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Bill Straub: Human atrocities in Ukraine don’t pursuade Massie to vote against Russia

A physician with a particularly strong stomach needs to be called in to evaluate the mental health of our boy, Rep. Thomas Massie. He is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives but he appears to be suffering from delusions that he’s actually serving in the Russian Duma.

Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, is vigorously vying to be identified as Russia President Vladimir Putin’s favorite American lawmaker, a distinction that only but a handful of contenders would quickly, and understandably, run away from. The next thing you know he’ll be standing on the platform next to Vlad viewing the Moscow Victory Day Parade next month.

And this is the guy residents of the 4th Congressional District covering Northern Kentucky want to represent them in DC. Heaven help us.

The characterization may seem more than a bit strong but what say we go over the Whiz Kid’s activities for the past few days, shall we?

You may have heard there’s a war going on in Ukraine, instigated by Russia, who invaded the territory without provocation to, in Putin’s warped way of thinking, to “de-nazify” the region.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

What a sweet guy.

Unfortunately for Vlad the war hasn’t gone according to Hoyle. The allegedly powerful Russian army has suffered massive personnel losses – including a whole crop of generals. Valuable equipment is left in ruins and troops have been staved off outside the capital of Kyiv.

Where the hell is Zhukov when you need him?

The Russians have responded to their unfortunate circumstances by committing what can only be described as war crimes, atrocities on the civilian population bordering on genocide.

The United States, as the most powerful nation on earth and the leader of the free world, has led international support for the Ukraine defenders, providing aid and implementing economic sanctions against the Russian Bear intended to send the nation reeling. Given the dire situation, the U.S. should be doing everything it can short of sending in ground troops and providing direct air support.

Even Congress is doing its part, which in this day and age is almost unheard of. On March 2, the House passed a resolution supporting sanctions against Russia, that reaffirmed Ukraine’s territorial integrity and endorsed military aid to that beleaguered country. The measure passed 426-3. One of the three, all Republicans, it should be noted, was Massie.

A week later, on March 9, the House passed a bill suspending Russian oil and gas imports. It passed 414-17. Yet again, our boy Massie said nyet.

That brings us to March 17 when the House voted 424-8 to strip Russia of its most favored nation trading status. The eight anti votes came from Republicans, including Massie.

You may have noticed a pattern developing here.

Of course, with Massie, it’s impossible to hit bottom. Late last week the House passed a non-binding resolution reaffirming its “unequivocal support” for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance among 28 European countries – several, like Poland, bordering the region in conflict – along with the U.S. and Canada.

The resolution further urged President Biden to establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO headquarters to underscore the alliance’s “support for shared democratic values and committed to enhancing NATO’s capacity to strengthen democratic institutions within NATO member, partner, and aspirant countries.”

Ukraine is an “aspirant country,” a status that appears to be driving Putin mad. Weakening the alliance is one of Russian president’s primary goals.

The measure passed 362-63. All 63 no votes were Republicans, including, as you’ve no doubt deduced by now, Massie, who said in a Tweet that NATO is “obsolete.” The reasons he gave were “USSR collapsed,” “EU formed,” “Putin was unable to roll over Ukraine,” and “Americans are done subsidizing socialism,” whatever the hell that means.

Of course, without NATO there’s no telling just how far Putin might proceed with his expansionist ambitions in a bullying attempt to restore the former USSR to its erstwhile glory. And one is left to wonder whether Russia wouldn’t have achieved greater success in Ukraine if NATO went the way of the dodo.

On Wednesday, Massie went five-for-five, joining six other Republicans (one, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY., said she made a mistake and intended to support the measure) voting against a bill calling on the State Department to develop a process to obtain and preserve evidence of Russian war crimes against the people of Ukraine. The bill further requires the Biden administration to submit a report to Congress about the process for bringing charges in a court of appropriate jurisdiction if such claims are validated.

