend it.

    The anti-establishment movement and the far-right populism that accused the MSM of lying grew out of the distrusts of the establishment and the media that had fueled the wars in the ME with propaganda lies. Even supposing we can avoid an escalation of the Ukraine crisis, the consequences of this propaganda war will be devastating. A 2nd Trump turn will be the least of our worries.

  23. March 8, 2022 at 05:58

    Tremendous article. Thank you sir! Semper Fi!

  24. Bill Roope
    March 8, 2022 at 05:55

    Thanks for the unbiased information I really appreciate it.
    Have you read John Robbs recent Global Guerrillas Report?
    It seams to me to be an apt take an what is happening.
    That is, an open source cancel culture swarm is driving countries to act recklessly toward Russia.

    “February 2022 GG Report: Swarms vs. Nukes
    Wow. What a week. A couple of new things developed over the last week.

    First; A global open source movement emerged nearly overnight to defend Ukraine.
    Second; This global open source movement is conducting swarming attacks (disruption, disconnection, and delegitimization) on Russia, the country with the most nuclear weapons in the world.”

  25. mgr
    March 8, 2022 at 05:35

    Thank you. The tragedy here is overwhelming. Who thinks that the US will survive this intact? The idiocy, incoherence and self-serving madness of necoconservatism which turns everything of value into mud and which appeared in the GOP after 9/11, has been fully embraced and re-branded into “Putinism” in the (ironically named) “Democratic Party.” What we see in the current Biden admin is exactly what we would have had with HRC if she had won in 2016. Trump brought his own madness, and fortunately for us, his overwhelming incompetence. Who knew that it was to be but a brief reprieve from “this,” what we have today from the “competent lunatics” of the “DP.” After all, Blinken, Nuland & Co. came riding along in the Biden admin with this agenda already in their pocket, just as the necons of the Bush admin had done before. As for the rest, it’s all part of the shared sport of shaping the public narrative in order to lead the nation to the worst possible outcome.

    And after Trump we all thought that Biden the savior was going to lead the world in tackling the existential problems of climate change for creating a peaceful, sustainable future for all. I didn’t though. I pretty much expected that we would end up right where we are which is why I classified Biden’s election as catastrophic. Sanders, flawed as he is, was the only chance for any, even minor, progress whatsoever. But Biden and the “DP” killed that so that we could all enjoy this stunning outcome instead.

    So, is American democracy and society going to survive the onslaught of Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump and now (the cherry on top) Biden, not to mention facebook and the loss of all independent and coherent thinking? As the saying goes, be careful or you just may end up where you are headed. American culture has been headed this way for quite some time.

    • Dienne
      March 9, 2022 at 12:09

      I don’t particularly care if the U.S. survives this intact – it would probably be better for the rest of the world if we did not. But it would be nice to think that the world itself might survive this intact.

    • John Ressler
      March 9, 2022 at 15:46

      Amen !

  26. Realist
    March 8, 2022 at 04:11

    What do all the following guys have in common with Vladimir Putin?

    N. Korea…..Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Un
    Egypt …… Nasser
    Vietnam…….Ho Chi Min
    Russia, Russia, Russia…..Stalin, Khruchev, Breshnev, Putin
    Yugoslavia, Serbia……Milosevic
    Afghanistan……….Mullah Omar, Bin Laden
    Iran…..Ayatollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Khamenei
    Venezuela………Chavez, Madura

    There are probably many additional members of this club. These are the ones I could immediately dig out of my brain going back to childhood when the Korean War was raging. Then there was the Suez crisis in 1956 which pitted alleged Soviet puppet Gamal Abdul Nasser against the “freedom-loving” Western alliance of the US, UK and Israel over who should own and operate the canal. Possibly the only defeat Israel ever suffered save for one skirmish much later with Hezbollah. So, what is the commonality here with Adolph Putler? Everyone of these gentlemen, regardless of their actions or regard for them by their citizens, were demonized relentlessly by the American media at the behest of the American government, often as a prelude to war, which is the usual formula for Washington effecting its claimed rights and privileges to regime change in countries it tends not to like and chooses to micromanage itself on behalf of the voters it disenfranchises. Touching how generous we Americans can be to complete strangers, don’t you think? Our dedicated agents of American-style democracy have even assisted some of these poor troubled souls to move on to the next life, or did their damnedest to help in the process. So much goes unsaid about Washington’s numerous good works.

