History’s Lessons for Just War and National Security

Russia’s War on Ukraine

St. Augustine painting
St. Augustine painting

Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General William T. Sherman had quite different philosophies of the conduct of war, but they had one opinion in common: war is terrible.  But to say that war is terrible is not to say that all war is unjust or immoral. Whether a war is just and moral depends upon both its purposes and its conduct.  When a nation’s sovereignty, peace, and vital economic interests are threatened by armed aggression or invasion, it must destroy the aggressor’s will to persist or see its cherished heritage and the rights and welfare of its people crushed or subdued. It is the solemn duty of a nation’s leaders to assure the survival and prosperity of all that its people rightly hold dear. Peaceful intentions and talk are not enough to deter aggressors driven by imperialistic leaders or ideologies. History teaches us that peaceful nations must be prepared to defend themselves or be swallowed up by tyranny. 

The concept of just conduct and means in war recognizes primarily that a distinction must be made between combatants and non-combatants. Non-combatants should never be deliberate or primary targets of military action. Senseless terrorism,  cruelty, and wanton destruction are prohibited. Besides the lives and health of civilians, the destruction of civilian properties that provide food, shelter, and medical attention should especially be avoided. Just conduct in war demands that prisoners of war must be treated humanely and respectfully. Torture of prisoners of war or non-combatants is prohibited. Additionally, the use of force must not be disproportionate to objectives, threats, or harm done. As much as prudence and realism will allow, the enemy must be treated in good faith to keep open the possibility of reconciliation. 

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In this long and ongoing discussion regarding the merits or demerits of our state legislatures submitting applications to Congress ordering that body to call for a new Article V Constitutional Convention, we must again reiterate that there are many genuine American patriots in the ranks of that movement, and more than a few scoundrels.  Several well-known and well-respected conservative leaders have endorsed this proposal as the only way to “save” our nation from its very long addiction to spending far more money than it ever takes in in the form of tariffs, taxes, fines, fees, etc.  Large numbers of everyday Americans have also endorsed this call for a new CON-CON, or as its leading advocate, Mark Meckler, calls it—a “Convention of States”.  Just within the past few weeks, a well-respected talk show host on the Upstate’s most popular talk radio station hosted a short discussion on the subject of a “Convention of States”.  Mostly it was a one-sided PRO-COS discussion featuring a guest who is a strong proponent of this COS and who works for Jim DeMint who, we should know, is also strongly in favor of a CON-CON, or a COS as they love to call it, as though a COS is somehow “different” than an Article V CON-CON.  Well, it is NOT!  It’s the same thing deceptively wrapped in glittering ribbons—a wonderful present just waiting for the American people to unwrap and begin to enjoy living under the U.S. Constitution as our Founders wanted us to live.  Yeah, sure it is.  Unfortunately, the host of this radio show allowed very little “discussion” of this topic and cut short the arguments of the three or four callers who disagreed with his obvious pro-COS stand. Too bad—that show could have been a genuine learning experience, as it usually is.

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Corruption and Bad Judgment Since Late 2013

2010 Ukraine Election Map. Blue shades favored pro-Russian policies.
2010 Ukraine Election Map. Blue shades favored pro-Russian policies.

On September 23, 2020, U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, released a report that revealed millions of dollars in questionable financial transactions between Hunter Biden and his associates and foreign individuals, including the wife of the former mayor of Moscow and individuals with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, as well as his highly paid consulting in Ukraine. Of particular concern is the conflict of interests arising from Hunter Biden accepting a position on the board of, and taking millions of dollars from, Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company with a long-standing reputation for corruption, while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president and the public face of the Obama administration’s handling of Ukraine policy. 

Below are the first two paragraphs of the Senate report’s executive summary.

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Joseph M Bianchi HeadshotOver the last few weeks, the images coming out of Ukraine have been horrific.  Thousands of people have been displaced, hundreds have died—and there does not seem to be any negotiable end in sight.  Russia’s Putin has seemingly unleashed a violent war of aggression on a neighboring, sovereign country who, for all intents and purposes, was simply minding its own business.

But are we getting the complete story, or simply what the Western media and power brokers want us to believe?

Indeed, there is no justification for the bombing of civilian targets and wreaking havoc on innocent men, women and children. Let that be clear. 

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ALERT:  Please be sure to read the URGENT-TAKE ACTION information at the end of this article. 

(Note:  I am indebted to one of the foremost constitutional scholars in our nation today, with her vast knowledge and her long struggle against the present dangers of calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention by CONGRESS, and for her determination to never give up—to keep on keeping on—to keep educating and fighting in this mad desire on the part of some of our fellow Americans to risk scrapping or amending out of existence the 1787 Constitution codified by dedicated patriots and sent down the halls of time to the present.  Her name is Joanna Martin, and she writes under the “pen name” of “Publius Huldah”. It is from her constant and patient education of this writer, me, over a long period of time that I draw the information and the inspiration to write about the possible dangers posed by a new CON CON.  Our Founders warned AGAINST ever calling another constitutional convention.  Joanna has long heeded their warnings, and has sent them out near and far—a modern-day ‘Paul Revere’ alerting her countrymen that there are those with “sinister motives” already among us, the COS “redcoats” are threatening, and that they have taken aim at our historic constitution.  Joanna is the MASTER, and I am her follower in this battle. In that, I am not alone.  Thank you, Joanna.  Now let us proceed.)

The Mykonos Vase (c. 750 to 650 B.C.) depicts one of the earliest renditions of the Trojan Horse tale from the Trojan Horse War (c.1260-1180 B.C.). Today, the term
The Mykonos Vase (c. 750 to 650 B.C.) depicts one of the earliest renditions of the Trojan Horse tale from the Trojan War (c.1260-1180 B.C.). Today, the term "Trojan Horse" refers to any trick or strategy that induces an adversary to invite an enemy or opponent into one's securely protected bastion.
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We've all heard stories about university administrators cracking down on free speech. But free expression is suffering even without these enablers, and that should worry us.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, University of Virginia senior Emma Camp powerfully defended freedom of expression as she described her own practice of self-censoring while on campus. In doing so, she highlighted the disappearance of free-speech culture, both in America at large and at a university with respectable free-speech credentials.

It is obvious that Camp values free expression and welcomes a diversity of viewpoints. In fighting for changes, she is also willing to face some consequences for her speech. Yet you feel her pain as she admits being fearful of speaking up, and her disappointment when she confesses to often taking the easy way out by remaining quiet.

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Commentary and Lessons from History

Russian MiG-29, February 2015
Russian MiG-29, February 2015

With few exceptions, the lock-step mainstream national media is proving an unreliable news source on the Russia-Ukraine War.  This makes a dangerous war even more dangerous.  The United States has not been as close to World War III since the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.  I remember those 13 days between October 13 and October 28 well, because I was an Air Force Photo-Radar Intelligence Officer at Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and had some responsibility for locating and identifying Soviet missile sites in Cuba.  Those days were far more ominous than the present situation in Ukraine to date, but there seems to be a reckless war fever stirred by some politicians, media pundits, and business executives that could easily push moral and intellectual objectivity and common sense aside and ignite devastating destruction and loss of life, which most people would later recognize as stupid and insane.

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