President Biden: De-Escalate in Ukraine or Risk Nuclear War!

"The first casualty of war is truth." This simple yet profound statement is attributed to many, including Hiram Johnson in a speech in the U.S. Senate in 1918, during the "war to end all wars." Hiram Johnson was a progressive Republican who had been elected to the Senate from California that very year. He remained in the Senate until he died of old age on August 6, 1945, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the civilian population of Hiroshima, Japan.

The Baltimore Sun quoted Senator Johnson more fully in 1929, during a Senate debate on an international agreement called the "General Treaty for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy" (also known as the Kellogg-Briand Treaty):

"The first casualty when war comes is truth, and whenever there is a war, and whenever an individual nation seeks to coerce by force of arms another, it always acts and always insists that it acts under self-defense."

As the war rages in Ukraine in 2022, actual combat is eclipsed by well-practiced information warfare. It was not surprising when the White House and State Department began shouting that the Russians were about to launch a "false flag" event to justify their pending invasion of Ukraine. After all, isn’t that the way it is always done? Isn’t that the way the US did it with the Tonkin Gulf Incident in Vietnam, babies being thrown out of incubators in Kuwait, and Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Of course, the US has a bigger challenge claiming self-defense as it invades smaller, weaker countries halfway around the globe.

Twenty-four hour news coverage is keeping Americans hyped up and dumbed down

Once the fighting commences, deception is also an important ploy on the battlefield. The ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus wrote, "God is not adverse to deceit in a just cause." Aside from keeping the enemy guessing about when and where the next attack will be launched, it is critically important to maintain popular support for a questionable enterprise that requires the sacrifice of blood and treasure.

Twenty-four hour cable news coverage of the ugly war in Ukraine is keeping Americans hyped up and dumbed down. The very real horror of war is on the screen for all to see. The bombed-out buildings, the mounting civilian casualties and the frightened refugees speak their own truth. Unfortunately, we rarely see the victims, the grieving families and the terrified refugees when the invader is the US. The "shock and awe" US terror bombing campaign on Baghdad was described by one network TV anchor as a "beautiful thing to see."

Totally absent from nonstop coverage of the war and condemnations of Russian president Putin is any reporting on the role of the United States and NATO in creating the crisis over Ukraine. No reports about the relentless NATO expansion up to the very borders of Russia. No mention of US missile emplacements in Romania and Poland. Nothing about the unilateral US exit from vital nuclear treaties – the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (George W. Bush, 2002), and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (Donald Trump, 2018).

Such reporting would be unpatriotic in a time of war, would it not? We don’t want to justify Russian aggression. We don’t even want to hear their side of the story. A simplistic, one-sided narrative tells us that Vladimir Putin – who is both evil and mad – has initiated a war in order to rebuild the former Russian empire. Who knows where he might stop? There is absolutely no evidence to support this implausible narrative. But the truth be damned. This is war.

A "No Fly Zone" Means World War III

President Biden is demonstrating at least a bit of prudence. The president has to make life-and-death decisions that are somewhat based in reality. He is resisting the growing calls for a No Fly Zone in Ukraine. He and the generals at the Pentagon know what that means. Even the usually pugnacious Senator Marco Rubio stated "it means World War III." Yet pressure is growing for a No Fly Zone – maybe a "limited" one – as both Republican and Democratic leaders take their turn on top of the war wagon.

Joe Biden is also worried about nuclear war, a serious concern for all modern presidents. Vladimir Putin is brandishing his large nuclear arsenal as a disincentive for direct US/NATO engagement in the Ukraine war. The US canceled a planned ICBM test launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to its usual target in the much-bombed Marshall Islands. Apparently, the US did not want to risk spooking Putin, about whose mental state many people are speculating. Could it be that Putin is employing Richard Nixon’s famous "madman theory," keeping his enemies at bay with unpredictability?

Of course, Russia has its own propaganda apparatus, but we will not be much exposed to it here in the US. Russia Today (RT) has been removed from most cable TV services as well as from YouTube. Well actually, almost everything Russian is currently being canceled, in a furious frenzy of the Russia-hating that has been central to US culture ever since World War II. The Russians are never given credit for their outsized role in defeating the Nazis, nor sympathy for the 27 million lives lost in that war.