    As you can see, Washington has high standards when it comes to defamation. Their work on besmirching Putin’s reputation in every way humanly and inhumanly possible was astounding craftsmanship–intrinsically despicable but a real tour deforce in the talents that won them their filthy jobs. They understand that it’s not how you play the game that counts but whether you prevail and satisfy the twisted demands of your demonic superiors. But enough praise for a bunch of torture artists who should be better off dead. Some day the reaper (it might well be a drone!) will come for them. After all, they too must live in the universe of suffering and pain they have created.

  27. Peter Lom
    March 8, 2022 at 03:19

    Bravo! Thank you for this.

    Now the crux: what are the offerings on the table to solve or ease (or partially solve) the problem? Nobody came with something tangible. Does it mean that all parties wait for further developments?

    • Dienne
      March 9, 2022 at 12:12

      The only solution is to take Putin’s concerns for Russian security seriously and address them. Anything else is escalation and madness.

  28. Seby
    March 8, 2022 at 03:02

    Pity the nation indeed.

    Apologies and respect to you brave American, but I have to say you really live in the ‘land of the freaks and home of the brain dead’

  29. David Otness
    March 8, 2022 at 01:33

    Man, Scott, you are nailing it. Outta the park again with your finger on the pulse if not the MRI results for analyzing our citizenry in such a moment.
    22 years of propaganda only growing more focused as Putin in a spectacular balancing act led Russia from the wreckage of the 1990s and in necessarily doing so, forged a deep enmity first from the Russian oligarchs and their shadowy American partners, thence off to the races with a no holds barred, non-stop public demonisation—until just the mention of V. Putin”s name evinces red-faced rage from people—enmasse at that—who know nothing of the truth of Russia’s history of the past twenty years, let alone the scope of its massive, tragic social turmoil throughout its history, beginning in the 20th century in particular.
    Mob-think. Focused on one man caught by the Fates. The pros directing this shameful enterprise are unfortunately all too accomplished in their trade. So reads the history of the second half of the American 20th century and this far into the 21st. I can’t thank you enough for articulating it so forthrightly and ably.

  30. March 8, 2022 at 01:03

    American media history of Ukrainian conflict begins in 2014. The real history of the conflict dates back to the fall of the Berlin Wall. That’s not due to stupidity on the part of the media. It’s by design. That’s propaganda.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      March 8, 2022 at 07:39

      We wish it went back to 2014. It actually starts on Feb.24,2002.

  31. Tedder
    March 7, 2022 at 21:53

    I certainly have found that the government media narrative is hopelessly embedded in American consciousness. My attempts to push back against this misinformation and well, lies, have been met with limited success and a lot of hostility. Still, without real, I mean based on reality, understanding of how this conflict came about, Americans including all levels of government will not be able to see any good solution. Even without the possibility of nuclear war, much time has been lost to address the climate catastrophe, and untold amounts of pollution has gone into the atmosphere, not to speak of lives lost and resources destroyed. All for hegemonic pride coupled with ideological certainty.

    • D. Brand
      March 8, 2022 at 05:37

      In Germany the environmental Green party has turned from a party of peace that had stomach pains at the Nato bombing of Serbia and that saved the country from the Iraq invasion into a party of war hawks that’s bent on conflict with Russia. In order to cut NS2 and Russian gas they are now hurrying to build two LNG terminals to import US fracking gas, etc., and consider reactivating old coal and nuclear plants.

