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Media appalled by horrific images from Ukraine turn warmongering

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It’s been just 12 days since President Biden sparked a media storm when he said Vladimir Putin shouldn’t stay in power.

Some media said Biden had gone too far. Many others were confused by the White House’s immediate return. And when the president stuck to his original words — not to call for regime change, just express moral outrage — it was all a confusing mess.

But now the mood in much of the press has darkened dramatically. Many journalists have turned staunchly warmongering, demanding to know why the administration is not doing more, including sending troops to Ukraine.

The fear of nuclear war suddenly fades into the background.

A woman walks among destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

It’s not hard to see why. Images and videos of the Russian massacre in the town of Bucha have piqued the conscience of the world. The 300 civilians who were executed, the women who were raped, the lone cyclist shot by two Russian tanks, these are simply unthinkable war crimes.


The Putin regime’s lies reached a shocking new low when a state TV station said the deaths were faked and “the dead even seem to be starting to rise”. There is plenty of documentary evidence, no shortage of eyewitnesses. And Russia’s continued retreat will undoubtedly lead to the discovery of more corpses.

And it produced a marked change in the journalistic tone with regard to the war.

At a White House press briefing, NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked, “Why should someone like Vladimir Putin be viewed by the United States as someone who should be allowed to stay in power? ?”

Jen Psaki replied that “no, we are not calling for regime change. And that has not been our policy and continues to not be our policy”, while adding that Putin is a “war criminal”. .

Media appalled by horrific images from Ukraine turn warmongering

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE: Police are working through the identification process following the killing of civilians in Bucha, before sending the bodies to a morgue on the outskirts of kyiv, Ukraine on Wednesday.
(AP/Rodrigo Abd)

Alexander tried again: “People say, ‘So why not? If he is a war criminal, why should he be allowed to stay in power? “”Psaki just reworded the policy.

CBS radio reporter Steven Portnoy actually called for boots on the ground in response to “images of the atrocities”. He suggested “a military response led by the United States and international partners.”

“How do you get military troops from the United States and NATO into the field?” asked Psaki.

“Well,” Portnoy said, “the president described some outrageous things. You call them atrocities.”

PSAKI said it was not in America’s interest to be “at war with Russia”.

Days earlier, MSNBC host Ali Velshi called for “direct military involvement” in Ukraine, saying, “If ‘never again’ means anything, then now is the time to act.”

Suddenly, there seems to be a lot less worry about World War III.

Biden and the European Union yesterday imposed sanctions on two of Russia’s biggest banks, two of Putin’s daughters and the families of some aides and associates.


And yet, it begs the question of why it took six weeks of brutal targeting of civilians to induce the West to step up these sanctions. And an even more troubling question: what if the United States runs out of possible sanctions and Russia’s battered economy simply resists them?

The same goes for these semantic debates about why it is acceptable to send defensive weapons to Ukraine but not offensive weapons. And when European officials talk about the “phasing in” of coal sanctions against Russia, how long do you think Ukrainians have to save their country? That’s why Volodymyr Zelenskyy chastised the UN Security Council, saying the UN might as well shut down if it can’t respond to war crimes because Russia has veto power.

Media appalled by horrific images from Ukraine turn warmongering

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE: The lifeless body of a man with his hands tied behind his back lies on the ground in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday.
(AP/Vadim Ghirda)

Expelling some Russian diplomats, as some European countries do, is purely symbolic.

The overarching question currently being debated in some media circles is what it would take for the Biden administration to truly go full throttle. More massacres like in Bucha? Thousands more Ukrainian civilians killed? Putin using chemical weapons? Tactical nuclear weapons?


I’m torn like everyone else. Horrible images happen to me every day. The slow walking response is infuriating. And yet, I understand the need to be careful in a war on the border of a nuclear adversary.


But I wonder if there is a tipping point beyond which the world can no longer watch this happen.


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