Lets not get carried away with these reports of atrocities on civilians by Russian tr0ops in Ukraine.
No, I’m not repeating the ridiculous Russian assertion that these are all staged provocations by the Ukrainians designed to discredit the Red Army and get the West to further intervene. The pictures and their sources (NGOs, Western Journalists, etc) tell me this is real, and Russians are committing war crimes. But is it a matter of policy? Do the orders come from above? Are these incidents being used by the invaders to deliberately sow terror? Or are they individual acts by renegade soldiers and rogue units? Is it a breakdown in discipline, a local soldier’s riot, or is it all part of an evil plan hatched at the very top? And we know the Ukrainian PsyOps people are very good, and will do everything they can to mold public opinion in their favor. Remember My Lai.
In every war, there are atrocities committed by both sides, but we are talking genocide here, a specific crime with specific penalties, and very serious consequences. We need more evidence, we need to find actual orders from command units to soldiers in the field to deliberately brutalize the population. We need the testimony of witnesses, preferably those among the Russian forces. Not every Russian is a monster. Remember, My Lai was revealed because some American soldiers refused to participate, and bravely stepped up with the truth. The American armed forces do not deliberately target civilians, but it still happens. In fact, it happens all the time.
These incidents of torture and murder are very dramatic, and I have no doubt they are real, but they may not qualify as true genocide. Rape, murder, torture, looting, yes, but not necessarily genocide. There is already plenty of evidence that the Russians are deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure of no military value. They are blowing up residential buildings, hospitals, public venues of all sorts. This is where we already have plenty of evidence and need to concentrate our efforts. They are probably justifying this to themselves by saying “any tall building can be used to provide a lookout for artillery spotters” or “any reinforced structure can be used as a command bunker”. We all know the real reason is to sow despair and defeatism in the defenders, and to tie up Ukrainian resources in rescue, evacuation and shelter/relief work.
We know the Russians do this sort of thing, they have done it before, as in Syria, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence of war crimes. But the Russians also know how to mobilize the sincere outrage of the unjustly accused. We need plenty of evidence to go after Putin and his inner circle. There may be a memo trail, but it will be hidden very carefully. There may be intelligence eavesdrops, there will be whistleblowers. Still, we cannot afford to react spasmodically, or they will get away with it. We need intelligence, and we need witnesses, we need documentation. We need to build a solid case against Putin and his gang that can be used forever against his regime. Otherwise, they will continue doing it, and next time it will be worse.
Lets build a solid case in the court of world opinion that will pressure our capitalists and politicians to stop collaborating with Putin’s Russia for short term economic and political gain, and to make it harder for opportunists like the Chinese to use them for geopolitical purposes.