The fact that Putin is trying to justify the unjustifiable in Ukraine does not mean we must ignore the U.S. actions that fuel his narrative.

By Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept

There are no excuses or justifications for what Vladimir Putin is doing in Ukraine. His brutal invasion is a bald-faced act of aggression, replete with war crimes, and is rightly being condemned as such by large numbers of people and nations across the globe. The targeting of civilian populations and infrastructure is a heinous act that belongs in the annals of major nation state crimes alongside the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Ukraine War

Many governments of the world have denounced Putin’s actions. But when it comes to the U.S. and its NATO allies, these condemnations demand greater scrutiny. While many statements from Western leaders may be accurate regarding the nature of Russia’s actions, the U.S. and other NATO nations are in a dubious position to take a moralistic stance in condemning Russia. That they do so with zero recognition of their own hypocrisy, provocative actions, and history of unbridled militarism — particularly in the case of the U.S. — is deeply problematic. From the beginning of this crisis, Putin has exploited the militarism and past bombing campaigns of the U.S. and NATO to frame his own warped justification for his murderous campaign in Ukraine. But the fact that Putin is trying to justify the unjustifiable does not mean that we must ignore the U.S. actions that fuel his narrative.

In recent days, U.S. and NATO officials have highlighted Russia’s use of banned weapons, including cluster munitions, and have said their use constitutes violations of international law. This is indisputably true. What goes virtually unmentioned in much of the reporting on this topic is that the U.S., like both Russia and Ukraine, refuses to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

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