The Big Fools Say to Push On

When it comes to war, I try not to speak of worst case scenarios. Instead, I think of the opposite. In other words, what would it take to end a war with the fewest casualties and in a manner that would satisfy most of those involved. Like any conflict that comes to blows—between people or between nations—war alone rarely seems to resolve the underlying issues. At best, one might achieve a temporary break from battle; at worst, the conflict is exacerbated and nothing but wider and deeper conflict ensues.

The war in Ukraine, the war in Yemen, the war against the Palestinians, the wars we don’t hear about all have one thing in common. They are heavily funded by the US war machine. This fact is crucial to understanding them in a different way.  These are not separate wars. This is one war. It is made up of different battlefields in Washington’s ongoing war to rule the world. That is a war that’s been going on since the end of World War Two. Although some of the conflicts have involved large numbers of US troops, many of these battlefields rely instead on US money, weapons, intelligence and advisors. Instead of US residents dying for the US Empire, Washington has convinced various politicians, generals and bureaucrats in different parts of the world that Washington’s plan is the same as theirs and they should send their soldiers to kill and die for it.

The hypocrisy of the west, especially the media regarding the referendum going on in the eastern territories claimed by Ukraine is something to watch. The NY times labels the vote as staged, ignoring similar scenarios sponsored by the US in Korea, Vietnam, El Salvador, Iraq, Afghanistan, ad infinitum. Washington is the original architect of staged elections. In fact, the current referendum in the affected provinces probably has more validity than every one of the elections Washington staged in those and other countries, including many where US intelligence agencies co-sponsored and organized so-called color revolutions. One of these latter countries was Ukraine. In 2014, Washington most recently clearly interfered in the electoral process there. The ultimate result was a pro-Washington government aligned with right-wing formations that championed Ukraine’s history as written by fascists. The election of Zelensky was the latest step in Washington’s plans to make Kyiv dependent on Washington and assume it into Washington’s axis. In other words, Washington has annexed Ukraine in everything but name only. I write this not to justify Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s eastern provinces, but to show that the only real difference between Moscow’s annexations and Washington’s incorporation of Kyiv is in the sophistication of their approaches. Given the geography and history, Russia certainly has more of a claim on the eastern provinces of Ukraine than Washington has on any part of that nation.

Ukrainian is led by officials who act like adolescents. Their swagger backed by billions of dollars is leading their people to an uncertain future determined by the rejection of peace talks and the open embrace of war. Russian officials whose belief in war as an extension of diplomacy appear to have made a gross miscalculation. Western media, especially in the United States, presents the bluster of politicians who know virtually nothing about war in real terms, as statements of sanity. All of the war news is filtered through a Russophobic mindset enhanced by a joint effort to mislead the general public as to Washington’s imperial politics behind the war. The result is a propaganda effort so vast much of the population has no idea the depth of the false narrative being presented. The fact that this war never had to happen is long lost.

Even though the mobilization the western press characterizes as a draft is not a draft but a mobilization of reserves in the manner of Bush and Obama’s mobilization of the Individual Ready Reserves during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, one has to cheer the resistance to it. If something like this had happened six months into the US escalation of its war on Vietnam, that war would have certainly taken a different turn. If this idiotic conflict gets out of hand and the US finds itself involved in it, one can bet the US media won’t be cheering if thousands of US residents start rejecting the mobilization call. Most US residents, along with those who live in Europe and the rest of the world, hope this conflict can be resolved well before it crosses more borders. Already in some European countries there have been protests against the price hikes related to the economic war between Russia and most NATO countries. The likelihood of greater protest driven by considerably tougher economic times suggests political changes the likes of which have yet to be revealed. The fact that it is the right wing in the US Congress and certain European legislatures that is officially questioning endless aid to Ukraine’s military is not a good sign. Unfortunately, most of the other mainstream politicians, from the US Democratic party to European Social Democrats, the non-Trumpist wing of the US Republican party to the various Christian Democrat parties in Europe; their majorities continue to approve the further arming of Kyiv’s military. The haplessness of this approach, when combined with a set of backfiring economic sanctions, is revealed by the very fact of their continuation and escalation. It’s like the song made famous by Pete Seeger regarding the US war on Vietnam:

But every time I read the papers

That old feeling comes on;

We’re waist deep in the Big Muddy

And the big fool says to push on.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: