(LifeSiteNews) – In 2003, as the United States was preparing to invade Iraq, I came very close to dropping out of law school to enlist in the United States Army. I remember sharing a hotel room near Fort Meade for prospective recruits with a young Haitian immigrant who was going into the army because his mother wanted him to stay out of trouble. I remember doing so well on the ASVAB test, that the testing instructor looked up from the scantron sheet and told me, “here comes a future general.” I also remember doing so poorly on my vision test, on account of my severe color blindness, that the recruiter told me that I would never see a battle up close. Given my ASVAB scores I would be a great paper pusher. No thanks, and thank God.
Like many other Americans, I now understand that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq were doomed before they began. The day’s heady notions of being welcomed as liberators, of nation building, and of injecting democracy into the Muslim world ran head-on into 1,000 years of Middle East history.
I am writing this piece now to directly and unequivocally condemn Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. Fortunately, LifeSiteNews is a publication with the journalistic integrity to publish differing points of view. This opinion is my own and not necessarily the opinion of LifeSiteNews or its staff.
The Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine is a textbook example of an unjust war. None of the six basic criteria for a just war are met: possessing just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, having the right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end and means being proportional.
Vladimir Putin claims that Ukrainian overtures towards the EU and NATO threaten Russian sovereignty and, therefore, invading and annexing Ukraine is a just cause. This is a very weak claim, to put it mildly.
Ukraine has the misfortune of being geographically located between Russia and the EU. On matters of the economy, rational Ukrainians prefer to be allied with the prosperous and peaceful European Union (with all its moral and political defects) than with the autocratic, corrupt, and aggressive Russian Federation.
Militarily, Ukraine is located between the military spheres of influence of the Russian Federation – which collaborates with Iran, Venezuela and Communist China – and NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headed up by the United States and the United Kingdom. Given the history of the Ukraine, with many living Ukrainians still remembering their parents or grandparents surviving or perishing during the Holodomor (the forced starvation of 4-7 million Ukrainians) at the hands of their Soviet/Russian neighbors, the choice is crystal clear.
Far from being a provocation, the fact that Ukraine decided to look to the West for prosperity and defense was always the only rational option.
Mr. Putin also argues that Ukraine has been carrying out a genocide against the ethnic Russian population of Eastern Ukraine. Of course no reliable sources have verified any such genocide. Instead, Putin’s forces have actively been destabilizing and arming the rebels for over a decade; remember Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 where 298 innocent souls lost their lives to these Russian-backed rebels.
While Putin states that the Minsk agreement has been violated, the truth is that the agreements were always fragile, unnecessarily complex, and never fully observed by either side. Clearly, the Ukrainians, like any other modern nation in a historically complex region, have a right to try to maintain their current internationally recognized territorial integrity and not allow neighbors to erode it by the use of force. Regardless, the overwhelming use of force by Putin towards the entire country of Ukraine, not just the border regions, was never the last resort to settle the ongoing dispute in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
Declared by a proper authority
As always, the first victims of any tyrant are the people having to live under the tyrant’s thumb.
Although under international law, Putin is recognized as possessing the proper authority as head of state, there is a good argument to be made that his authority is illegitimate based on the widespread fraud and corruption that lead to his repeated elections. In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, elections always yield the same result, a comfortable victory for Putin and a controlled opposition in the communist party, which always takes second place. Significant political adversaries are imprisoned or killed or both.
I know many readers will complain that Joe Biden himself is guilty of winning an election through fraud. I actually agree that widespread ballot harvesting and a COVID-excused mail-in ballot free-for-all likely influenced the U.S. election, but that does not change the analysis of Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Right intention and reasonable chance of success
One point on which I disagree with many conservatives concerns Putin’s sincerity. Putin, we are told, is a man of his word, and we must take him at his word when he issues threats or gives reasons for his actions. I reject this reading.
Putin is a former KGB agent who deceived others for a living in the Soviet Union and then maneuvered his way to gain the Russian presidency by appointment. His grip on power has been strengthened not by good governance, sincerity, and popularity, but by Soviet-style elimination of free speech, promotion of propaganda, and weakening of any independent institutions. Therefore, the only intention that we can safely assume from any actions taken by Putin is the will to power in a physical and political sense. What possible good intention is there on the part of Putin in violently invading a neighboring nation that does not want him there? None. With regard to a chance of success, only time will tell. Russia is a much bigger nation with a powerful, if outdated, military. On the other hand, Ukraine has been preparing for war since 2014, when Putin ordered the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
For a war to be just, the means being employed must be proportional to the end that is desired. Given that the first element of a just cause is not present in this war, any use of force would be considered disproportionate. The fact that a massive unilateral military invasion of a sovereign nation is causing many hundreds of civilian casualties and a million or more refugees means that Putin’s actions are absolutely disproportional.
