U.S. national security veterans counter Ukraine war drive

By John Catalinotto
May 22, 2023

On May 16 a full-page advertisement appeared in the New York Times. Under the headline “The U.S. should be a force for peace in the world,” 15 veterans of the U.S. security apparatus endorsed an analysis of the war in Ukraine that confronted head-on the tidal wave of lies from the Biden administration and the corporate media.

Protesters outside the White House, Washington, D.C., Jan. 27, 2022.

The Eisenhower Media Network placed the ad. The EMN is an organization of veterans of the U.S. military, police and/or foreign policy establishment, who once served the state apparatus. In the course of their engagement or following retirement, they found themselves disagreeing with many U.S. policies. They now especially oppose the U.S. role in the war in Ukraine — a war they describe as “an unmitigated disaster.” (eisenhowermedianetwork.org)

The statement warns that: “Future devastation could be exponentially greater, as nuclear power creeps ever closer toward open war.”

The document’s arguments counter the corporate media’s relentless demonization of the Russian government (with the exception of some of the ultraright media like Fox, which focuses its warmongering against China). The ad’s arguments present an opportunity to strengthen antiwar and anti-imperialist positions within the population of NATO countries.

NATO expands to Russia’s borders

For example, the EMN describes how “the plans and actions to expand NATO to Russia’s borders served to provoke Russian fears.” It finds these fears legitimate and criticizes U.S. policymakers for pushing them aside.

The ad even shows two maps: one real, showing U.S. and NATO military bases surrounding Russia, and a hypothetical one of the U.S., showing what it would look like if there were as many Russian bases in Mexico and Canada. Dennis Fritz, Director of EMN, told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on May 17, that [the U.S. military command] “would go crazy!” if that map were real.

Fritz is a retired Command Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, who while on active duty served as the principal senior adviser to four-star commanding officers at both the Pacific Air Forces and the Space Command.

Among the 15 initial signers of the statement are Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, U.S. Army (Ret.) and Chief of Staff to Gen. Colin Powell; Special Agent Coleen Rowley, FBI Intelligence (Ret.); Ann Wright, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) and former U.S. diplomat.

The statement points out the pro-war role of the military-industrial complex: “So far, the U.S. has sent $30 billion worth of military gear and weapons to Ukraine, with total aid to Ukraine exceeding $100 billion. War, it’s been said, is a racket, one that is highly profitable for a select few.

“NATO expansion, in sum,” the statement continues, “is a key feature of a militarized U.S. foreign policy characterized by unilateralism, featuring regime change and preemptive wars. Failed wars, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, have produced slaughter and further confrontation, a harsh reality of America’s own making. The Russia-Ukraine War has opened a new arena of confrontation and slaughter.”

The corporate media’s baiting of any antiwar statement as being pro-Vladimir Putin, who the same media reviles in multiple reports and opinions daily, has succeeded up to now in intimidating many who fear political isolation. The EMN statement has the virtue of reestablishing some truths, as told by people who have been inside the U.S. establishment and know how it works.

Anti-imperialists have the opportunity to use these truths to expose, weaken and destroy the framework of pro-war and anti-Russia propaganda and to strengthen the movement against war, so that it targets the real warmongers in the U.S. imperialist establishment and in NATO.