Preparing for War

Putin is a Mass Murderer

Vladimir Putin has been preparing for war for a very long time. This website, and every website in the world, is under constant attack. The majority of the attacks appear to be from sources either based in Russia, or from countries closely aligned with Russia.

I don’t want to overstate this. These attacks are not high level, highly technical and concerted attacks. For the most part the attacks are nothing more than a minor annoyance. But hosting a website has given me a specific lens on Russian strategy. I can read in the logs that Russia has been preparing for war for a very long time.

What interest could Russia possibly have in a website with an audience of two? The answer to that question lies in what has happened in every Western democracy in the past decade. Russia has used infected servers to act as “bots” or “mules” to spread misinformation and black propaganda, as well to launch cyber-attacks.

No website is too small, or too inconsequential, to be ignored. Every server hosting content on the web is targeted and targeted repeatedly. The clear objective of Russian intelligence is to disrupt and destroy democracy everywhere, in all of it’s forms.

September 1, 1939

September 1, 1939

Parker J. Palmer

W.H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939” was written in response to Germany’s invasion of Poland and the start of World War II. I was six months old at the time, so I’ve been watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the same horrific sense of deja vu so many of us feel.

Now in my 80s and weary of war, it’s tempting to say, “This is where I came in,” and leave the theatre so I don’t have to watch this film again. But no. I’m posting this poem this morning to remind myself that Auden had it right:

  • All I have is a voice. But that voice gives me a particle of power that many do not have. I must use it or lose it, use it in support of the common good.
  • I must work with others to “undo the folded lie”—the lie that might makes right, that “efficient authoritarianism” is better than “messy democracy,” a lie that now flourishes in my own country.
  • “No one exists alone… We must love one another or die.” Those words have been true as long as our species has been on the face of the earth. Anyone who thinks otherwise is massively deluded.
  • We may be “defenceless under the night,” but we never lack for opportunities to “flash out wherever the just exchange their messages” and “show an affirming flame.” In every way we can, let us say no to the night and yes to whatever brings light.

[Art work by Normal Rockwell, plus (1) Hank WIllis Thomas and (2) Eric Gottesman whose “For Freedoms” project (3) is updating older works of art: (1) (2) (3)]