Every element must be met in order for a war to be considered just. In the case of the Russian war on Ukraine, none of the requirements are satisfied.
Many in conservative circles argue that we must be careful not to provoke Russia into a third world war. I fully agree with this statement, but it must not be considered synonymous with appeasing Putin. When it comes to conservatives and Putin, I hear echos of Chamberlain’s “peace for our time.” But as a conservative, an American patriot, and a lover of freedom I believe in Reagan’s “peace through strength.”
None of us have enough information to know what the best course of action is to end the war as soon as possible and reduce the suffering of innocent people trapped in this war. Would a no-fly zone help or hinder, would U.S. military presence deter or escalate, would further sanctions on Russian exports, especially oil and gas, do more good or cause more misery? Should Ukraine become a member of the EU or of NATO?
These are all open questions and no one really knows the answers. The only simple solution is not guaranteed to stop Putin’s aggression, and it is the one that Biden and European nations are least likely to adopt due to blind ideology, and that is reducing the world’s dependance on Russian oil and gas by opening up production and exploration of energy on their own lands. Aside from that, I really do not feel qualified to opine on what specific things could end this war, but my gut tells me showing weakness is not one of them.
Putin knew that invading Ukraine would destabilize the world, cause great suffering to innocent people in Ukraine and in Russia, and present these conundrums to the world. Putin is the evil instigator here. As morally corrupt as Biden, Trudeau, and Macron may be, and as megalomaniacal the intentions of Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum are, the only one to blame in this war is Vladimir Putin.
Please read the latest from LifeSiteNews about the text of the Act of Consecration which was just released by the Vatican: 'BREAKING: Text of Pope Francis’ consecration of ‘humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine’ released'
PETITION UPDATE (3/23/22):
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25.
On March 15, the Holy See Press Office wrote:
On Friday 25 March, during the Celebration of Penance at which he will preside at 17.00 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The same act, on the same day, will be carried out in Fatima by His Eminence Cardinal Krajewski, Apostolic Almoner, as envoy of the Holy Father.
This unexpected and monumental announcement comes after the Catholic bishops of Ukraine issued an urgent and heartfelt plea to the Holy Father on Ash Wednesday, asking that he make the consecration as Our Lady of Fatima had requested. The bishops wrote:
Responding to this prayer, we humbly ask Your Holiness to publicly perform the act of consecration to the Sacred Immaculate Heart of Mary of Ukraine and Russia, as requested by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima.
May the Mother of God, Queen of Peace, accept our prayer: Regina pacis, ora pro nobis! In July 1917, Our Lady of Fatima gave the three visionaries this message, asking for the explicit consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart:
To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
Our Lady of Fatima then repeated the request in 1929, when she appeared to Sr. Lucia saying:
"The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation."
While Pope John Paul II made an “entrustment-consecration” of the world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, he deliberately avoided making the explicit mention of Russia as Our Lady had requested.
Following the announcement that Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine, LifeSiteNews is now asking the Pope to ensure that the consecration is performed precisely as Our Lady of Fatima requested. In order to fulfil the request Our Lady made, the Pope must "order" the "bishops of the world" to make the consecration of Russia "in union with him and at the same time."
Along with this, the day of consecration must be a "day of prayer and worldwide reparation."
The importance of the specifications made by Our Lady was noted by Sr. Lucia. Having seen a copy of Pope John Paul II’s consecration text prior to the 1984 “entrustment-consecration,” she said “That consecration cannot have a decisive character.”
Then in 1985, following Pope John Paul II’s "entrustment-consecration," Sr. Lucia observed that:
"There was no participation of all the bishops, and there was no mention of Russia." She was then asked, "So the consecration was not done as requested by Our Lady?" to which she replied: "No. Many bishops attached no importance to this act."
With Pope Francis’ proposed consecration only days away, LifeSiteNews is urging him to fulfil the request of Fatima, to "order" the bishops to join him in making the consecration and to make the day one of “prayer and worldwide reparation.”
Bishop Athanasius Schneider has also composed a prayer to be said for the consecration of Russia, in the manner Our Lady asked for:
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, you are the holy Mother of God and our tender Mother. Look upon the distress in which the Church and the whole of humanity are living because of the spread of materialism and the persecution of the Church. In Fatima, you warned against these errors, as you spoke about the errors of Russia. You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Implore your Divine Son to grant this special grace for the Pope: that he might consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart, so that Russia will be converted, a period of peace will be granted to the whole world, and your Immaculate Heart will triumph, through an authentic renewal of the Church in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic faith, of the sacredness of Divine worship and of the holiness of Christian life. O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our dear Mother, turn your merciful eyes to us and graciously hear this our trusting prayer.
+Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
PETITION UPDATE (3/2/22) -
The Ukrainian Catholic bishops have specifically asked Pope Francis to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima.
Here is a link to their Ash Wednesday letter: http://kmc.media/2022/03/02/yepyskopy-ukrayiny-prosyat-papu-prysvyatyty-ukrayinu-ta-rosiyu-sercyu-mariyi.html
Please WATCH the new John-Henry Westen show about this momentous event: https://www.lifesitenews.com/episodes/ukraines-catholic-bishops-ask-pope-francis-to-consecrate-russia-to-the-immaculate-heart-of-mary
Then, please read LifeSiteNews latest story on this amazing development: 'Ukraine’s Catholic bishops ask Pope Francis to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary'
The great drama now is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. How far will it go, how will the West and especially the U.S. respond, and will China now be tempted to attack Taiwan? These questions are on everyone’s mind, including fear that it might lead to a far greater war.
It is hard to know exactly what to say other than Russia’s invasion must be condemned. And, that the world must now pray for peace.
Keeping those things in mind, LifeSite now proposes to resurrect this petition - now, more urgent than before - asking Pope Francis to reconsecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Please SIGN and SHARE this important petition to Pope Francis, imploring him to reconsecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the same way that Our Lady of Fatima asked in 1917.
We humbly ask Pope Francis to use the following wording:
“In accordance with Our Lady’s request at Fatima, I, Pope Francis, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with all the bishops of the world.”
“I also consecrate Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with all the bishops of the world.”
The bishops’ wording should be:
“In accordance with Our Lady’s request at Fatima, I, _______________, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at the same time as, and in union with, Pope Francis.”
Speaking in Rome only 5 years ago, Cardinal Raymond Burke called on the Catholic faithful to “work for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary” in fidelity to the request by Our Lady of Fatima.
The Cardinal explained:
"Certainly, Pope Saint John Paul II consecrated the world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984. But, today, once again, we hear the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction."
This call, whether in 1917, or 1984, or in 2017, is EVEN MORE relevant today!
Pope Saint John Paul II himself wanted to name Russia explicitly in his Consecration, but in the end yielded to pressure not to from advisors. Cardinal Josef Cordes, former president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, confirmed this fact on May 13, 2017, based on his own conversation with the sainted pope.
However, after several years of confusion, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published "The Message of Fatima," on June 26, 2000, in which we learn that Sr. Lucia confirmed that the Pope's consecration was, in fact, done according to Our Lady's wishes (emphasis added):
Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished ("Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984": "Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984": Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.
But, Cardinal Burke explained why a consecration including Russia is so important: "[It] is at once a recognition of the importance which Russia continues to have in God’s plan for peace and a sign of profound love for our brothers and sisters in Russia."
For those who may object to calling for the reconsecration of Russia, on the basis that it has already been done, Cardinal Burke recalled the words of Pope St. John Paul II who, in 1982, during his consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart noted: “Mary’s appeal is not for just once. Her appeal must be taken up by generation after generation, in accordance with the ever new ‘signs of the times’. It must be unceasingly returned to. It must ever be taken up anew.”
Burke, former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, gave his address in the month of the centenary of Our Lady of Fatima’s first apparition to the three shepherd children.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this urgent petition to Pope Francis, urging him to reconsecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and imploring God to quell the hostilities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Russia’s invasion is an opportunity to recall the message of Our Lady of Fatima' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/russias-invasion-is-an-opportunity-to-recall-the-message-of-our-lady-of-fatima
'Russia attacks Ukraine: explosions in multiple cities as troops move across borders' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/russia-launches-attack-on-ukraine-explosions-in-multiple-cities-as-troops-move-across-the-border/
The monumental erosion of basic rights and freedoms – the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom to petition the government, freedom from medical coercion, freedom of religion – that the entire world has endured during the COVID pandemic – along with the social media algorithm-induced-hysteria – has created such a sense of mistrust in our institutions, so much so that many conservatives no longer believe what happens in front of their very eyes. We cannot allow this entrenched cynicism to grab a hold of us. We must never succumb to the idea that 2+2 does not equal four, no matter how much we may dislike the person asking the question.
As a conservative, do I deplore the woke iconoclasm that has gripped most of the West? Absolutely. Do I approve of the deep state’s machinations to promote abortion and the destruction of traditional values at home and abroad? Never. I devote every waking hour I am not with my wife and children to these matters. But I continue to love my country all the same. I continue to reject the abuse of basic human rights no matter the politics and faith of the perpetrator and the victim.
Just like I stand with the innocent pre-born child, I stand with the innocent people of Ukraine, unequivocally and unapologetically.
Gualberto Garcia Jones is vice president of LifeSiteNews.