      We can’t save the planet and fuel geopolitical conflict at the same time. It’s impossible. It’s either the one or the other. For an international agreement to fight climate change we need to cooperate with Russia and China. To save the climate, we cannot add additional emissions for the arms race.

      A 2nd Trump turn would probably have avoided the Ukraine crisis, but it would also have condemned the climate. Now we have both, a potentially devastating geopolitical crisis, while the fight against climate change has to take 2nd place behind geopolitical power politics.

  32. Marie-France Germain
    March 7, 2022 at 21:29

    “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” George Orwell quoted from “Orwell On Truth” a selected compilation of George Orwell’s works as regards truth.

    • Andy
      March 8, 2022 at 06:36

      That is the most poignant quote I have read that best describes the current mess.

      I don’t want this to happen obviously but US hegemony and interference in other countries will only ever stop through a thermonuclear war – from what I can see they (US Neocons) cannot be stopped in other way. They are hell bent in their ways – murdering psychopaths the lot of them

      What a terrible state of affairs

  33. Topor
    March 7, 2022 at 21:19

    Pity the nation……….There will be no Pity for the these fascist nations. Russia diplomatically talks peace but looks west and sees the same fascists (all europe). They see the same existential threat,again …..Great Patriotic War 2. There will be no more appeasment like the past 30years. The west is delirious and has no clue how hard they are going to fall!

  34. renate
    March 7, 2022 at 21:17

    It has a great title and a perfect ending. You could not have said it better.

  35. Fernando Agüero
    March 7, 2022 at 20:53

    NATO’s charter says that NATO will not admit any country that has territorial disputes with another country. The Ukraine has a territorial dispute with Russia over Crimea, so the Ukraine cannot join NATO no matter how much it talks about doing so. Consequently the threat of Ukraine joining NATO is a fantasy.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      March 7, 2022 at 23:49

      With NATO training and exercises having taken place in Ukraine, and with NATO heavily arming it, the country is already a de-facto NATO member.

      • Realist
        March 8, 2022 at 03:10

        So, NATO is not exactly a stickler for its own rules, eh? No surprise there.

      • Cesar Jeopardy
        March 8, 2022 at 18:56

        I’ll point out that the U.S. State Dept. FMF justifies funding Ukraine’s military so it will be NATO “interoperable.” The NATO’s charter be damned, Ukraine was headed for NATO membership—and very, very soon. The clues are all over the place.

    • Peter Blatt
      March 8, 2022 at 02:13

      Pity Britain. Pity France, Pity Germany, Pity……………………………………………………………………….

    • rosemerry
      March 8, 2022 at 03:40

      Exactly, so why is it that the US?NATO mockingly rejected the requests(!) of Russia when the rejection of Ukraine and Georgia could so easily have been done. The USA/NATO have no intention of peace breaking out.

    • D. Brand
      March 8, 2022 at 05:42

      Even if Ukraine isn’t formally admitted into Nato for the time being, Nato members have armed and trained Ukrainian armed forces to better fight the Russians and to prepare for Nato membership when the time is ripe. That is not something that can be kept secrete so that the Russians wouldn’t notice.

  36. renate
    March 7, 2022 at 20:05

    Second all of the above

    • James
      March 7, 2022 at 23:22


  37. Gerald
    March 7, 2022 at 19:46

    a massive problem for a delusional America that becomes more buried under the weight of cognitive dissonance from the slavish MSM to the very top in the white house. US politicians think they can create their own reality but the problem is it exists only in their mind (and those of their careerist accolytes) out here in the real world, the other 7 billion of us think differently and it is becoming patently obvious that a vast majority are rejecting the US and all it stands for, economically, militarily and ideologically. Recent sanctions have backfired spectacularly and Russia hasn’t even counter sanctioned yet. The new world order has begun like it or not and washingtons russophobic ‘reality’ is going to abut actual real world awareness. Its all down hill for the US from now on, the only question is how many of us is it going to pull down with it.

  38. ted markstein
    March 7, 2022 at 19:09


    ?Self-appointed moral compass of the world,
    Everybody fall in line
    Except America.

