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Russia, PRAVDA.Ru and Chechnya – from a moderate American’s point of view

This has been building for a long time now – sorry.  I’m laying late, but, I’m laying it straight. Let’s take things in their proper perspective. 
Mention PRAVDA.Ru, Russia or Chechnya and the average American has very few kind things to say. We have always had this notion that America is somehow the word of God and we have the right to tell others how to live their lives, when we can’t even manage ours.  We condemn anyone who doesn’t write flowery prose about this country.  We call them anti-American, we tell them they are not being fair to America, and we also try to tell them to model themselves after our way of doing things.  Then we get angry when we are accused of imperialism. 

Chechnya is not an American affair.  It is a Russian internal affair.  In case we need a refresher course in history, in 1860 eleven states seceded from the union and formed the Confederate States of America.  These eleven states legally seceded for there was no law or constitutional provision that prohibited such action.  What ensued was the American Civil War.  The north called the south traitors, rebels, and a host of other names.  The north went so far was to wage war on the Quakers – one of the most pacifistic, peace loving and open minded religions in the world.  They were neutral and just wanted to be left alone.  When Sheridan came through he burned everything of theirs to the ground.  

Chechnya is very similar to the eleven states that seceded.  It is a run away providence.  We, as Americans, need to keep that in mind before we talk about rights, etc., especially when we are not without sin ourselves. 

Russia.  This is a country that has gone through three major changes in government in less than one hundred years.  They went from a monarchy, through Communism, and now parliamentary procedure.   

We cite the abuses of power of the monarchy and Communism.  A short American history lesson – look at what we did to the Native American.  It wasn’t just killing off their food supplies, duping them into signing treaties we had no intention of keeping – it was genocide.  The history of the 7th Cavalry is bloody ugly.  

Up through the early 1960’s Minneapolis, Minnesota, proudly boasted it was the Anti-Semitic capital of the world. 

There still are major gaps in equal rights for the Black population of the United States. Or do we need to talk about Selma, Alabama? 

Russia, in its’ history, has been attacked by darn near every European country with the exception of the Vatican.  After World War II, the government of Russia built a buffer zone around their country.  If America had been attacked as many times as has Russia, we’d be a little more than paranoid too.  

We screamed when we found out Russia had supplied Cuba with missiles.  But we want to ignore the fact we had Jupiter missiles in Iran pointing right at the collective Russian throats.  We installed our nuclear missiles long before the Cuban incident. 

We looked at the Communist government and decried that they were liars and charlatans. But how many Americans can remember Hubert Humphery, when he was Vice President, saying on public television that no American boys would fight on Asian shores while in the shadows he and Lyndon Baines Johnson raised the draft call to 1 million men per month.  And we got completely entrenched in Viet Nam. 

We berated Russia for its role in Afghanistan.  Now, let’s remember who still has troops in Afghanistan. And, that the Taliban and Bin Laden is a product of our own making.   

We, in seething self righteousness, pointed the accusatory finger at the communist government and declared they were totalitarian.  But how many people can remember that during the Viet Nam conflict if you spoke too loudly against it, you’d get a visit in the middle of the night by some rather nasty looking guys in suits, telling you that you could be sent to prison for Un-American activities.  I can.  Or the Joseph McCarthy era that destroyed the lives of thousands.   

We were morally outraged when we found out about the gulags in Siberia.  Ask some of the older Japanese-Americans what the American detention camps were like during World War II.  Or would you rather we talked about the chain-gangs that were quite popular in the south. 

We were up in arms when Putin was elected president of Russia.  Oh, how could they, we said.  He had been a member of the KGB.  But, excuse me, wasn’t George Bush Sr., the former head of the CIA? 

Russia is also the mother country of my wife.   

PRAVDA.Ru.  PRAVDA.Ru is a news agency and they report news from their perspective.  They give people like me a chance to enter into the field of Journalism, an opportunity that is afforded to only a few here in America.  

Editors, reporters and journalists have a moral responsibility to call it as they see it.  Not through rose color glasses, or trying to win a popularity contest – but to report it straight.   

PRAVDA.Ru does not tell any of their writers what to write, or the slant to write it from. That is responsible journalism. 

One final thing, before we judge another country or tell them how to live their lives, we should look back in our own history.  I am thinking about two civilian cities that were of no military or strategic  value.  These cites were not connected with their government activities, and neither was the seat of any part of their government or their military.  The two cities: Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  

Michael Berglin

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