The US routinely violates the UN Charter – and now Russia has done so

The Russian invasion is a terrible violation of the UN Charter, but hardly unprecedented. International law in no way restrained US war-making in Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia or Yemen. Russia’s invasion was not in self-defense – except in a preemptive sense – they were not under immediate military attack.

Some say that the ongoing Ukrainian war against two breakaway Russia-aligned provinces in eastern Ukraine provided Just Cause for Russia’s invasion. Fourteen thousand people have died in the violence there since 2014, when a US-backed coup overthrew a Russia-friendly president and replaced him with someone handpicked by the US. An annoying factoid that.

Another annoying factoid is the well-documented role of Nazi militias in the 2014 coup and in the current government and military. These inconvenient truths in no way can justify the blatant Russian aggression, however, which is killing hundreds of innocent civilians and has created a dangerous crisis for humanity.

The Information War Presents the Peace Movement with a Dilemma

The nonstop barrage of information, misinformation, disinformation and rallying around the flag has presented the peace movement with a dilemma. How do peace-loving people righteously condemn the Russian invasion – the destruction of cities, the killing of hundreds of civilians, the displacement of millions? How do we express our outrage and our strong disapproval of this aggression and violence without appearing to join in the war fervor that is sweeping the US?

Conversely, how do we explain the role of the US and NATO in creating this crisis without appearing to justify this horrible violence? How do we demand that President Biden stop pouring fuel on the fire by sending more weapons into Ukraine? How do we tell people that sanctions are not an alternative to war, but rather an escalation of war?

Escalation is the very last thing we want. The Ukraine war presents the entire world with an existential threat. It is not alarmist to say this is the greatest imminent threat of nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The one where the US was reacting to Russian nuclear missiles being positioned in Cuba, way too close for comfort. Does that ring a bell?

The Danger of Nuclear War Should Focus Our Attention

The very real danger of nuclear war should focus all our attention. With both US and Russian nukes on "hair-trigger alert," what could go wrong? And then there are the 15 or so nuclear power plants in Ukraine, several of them reportedly compromised by the war. Is that a real threat or is it war propaganda? Perhaps both. It is in EVERYBODY’s interest to end this very dangerous war as soon as possible.

Joe Biden is not new to this conflict. Biden and – famously – his son Hunter, have been involved in the Ukraine mess at least since the 2014 coup, after which a Ukrainian oil company paid Hunter Biden $50,000 a month to sit on its Board. No conflict of interest there, all the Democrats insisted. Even without family enrichment, Joe Biden has long been dedicated to the Cold War project of putting the Soviet Union – and now Russia – in its place, which is no place, and with no respect.

The United States leads NATO – the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe is always a US general. President Biden probably could have headed off the Russian invasion by simply saying publicly that Ukraine would not become a member of NATO. But he refused to do that. He called Putin’s bluff, and Putin showed him it was no bluff.

President Biden Must Act Now to De-escalate this Dangerous War

Whatever disagreements there are about how the Ukraine war came about, reasonable people should be able to agree on this: This war is very dangerous. It threatens to become a wider war in Europe. It could even lead to a civilization-ending nuclear war. It therefore must be brought to an end as soon as possible.

President Biden is in a position to make a bold diplomatic move that could bring this war to a screeching halt. Instead of pouring in weapons and piling on sanctions, we should call on President Biden to begin good faith negotiations with all concerned parties, respecting each of their security concerns.

Once the world has – hopefully – pulled back from the brink, we should begin a serious international discussion about how to abolish nuclear weapons and war once and for all. How will we avoid getting into the same kind of war with China over Taiwan? How can the United States adjust to a multi-polar world where it is no longer The Sheriff?

Veterans For Peace is offering its own Nuclear Posture Review, with sections on Russia and Europe and all the nuclear powers. It makes well-researched recommendations, such as implementing No First Use policies and taking nuclear missiles off "hair-trigger alert." It calls on the US to rejoin the ABM and INF treaties, and to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It calls on the US to initiate negotiations "to reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons," as the five permanent UN Security Council members – the original nuclear powers – agreed when they signed the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If the United States and other nuclear powers had kept their promise to eliminate nuclear weapons, we would probably not be at war today in Ukraine, or worrying about Armageddon.

Gerry Condon is the former president of Veterans For Peace and a co-author of the Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review.

28 thoughts on “President Biden: De-Escalate in Ukraine or Risk Nuclear War!”