    America, ?
    Standard bearer for democracy and liberty,
    Everybody fall in line
    Except America.

    Defender of law and order,
    Everybody fall in line
    Except America.

    Upholder of ethics and decency
    Everybody fall in line
    Except America.

    Champion of freedom,
    Everybody fall in line
    Except America.

  39. Hal
    March 7, 2022 at 18:58

    Thank you Scott Ritter for sharing the light. May it grow and illumenate the darkness that has been spread across the land.

  40. robert scheetz
    March 7, 2022 at 18:44

    The factitious neocon narratives go back to Leo Strauss and his Chicago School cabal. For our period their plan is laid out in Wolfowitz’s 1992 memorandum for H W Bush (described in the Los Alamos Group’s offering today). It was published in the NYTimes and had to be immediately disowned by H W himself. Wolfowitz had failed to observe the strict code of secrecy which Strauss deemed essential for an elite governing cabal. Thenceforward the “noble lie” was rigorously observed, thence the the absurd narratives for the reduction of mid-East and now Russia. And so immense has been the criminality involved it became ever more exigent to suppress all critical analysis by corrupting the press and passing laws effectively abrogating the Bill of Rights (providing the sad fate of Julian Assange & co.) . But the truly amazing thing is how many in these institutions – press, academia, judiciary- buy into these outrageous, ranting, stamping lies (oft remarked Orwellian world) in pure innocence.

  41. Frank Lambert
    March 7, 2022 at 18:43

    Wendy and Vera: Yes indeed!

    Yes, it is a great article and Scott Ritter has been hitting the bullseye with each article. And thanks, Joe and the staff of CN for posting these articles!

    I don’t think the United States is happy unless they are involved in wars, overthrowing elected heads of states which they don’t like, and are not willing to bow down to American imperialism and grand theft loansharking.

    Sadly, the Amerikan people and the European vassals drank the Kool-Aid mixture of hate and war. The wilful ignorance of the masses is unbelievable.

    • Manifold Destiny
      March 8, 2022 at 09:45

      That’s a testament to the power of propaganda aimed at the exploitable desires of the human mind.
      Id invades Ego like a virus.

  42. March 7, 2022 at 18:38

    Thank you Scott. I find it crazy that the people of the USA are ok with the United States attacking a country for made up BS?! I’m not a fan of Putin invading Ukraine but I do understand how they feel threatened and have watched how the US has manipulated Ukraine affairs so they needed to act. People can’t believe it when I explain what the US has been doing since 2014 at least. All they hear is Russia bad. The USA needs to stop funding Ukraine! Plus they have literal Nazis!!

  43. Thomas Siracuse
    March 7, 2022 at 18:23

    Could Putin have avoided an invasion of Ukraine by physically surrounding it preventing any military and economic help to the Ukraine, an anti-Russian regime that wants to join NATO? I believe the U.S. wanted Russia to invade Ukraine after breaking many agreements with Russia such as neutralizing and demilitarizing the Warsaw Pact and promising not to extend NATO to every country on Russia’s borders. Now Putin can be demonized and its improved relations with Germany and other western European countries, by selling them cheap Russian gas and oil, have been destroyed. On the other hand, forcing Ukraine to pledge not to join NATO and to desist attacking the Luhansk and Donetsk republics that seceded from Ukraine would end any support from the U.S.

    • rosemerry
      March 8, 2022 at 03:46

      Have you looked at the size of Ukraine????? Until 2014 Russia had good cooperation with Ukraine and considers the people “brothers”. The word invasion is used, but obviously Russia lives next door and wants NOT destruction or enmity but at least neutrality, which is in the Constitution of Ukraine! Russia wants the Nazi elements, so influential and violent, to be removed and the Ukies to help bring back a fair election and democracy, which the US coup in 2014 made impossible.