Human Rights Watch, which investigates and reports on abuses occurring in all corners of the world, reported on April 3 that it has documented several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations against civilians in occupied areas of the Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions of Ukraine. These include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between Feb. 27 and March 14. Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood.

Ukraine officials have since reported finding hundreds of people buried in mass graves and bodies of executed civilians lying in the streets of the city of Bucha.

“Those who carried out these abuses are responsible for war crimes,” Human Rights Watch said.

But Massie is unmoved by the slaughter, rationalizing his no vote with a phony-baloney excuse.

“Some of my colleagues and I voted against this resolution in part because it contains language that could set the table for bringing spurious war crimes charges against American service members for mistakes made during military operations in theaters such as Afghanistan,” he tweeted.

The measure deals specifically with Russia, Ukraine, and no other conflict. Regardless, turning your back on the execution of civilians is savage and barbarous, although Massie appears totally oblivious to the fact.

Massie, as should be obvious by now, has chosen the path of appeasement, like Chamberlain and the Sudetenland, and we all know how well that turned out. Let Putin have his way and let the U.S. act like nothing has happened.

Appearing on the Kibbe on Liberty podcast on Feb. 12, Massie basically said he doesn’t want Putin to get mad at us as he directs a process leaving millions homeless and others with bullet holes in the backs of their heads.

“I’m opposed to our intervention in Ukraine,” he said. “We should not get in a game of chicken with another nuclear power. We should not be, it’s not even a proxy war. It would be a hot war we should not be there in that capacity. We should also not engage in an economic war with them.”

Massie said getting into an economic showdown with Russia would be “folly,” noting that its economy is smaller than South Korea’s and it doesn’t produce a lot of “finished products,” relying largely on oil. It also provides the American farm community with a lot of fertilizer, like potash.

“We imported, a couple of years ago, the number was $700 million in fertilizer from Russia,” he said. “If you think food’s expensive now wait until you see at the end of this summer because the price of it’s more than doubled and you can take just a small percentage of that off the market…and you’re going to see food prices go through the roof again.”

It’s no secret the U.S. and other countries may pay an economic price for isolating Russia, though the impact will be less than devastating. But what price is to be paid morally if America turns its back in a slaughter?

Massie further noted that only Congress can declare war under the Constitution and seemed to imply that some of the steps the U.S. has taken against Russia thus far constitute an act of aggression without House and Senate approval.

“Congress has the authority — the sole authority — to declare war, and this also means to make acts of war,” Massie was quoted as saying in the Washington Examiner. “And everyone is always trying to find a loophole to exploit to say that ‘No, and this treaty obligates us to war, or this agreement here obligates us to mutual defense.”

U.S. troops are not engaged in a hot war with Russia, no one is fighting under the American flag in Odessa. The U.S. is not declaring war against Russia and Russia is not declaring war against the U.S. But what’s really wrong with Massie’s analysis is that Congress has already approved every step taken against Russia along the way, though it’s been done without Massie’s personal consent.

And that’s not required by the Constitution.

And, of course, he hinted that the mess in Ukraine is partially the fault of the U.S.

“I think we’re jabbing, and have been jabbing, Russia in the eye by expanding NATO,” he said on the podcast. “It would be like they’re trying to have more presence in Cuba,” he said. “They feel threatened politically at home.”

Poor babies.

It’s obvious that Massie wouldn’t mind a bit if the good people of Ukraine went straight to hell. He’s not in the business of moral authority or standing with friends. Just let Putin go and do what he wants to.

And remember, Alaska is just across the Bering Strait.

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One Comment

  1. Ruth Bamberger says:

    Mattthew Lehman will be facing Tom Massie in the November election. This election gives NKY voters a chance to elect a representative who will address this region’s needs, and not be an off the wall performance politician like Massie who has brought nothing but embarrassment to our community. I would urge Bill to do a profile on Matt so that voters can see firsthand the opportunity they have to elect a member of Congress who is a born and bred NKYian, and knows what it means to represent us.

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