Another Republican Hawk has been caught using fake evidence to further his own military agenda
Senator Jim Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma has gotten himself in the news again lately. Now, normally it isn’t unusual for a Republican politician to get his or her name in the news by saying or doing something stupid. This time around, Jim Inhofe has gotten his name mixed in with a hot geopolitical topic; the conflict in Ukraine.
Senator Inhofe has been one of many Congressmen pushing for a harder line on the Ukraine issue. Inhofe particularly has been pushing to send arms to the Ukrainian government, and has been calling for deeper Western military involvement to prop up the regime in Kiev.
Inhofe gave a speech on the Senate floor in which he called for the Obama Administration to immediately send arms to the Kiev authorities, and put more economic pressure on Russia to deter it from arming and supporting East-Ukraine rebels. The reason, however, there is a controversy is because Inhofe brought what he called “evidence” that Russia was directly invading East Ukraine with tanks and heavy weapons.
Well, it turns out the “evidence” was fake. Inhofe showed pictures of what did appear to be a column of Russian tanks rolling down a road. It could have been in Ukraine. That is, until the photos were analyzed more closely and revealed to be internet screen-shots of Russian troops during the war against Georgia in 2008. The tanks in the picture were real, and were Russian. They were just from a different conflict, many years earlier.
It’s been over a year since the chaos in Ukraine began, with thousands of lives lost as a result. In recent months, the Obama Administration has been considering whether or not to send arms to the Ukrainian government. Of course, the weapons would only be for “defensive reasons”, according to administration officials.
Well, Jim Inhofe has been one of many Senators to be active on the Ukraine issue. Inhofe was staunch at first in defending the “evidence” he presented. Then when it was clear he had been duped, he tried to backtrack. Inhofe blamed Ukrainian sources for misleading him with the photos.
Inhofe even said that one of the Ukrainian military personnel responsible for giving him the “evidence” was a Colonel named Semen Semenchenko. Let me spell that again: Semen Semenchenko. Right away I suspect that these characters might not be entirely honest with what their handling.
Granted, Inhofe was possibly deceived in this issue. The conflict in Ukraine has been a hot one, including the propaganda war (on both sides) that is involved. Is it possible that Ukrainian sources mislead Inhofe and others with false intelligence to goad the US into sending arms and ramping up more pressures on Russia? Of course. Does it matter, or excuse Inhofe? Not at all.
Inhofe and other hawks in Congress are all part of the same great problem. Let’s get deeply involved in another war we have nothing to do with across the world. Send more weapons, export more democracy. Now, Jim Inhofe is caught selling a heightened conflict in Ukraine and feels no need to research his position’s defenses before making his case. Whether or not he was deceived by Ukrainian sources or not is irrelevant.
Right-wingers have no issue with using false evidence to support a war. What was the invasion of Iraq supported by again? That’s right, “bad intelligence.” In other words, “fake evidence.” Ukraine is not a special case. Inhofe and other hawks could care less about whether the evidence justifying us arming the Ukrainians is true. As long as they aren’t held personally culpable when its proven to be false. That’s where Inhofe’s problem is now.
Honestly, no good would come out of selling the Ukrainians weapons. It wouldn’t guarantee the Kiev government a victory over rebels, let alone victory over a theoretical Russian army. All it would do is piss the Russians off more, which forces them to respond by sending more of their own weapons and such to their rebel allies in East Ukraine. Ukraine has become one big geopolitical showdown, and the line between democracy and truth has long been blurred.
While Inhofe’s situation isn’t totally unique, it does reveal a war-monger caught in the act of selling more war on false evidence. While it may be so that Russia is supporting the rebels in East Ukraine, we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for bolstering the conflict over false pretenses. If we have to resort to lying to sell wars in favor of “democracy”, then does that make us better than the Russians?