I love this country because I can write this without fear of risking my freedom; because it has taken me in; because I have prospered here; because it helped me to survive twice.

When I was a child, it fed me. The Unites States, together with Britain, flew in food and all other supplies for the 2 million people of Berlin for more than nine months. The effort defeated the attempt by the Russians to bring it to its knees and surrender by blocking off my hometown.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com

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(36) comments

Carlos Ponce

Pray for the people of Ukraine. Pray for the Russian people. But both Putin and Zelenskyy:[thumbdown]

Charles Douglas

The way the author represents himself on this platform....I wonder if any real appreciation exists for those who lost blood,sweat,tears, & body parts helping him to be free!

Craig Mason

Wow that is almost as insulting as if someone asked you if you actually appreciated the sacrifices made by leaders of the civil rights movement for you, Charles Douglas. Who do you think you are to question his sincerity or feelings of gratitude?

Charles Douglas

I don't question Craig Mason .....I do! I see what needs doing and I do! That is where you and I differ and you don't like it! I know!!!!! It is easy to crawl out from under a rock in Canada or Sweden after all the smoke is cleared and the shooting has stopped...telling somebody how to act!

It get easier to look at personal accomplishments won on the battlefield too. So unless you can talk this kind of sacrifice to me personally, from personl experience,....I don't want to hear it from you!!

Craig Mason

Charles what have you done, but to criticize and minimize another persons expression of gratitude to the United States and to the United States military. That tells me more about who you are than any thing else you “may” have accomplished. You just showed your true colors, and as a wise old woman told me once, “ Believe people when they show you who they are.”

Charles Douglas

And, Craig Mason...I know one should not have to by the way you go on here, ....but what have you done? You of all people wanting to name Traitors. That little saying that woman passed on to you probably fits you and your accomplishments!

Gerhard Meinecke

Mr. Douglas; my gratitude for the blood shed & lives lost liberating my birthplace is immense. I thought I expressed that. Sorry if if that was not clear enough.

Craig Mason

Carlos, Putin is a despot and a murderer and that has been proven by how many folks in his inner circle have died. If you disagree publicly you have signed your death warrant if you are Russian. If you support Putin in any way, you my friend are a traitor to the United States. For the record and you may remember this from your school days, communism is BAD!!!

Carlos Ponce

Putin - BAD! Zelensky - BAD!

Charles Douglas

Murder is bad, Pedophilia is bad...and if it's any Traitors to America hanging around it sure as [censored] is not Carlos Ponce! Let me give you a clue.....WOKE......WOKE-LEFT....SOCIALISM.....COMMUNISM!

Gary Miller

Craig > Communism is bad? If You think that why are your children in schools teaching communism is good and America is bad.

Bailey Jones

The idea of helping other nations repel unwarranted aggression and ideologies has always been at the heart of America's mythos. I'm extremely proud that we are supporting the Ukrainian people and President Zelenskyy.

And it's a nice bonus that we have the opportunity to support Ukraine while showing the rest of the world that our military tech is the finest on the planet.

It's disappointing, but no longer surprising, that some Americans can't find it within themselves to embrace these actions due to their association with a Democratic president, even when those actions have bipartisan congressional and public support.

Slava Ukraini!

Carlos Ponce

Americans want to help the Ukraine people, and some of our tax money is doing that but much of it winds up in the hands of Ukraine oligarchs. Military hardware we send winds up on the black market. This was even pointed out by your favorite news source NPR, Bailey.

https://www.npr.org/2022/12/02/1140260030/the-u-s-aims-to-ensure-that-the-aid-to-ukraine-goes-where-its-supposed-to-go

Jim Forsythe

Mark Cancian, senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies' International Security program, about government oversight of U.S. aid to Ukraine.

There have not been any reports about abuses or corruption, it's possible that something might come out. If anything like that came out, if there were intimations about abuse, that would undermine the bipartisan consensus that has existed in the country and in the Congress for supporting aid to Ukraine. I think that many people, if there were evidence of abuse, waste, fraud, would back away from the aid. And I think that would, you know, cause a lot of problems for sustaining Ukrainian resistance.