  1. I had forgotten the “babies thrown out of incubators” story. That’s the kind of story that makes the sheep go to war, regardless of what the war will mean. The warmongers had a girl stand before Congress and claim she was a nurse who had seen “babies thrown out of incubators” in Kuwait, and no senator could then oppose war without risking the vote of mindless women in the home state. The girl was lying, she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, and had been in Washington the whole time.

    The Kuwaiti emir had hired a PR firm in Washington to help sell the war. Officials from George Bush I met with that PR firm and Kuwaiti representatives dozens of times. George Bush also took to mocking Saddam Hussein as “unmanly” and “weak,” which the former CIA head must have known would be a severe provocation for an Arab leader.

    The war wasn’t about “Iraq – no, SADDAM – just mindlessly attacks” as the media claimed. Kuwait was drilling for oil in under the Iraqi border. Kuwait was also dumping oil on the market, in violation of OPEC rules about national quotas. The other OPEC countries considered this Iraq’s problem to solve, since Kuwait wasn’t a real country after all, but a part of Mesopotamia that Britain had cut off to use as a BP gas pump, with a loyal “emir” installed. Iraq asked for negotiations, but when they came to the meeting hall in the UN, the Kuwaitis refused to show up. They counted on the U.S. backing them – or maybe it was Washington’s plan to provoke.

    Iraq then contemplated a military attack, and asked the U.S. ambassador. He said, “in Arab-Arab conflict, like the one you have with Kuwait, we have no opinion”. They took this as a green light to invade. After all, one third of Kuwait’s population were Palestinians, and they firmly supported Iraq, so they’d have the menial labor on their side. Iraq had been giving money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. These families never knew what their young sons were doing, and Israel then illegally used collective punishment, giving them an hour to leave their homes before bulldozing them. That would also destroy the homes of every other family in the building, ruining their lives. So Iraq helped the families. This was what The Lobby could not accept, so Saddam Hussein became their target.

    It didn’t matter to them that he’d done Washington’s bidding by invading Iran to steal their water supplies, causing the death of half a million people, destroying Iran’s western cities and bombing holy sites like ancient tombs. The Lobby is the worst possible ally – they demand complete loyalty to their – Israel’s – interests, and ignore yours, and if you stray even a bit they never forgive you. Just look at how Obama was targeted for just straying a little bit from Israel’s agenda. The neocons immediately went “Obama is a Muslim!” And when Trump opposed their wars during his campaign, then he was “An agent of Russia!” Funny how both were immediately accused of having foreign loyalties – but no one questions the loyalty to the Lobby’s hive.

  2. Some say that the ongoing Ukrainian war against two breakaway Russia-aligned provinces in eastern Ukraine provided Just Cause for Russia’s invasion. Fourteen thousand people have died in the violence there since 2014, when a US-backed coup overthrew a Russia-friendly president and replaced him with someone handpicked by the US. An annoying factoid that.

    Another annoying factoid is the well-documented role of Nazi militias in the 2014 coup and in the current government and military. These inconvenient truths in no way can justify the blatant Russian aggression, however

    14,000 dead doesn’t justify Russian intervention? Really? Then how about the schools and administrative buildings bombed in Donbass? Or the coup regime’s snipers terrorizing the Donbass people. The biggest Donbass cities are right at the border with the coup regime’s territory.

    Zelensky moved 60,000 soldiers to the border with Donbass last fall, their best soldiers, and further soldiers also moved to just west of the Dniepr River, for a total of 150,000. This was an invasion force.

    They were stopped by Russia’s build-up in November. However, in the week before Russia’s invasion Ukraine increased bombardment of Donbass from 20 shells per day to 1,500-2,000 per day.

    After all the civilians killed by the coup regime, and all the people fleeing across the border to Russia, and the Ukrainian invasion force building up and increasing its U.S.-supplied artillery attacks … what does it take for Russia to be allowed to strike back?

    What did it take for the U.S. to bomb Serbia’s industries and bridges? Back then, what Serbia did was expel the flood of illegal aliens who had come across the mountains from Albania, with the Albanian government’s approval. They did not expel Albanians who were Serbian citizens, some of which took shelter farther north in Serbia. The illegals were burning Orthodox churches, they fired at children playing by a river, they terrorized the Serbian population. They sold drugs in West European cities and forced women into prostitution, in Albania and for Albanians living in the Western cities. Many of the women were Ukrainians, lured by the false promise of office jobs. For the UCK guerrilla, the U.S. bombed Serbia. No sanctions against the U.S. then. But Russia protecting historically Russian land after a coup abolished real democracy in Ukraine? Forbidden!