  44. Philip Reed
    March 7, 2022 at 17:38

    Another great analysis. Too bad Scott wasn’t considered for the negotiating team in the two months prior to this predicable outcome. If the American strategy was to use Ukraine to diminish Russia it’s likely to work in the short term.
    In the long term,presuming Russia temporarily takes over Ukraine and fixes in place a government that is determined to keep out ultranationalist neo-Nazis and remains neutral Russia will have solved its security issues long term.
    The sad part of course is that all this death and carnage could have been avoided if western powers, the US and Britain in particular, could have parked their egos at the door and taken Russias’ long understood security concerns into account.
    Clearly ,the west ,by their intransigence, calling Nato expansion and Donbas recognition,” non-starters” were bad faith negotiators from the onset.
    Unfortunately Putin took the bait, and has calculated that short term diminishment will hopefully lead to long term security.
    Sadly innocent Ukrainians and young Russians are suffering the results of these cynical policies pursued by the US and NATO .

  45. Louis
    March 7, 2022 at 17:32

    We’re on the cusp of being F’d…how do we move away from the brink? The office of the presidency seems to be captured, and that hidden decision makers are in charge of the bureaucracies, their policies, and actions.

    Looking beyond the Ukraine battlefied (assuming these is no glassification), the war will continue on other battlefields and in other arenas until one side is victorious, and the outcome is either unipolar or multipolar.

    Have you thought about a discussion on how the battle between the two global structures is likely to play out, and what these two scenarios could each look like following the victory of one over the other?

  46. Gary Sitter
    March 7, 2022 at 17:07

    Dear Scott. This article explains this conflict so well. I agree completely with everything you have stated. It is so sad that the improper narrative has been totally overshadowed by the innocent deaths on both sides. I fear that in the absence of peace minded leadership on both sides our future is in doubt
    Thank you for your contribution. Without CN’s contribution there would be a vast understated void
    Gary Sitter

  47. Ian Gibson
    March 7, 2022 at 16:09

    Thanks Scott for being the voice of reason and honour, much as you were in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. I don’t know if it feels the same to you, but to my mind the information war is even worse than it was (at least in the UK) then: at least the media were willing to report that there were doubts about the dodgy dossier, for instance, whereas now it’s a total whitewash. BBC Radio 4 had a special program, assembling a panel of experts, to examine the history of how we got to where we are. It started promisingly, going back to the 12th C with lots of interesting detail. However, when it came to WW2, they talked about Ukraine’s siding with the Nazis in such vague terms that if you weren’t already aware of it, you might well not have realised that was what happened! They completely whitewashed the current neo-nazi place in Ukraine’s establishment, and even better, they touched on Euro Maidan in 2014, agreed that that was seminal, but completely omitted to mention any Western involvement in it! Just spectacularly and transparently ideological rewriting of history.

    What really disturbs me is the number of people I consider intelligent, moral, and, most importantly, sceptical of our governments and the power structures in this country, who without hesitation buy into the ‘we’re the good guys fighting against evil, in the shape of a mad despot.’ Not only because of the total inability it shows to see the world from anything except the perspective fed to us by our establishment media, but more worryingly, because it is a one-way path to Armageddon: if you an only see them as mad/evil, there’s no negotiating possible, all you can do is escalate. It’s just horrible beyond anything I ever feared.

  48. Wendy LaRiviere
    March 7, 2022 at 15:54

    Thank you, Scott Ritter. Ferlinghetti never sounded more profound. Your analyses are like water in a parched land.

  49. Martin
    March 7, 2022 at 15:45

    pity us all. we were just too dumb. if the russians haven’t developed ‘a least losses’ scenario (like some in the us surely have, people who think they can and will survive are at the wheel) there might still be hope. but, maybe the russians, as a people, can swallow it, bow their heads and accept defeat.

  50. Vera Gottlieb
    March 7, 2022 at 15:43

    Why beat around the bush? Call it what it is…Russia, under Putin, refused to bend over to be screwed by the West. Pure and simple…

  51. kevin brown
    March 7, 2022 at 15:01

    Great article. Thank you.

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