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Tell Congress to stop the Biden administration from funding wars in Ukraine and Israel

(LifeSiteNews) — Most books about history are one-sided arguments. Those about the history of war especially so. This one is different. It is about two wars, one spiritual, the other in Ukraine – with our author placed, at least at first, in the middle. 

Ryan Miller’s account of his experiences as a humanitarian volunteer in this war seems at first glance to be little more than a gonzo backpacker’s diary. If you persist until the end, the series of dark, unsettling and desperate picaresques resolves into a powerful story of one man being beckoned by God through wickedness to the Catholic faith. He begins in confusion and ends in conversion. It is a tale told with humility signifying everything which brought him to that moment. 

To join him on this journey is to share directly in the chaos within and without him. Miller is a man in the midst of a mad world. He takes no sides, itself surprising in a highly polarized information war. Being a former U.S. soldier himself, he is wise to the fact that both sides have their own histories. To him, “there are no good guys.”

His faith begins as a protestant Christianity of habit, a custom of his tribe, like some family memento of a time he never really knew. His experiences of war and of himself resolve in the end in the mercy of Christ. It is rare to witness a man so guileless in recounting his journey home through a living hell. Miller has written no alibi here.  

To read his book is to see a sort of Hunter S. Thompson saved in the manner of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose despair was dissolved in Christ’s embrace. There is ugliness here, and no vanity. It is an unlikely yet true story of redemption. 

Miller gives himself to sin, confessing frequently to the fear he feels. 

“I am terrified of dying horribly,” he says.  

Fear without danger is the anxious plague of the grazing consumer. Miller’s is a terror as yet unknown to many in the West. It is important that they hear of this before it comes to them, too.  

At times close to death, at others simply mad with fear, he is frank in a way that few men are about the realization that life can end abruptly, now, to you. War memoirs can be glorious to read or depressing, but Miller’s has none of the romance or poetry of Ernst Junger’s Storm of Steel, and replaces the operatic tragedy of Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front with a blunt account of mechanical killing.  

He relates the death of a group of Donbass separatists with the directness of a trained soldier. He shows, but does not tell. The Ukrainians shell them, report “four dead.” The separate peace of these few was blown to bits, and so were they. Miller includes a picture of the gun crew in the aftermath. Why did they kill these men, so like themselves? They had seemed too comfortable in their trench, and so they were no more. 

These are the kind of stories you do not hear in the news. 

The dark material is very dark indeed. Miller takes you behind the headlines, to the Polish border. This is the first dip into the deep current of evil which flows from the chaos of war, and it comes at the beginning of the book. 

Miller shows the reader the “dickers” – a term he says is an Englishman’s word for the rough men who lurk at the crossing to kidnap unchaperoned women and children. 

“These will be trafficked,” says Miller. 

He notes that the danger is not limited to those desperate women and children whose husbands are not permitted to leave Ukraine with them. The lurking predators are a threat to anyone who notices them. Miller describes some “Latvians” taking photos of him and his companions, and the deep unease he feels at being “made” by people who trade stolen children in the night. 

He details his frequent surrender to the voluntary insanity of drunkenness, to him its a sort of refuge which sours – along with the pleasures of the flesh – the sense of deep shame and isolation. This candor partners with an absence of pride in his obvious and understated courage. Miller passes quickly over the fact that he and his friends did much to disrupt the human traffickers, preferring to linger on his laudable scorn for the journalists happy to do nothing than bear false witness. 

There is a reason we have never heard of this awful trade. It would make for unsettling headlines. Miller’s ire indicates that we have our brave Fourth Estate to thank for that.  

His mission to bring blankets, medical supplies and to foster the growth of a genuinely humanitarian mission is also stated without self-regard. He heaps praise on those who have risked their lives, unprompted, to do the same. That we have heard so little of them is again a testament to the fact that they are not all “true believers” in the media war. 

Miller notes that of all the volunteers it is the British who seem most fanatical about the narrative of a just war against Russia. According to him it is Britain, the cradle of liberalism, which has given this war its most ardent foreign fanatics.  

“Many Brits seem to be true believers in this cause, without exception. Many Americans are skeptical about this war, with some true believers sprinkled in.” 

He thinks that the U.S. is “just as responsible as Russia for the destruction of Ukraine.” He also contends that the Russians are restrained, and says they routinely avoid attacking humanitarian aid workers. Both sides, he says, have committed horrible crimes. He is no partisan, with the war seeming cartoonish at times, at others like a diabolical conspiracy against mankind, in which his own government is equally culpable.  

Miller does not restrict himself to the common trope that “war is a racket,” which is no less true for being hackneyed. In his tenth chapter, he says, “I see the [western] media following the same pattern they did with COVID,” explaining in his view how the narrative is shaped according to “…a real pattern in media and bureaucratic rhetoric. Look at any crisis in the last fifteen years or so, and you’ll see it.”

What Miller also sees is the geopolitical crisis engulfing the West, which may see NATO’s defeat in Ukraine eclipsed by a dramatic escalation. He sees the “dilapidation” of the Western “global order and a spiral into World War Three.” He thinks this war has already begun. Threatened with the loss of dollar supremacy and faced with a rival power bloc in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Miller says bluntly, “We have gone to war for less,” noting that “the media have been normalizing war with Russia for months now.”

His book was published on March 5, 2024, days before French President Emmanuel Macron began a series of threats to send French troops to fight the Russians. “France and the Baltics are ready to invade Ukraine,” reported Modern Diplomacy on March 19, warning “the world is closer to nuclear war.” The Chief of Staff of the French Army, Pierre Schill, wrote on March 20 in Le Monde that “France is ready,” in a statement which cites its ground forces and nuclear weapons. 

Reports are circulating that the Chinese will intervene militarily, if NATO or the U.S. attacks Russia. 

With U.S. Special Forces confirmed on the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen and Penghu, close to the Chinese mainland, the rumors of war are growing. 

Miller’s personal journey is a powerful witness to the urgent need for Christ in a world menaced by the replacement of one evil with another. His story has the power to inspire millions of disaffected young women and men, whose restless hearts will find only bitterness in dissipation and despair.  

This is a book about meaning, and its ultimate source in Christ, without whom there are no just wars. Just war. 

Ryan Miller’s “The Volunteer’s War – A First Hand Account of the Russia-Ukraine War” is available on Amazon. 

Tell Congress to stop the Biden administration from funding wars in Ukraine and Israel