    1. Ukraine as “historically protected RUSSIAN land” IGNORES the imperialistic moves BY Russia since (at least) the 1860s against Ukraine—doing all the things COLONIAL powers do like SUPPRESSION LANGUAGE & CULTURE. (Native Americans would be familiar with such things).

      Plus: spreading FOX/OAN right-wing BS about “Hunter Biden’s laptop” is really going low (like right-wingers don’t LOVE WAR—obviously they do).

      The “what about-ism” on this page is remarkable.

      1. If Russia was “imperialistic” it would have bases in 140 countries (800 +) just like us. Imperialism is setting a course like Bill Clinton did when he brought in former Soviet block countries into NATO, then arming them (there are 14 such countries in NATO), with Ukraine the last piece of the game of Risk played by us and NATO. Russia is concerned with its own sphere of influence and its own borders. Russia thought the rest of the West would welcome Russia into the community. Hah! What it got were more missiles aimed at it. Not a warm and fuzzy feeling for Russia.

  3. We could try voodoo, you know get a picture of who ever we think is most responsible and start throwing darts or something. We could try witchcraft, put an image in our minds eye and start sending hateful thoughts but God doesn’t allow that either. We could start demonizeing and assasinating the character of the bad people with our mainstream media but that would be criminal. We could even volunteer to go fight and kill some bad guys but that would be murder and defiantly wrong. Seems like our only chance is to cry out to the Lord God Almighty to take charge of his creation and have mercy on us all because we really have made a mess of things.

  4. NATO nuclear tipped missiles stationed in the Ukraine, under 500 miles away from Moscow, is not just a pretext for invasion – it is a justifiable cause. Abolishing nuclear weapons . . a guy named Dwight Eisenhower gave us the lowdown on that . . something about an entrenched military-industrial complex.

    1. Eisenhower was quoting Smedley Butler, a personal aquaintence of his marshalling years.
      Look him up. Smedley disclosed post WWI after we and G.B. and the Masons of Mergovian Mayhem had the Tsar assassinated.
      Then we set up an oligarchy of industrialists that performed more Jewish Genocide in Russia.
      Putin is defending the Russian living Hebrew Disapora of Russia to the very end. He means business and will not be prone to repeat himself or his communications. His words are salted. The whole world can come after Russia and he is ready to reply.
      He is not disheveled as our propaganda projects. This defensive act is not a high stakes game of Chess or chance. It is based on over 100 years of foriegn oppression including the west’s sponsorship of assassinating Russian heads of state and genocide of their genetic Hebrew Diaspora line.

  5. Russia has its own propaganda apparatus, but we will not be much exposed to it here in the US. Russia Today (RT)

    Hmm? Russia Today tells the facts and never repeats Russian claims without putting quotation marks around them. But people who never read RT will claim it is just propaganda. That’s what factual truth looks like to those who only listen to U.S. media.

    Biden and – famously – his son Hunter, have been involved in the Ukraine mess at least since the 2014 coup, after which a Ukrainian oil company paid Hunter Biden $50,000 a month to sit on its Board.

    This is how Biden has taken bribes for decades. Hunter got money from an insurance company in return for his senator dad advocating their proposed law, counter to what consumer groups wanted. Hunter, as he admits in his memoirs last year, was doing meth and crack with prostitutes in hotel rooms at the time he became a “board member” in Ukraine’s Burisma. His emails on his laptop, which Facebook and other media buried completely before the election, reveal that half the money he gets goes to his father, “the big guy”. That’s the deal. He wrote that in an email to his kids, who he considered ungrateful “after everything I have done for this family”. Such a hard job taking bribes while jacked up on drugs.

    1. I read RT quite a bit. I’ve been watching it live for an hour or two a day since the invasion of — oh, pardon, “special military operation in” — Ukraine began.

      It’s no worse than most state media. But if you think it “tells the facts and never repeats Russian claims without putting quotation marks around them,” that thing you’re doing that you think is thinking isn’t.

      1. “Cross Talk” was excellent. And there is nothing like it in our US mainstream media–opposing sides at once, with usually very articulate guests. Where else did you see Hanan Ashrawi debate an American-Israeli lobbyist?

        Several American scholars and journalists I know of have also said that RT, unlike US mainstream, never ‘vetted’ guests first for their answers or statements. One was free to speak freely.

        While “Special Military Operation” is propagandistic, that still does not mar the integrity of the contributions of Peter Lavell’s guests.

        1. I watch Crosstalk now and again. In fact, it’s on RT right now.

          It’s pretty much the same format as any of the US cable news shows (for example, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC or Sean Hannity on Fox) — a host, two guests pitching the regime’s official line, and one dissenting guest for the host to talk over and “correct” 15 seconds into each and every one of his or her responses.

          Like I said, no worse than western media.

      2. Regardless of whether it promotes some Russia’s claims or not, it covered mostly events that were not covered in US media. US media is a chorus of the same point of view (specially on the ME wars and this war) which makes you wonder WHO, is the director to make them act in unison.

      3. Sorry, but being no worst than … is a very
        strange assessment. It was miles better than CNN. high quality journalism. documentaries.

        Informatiion was available that was suppressed here. I creted my own comparison chart. And to track facts tprovided by our media, but suppressed by RT,

        It was unfortunatelly a very loopsided situation. Our media is emotive-gossipy,omits inconvenient facts, and never, ever offer other side to express opinions.

        We so thoroughly demonize and trash opponents that is inconceivable to give them a platform to express their position. Domestic or foreign.

        Look what passes for objective reporting. One example,

        China is distancing from Russia. Really?

        We splice words, use Chnese expresions of symparhy for victims to be a sufficient proof that China is not supporting Russia.

        China sent humanitarian aid, but so did Russia.

        But what is never (or at least I have not seen it anywhere carried by our mainstream media
        iChina’s OFFICIAL stance.

        “China considers US to be responsible for provoking the war and Russia was justified in taking action. “

        Now, just waiting for Global Times to be
        shut down.
        Similar positions by many countries. Lates. — South Africa,

      4. How do you watch it live. I thought we had cut it off. Where are you? I can’t get it.

    2. “Hunter Biden’s emails”…really??? Guess I should start watching FOX “News” if this is what a site like is publishing

      1. Greenwald is hot to trot on the laptop. Who gives a sh*t about the laptop. Is it the reason for the 30 years of provocations resulting in the attack by Russia?

  6. Zelensky with all his rhetoric is leading the US politicians down the path of the last war .
    Biden should shut him up and do what is best for the US and the world. Ukraine has been used to strengthen NATO and that end has been accomplished.

    1. Biden had his chance last December when Putin presented reasonable arguments to prevent war. What did Biden do? Hah!

  7. Jul 14, 2020 Biden Getting Old ‘Militaristic’ Obama Foreign Policy Team Back Together

    Krystal and Saagar discuss foreign policy plans under a Joe Biden administration and why the campaign is looking at Rep. Karen Bass as a possible choice for Vice President.

      1. With your reply, I must ask if you even viewed or even listened? Just a simple yes or no will be all I need.

  8. I enjoy sanity, very much. I enjoy truth even more so. Points well made Mr. Condon.

  9. Our latter day driven economy is soooo dreamy:

    – we have sold over a thousand new networked and Spaz Farce controlled P.A.T.R.I.O.T.S. as an integral part of a global missile policing peace plan that we voters were never disclosed of -it was so freaking good!

    – Each missile is furnish with a Replenishment contract to replace every one we launch as part of the plan. Dreamy huh?

    – We have Starlink to be the CO2 SDI Tip of the Spear to intercept ICBMs and can burn most anything except Zirconium covered hypersonic missiles. Not so dreamy because Hypersonic fetches are faster than expected targets.

    – the war is over there. The First nuclear volley is expected to now be in the NATO theater of War and Australia is added to the Pacific theater (now under water). We anticipate less missiles here as a result.
    Any idea HOW we expect to defend ourselves with no P.A.T.R.I.O.T.S here? HOW? How are we defended?
    A: Starlink, a privatized venture of NASA, to bring the whirld Wifi with A CO2 SDI laser on board and ability to combine Phased array lasing and microwave warfare. Like in Starwars. It can be repurposed as immediate wifi and telephone service, like in a war or after like The Ukraine is using it thanks to the great benefactor and shlub, Elon Musk.


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