There's about $18 billion of the funding - a total of $68 billion that's been appropriated so far - that goes to defense industry that is supposed to backfill inventories that have been sent to Ukraine and new production for Ukraine. So it's about a third, a quarter of the money goes to defense industry. There are a bunch of other uses on the military side. Also, about half the money in general goes to military purposes and half to humanitarian and economic purposes.

https://www.npr.org/2022/12/02/1140260030/the-u-s-aims-to-ensure-that-the-aid-to-ukraine-goes-where-its-supposed-to-go

Nothing would be - or few things would be more damaging to sustaining bipartisan consensus than if, for instance, some of these anti-tank weapons showed up with Hezbollah because some Ukrainian decided to make some money on the side by selling the anti-tank weapons. So we can do that sort of tracking. Also, you know, a lot of the money goes directly to the Ukrainian government to support government operations. And that money, you know, goes to Kyiv. And I think it's reasonable there for pretty close accounting.

The government's doing a couple of things to track the money and the weapons. The various bills that have provided for the aid have given the government a few million dollars to increase their oversight. The United States tracks the weapons right to the point where we turn them over to the Ukrainians at some base in Poland. The United States has a small group in the embassy that works with the Ukrainian government to track the money and the weapons. The government has worked directly with their counterparts, including President Zelenskyy, to get their assurances that the money and weapons are going to the appropriate uses. And then there's some spot checks that sometimes the United States can make about both the weapons and the funding.

https://www.npr.org/2022/12/02/1140260030/the-u-s-aims-to-ensure-that-the-aid-to-ukraine-goes-where-its-supposed-to-go

Bailey Jones

Yep, Jim - It's not a coincidence that my Raytheon stock is outperforming everything else in my portfolio. Military aid is money in the pocketbooks of American workers and their 401Ks.

Our just-passed defense budget this year is over $817B, an 8% increase over last year. Whenever I suggest that maybe we need to reel in military spending I'm met with a wall of opposition. The world is a dangerous place, they say. We have enemies that are just waiting for an opening, they say. Our enemies are increasing their capabilities, they say. All of these things have some truth to them. And Job One for containing our enemies is preventing them from gobbling up their smaller neighbors. This is what we're doing in Ukraine. There is no doubt that without western military support, Ukraine would be a Russian gulag state today.

BTW - that 8% increase in our military budget, the 8% increase that was beyond what the administration asked for, the 8% increase that no one on the right is objecting to - that little bump in spending is the same magnitude as our spending on Ukraine - about $68B.

Russia will exit this crisis having lost a war, having lost most of its oil market, and having been reduced to buying arms from international terrorists like Iran and North Korea. The perhaps $100B we will contribute to this end result is money well spent. And it's making America great again.

Gary Scoggin

Gerhard, thanks for your contributions to America and our way of life. And thanks for your thoughts, so eloquently expressed.

I pray for the Ukrainian people. I pray that Pres. Zelenskyy can safely maintain the courage he has shown in leading his people against an unprovoked invasion. I pray for the Russian people as they are suffering too, I pray for Putin, that the mental illness which so tightly wraps itself around him will someday soon loosen its grip.

I pray for patriots here who have been led astray by the likes of MTG, tucker Carlson, and the internet “prophets” who present Putin on a pedestal and refuse to comprehend the evilness of Putin’s actions and of his corruption of the Russian Orthodox Church.

I pray for our President who is working on an alliance of nations to end Europe’s biggest war since WWII, I pray for his perseverance despite having to fight a rear guard action against some Democrats and more than a few Republicans

I pray for the American people, the Ukrainian people and the Russian people - as they all God’s people worthy of his love and, therefore, ours.

Carlos Ponce

Zelenskyy's days are numbered as knowledge of his corruption is spread. But Ukraine will get a new leader and she will handle the situation without the corruption.

Cary Semar

She? Are you referring to Yulia Timoshenko?

Carlos Ponce

"she" - I don't know her name.

Bailey Jones

Well said, Gary. The courageous fight of the Ukrainian people against the war criminal Putin has been one of the most heartening things of the last year. On January 6th, 2021, I mounted an American flag on our live oak tree. This year, I added a Ukrainian flag next to it.

I'm looking forward to a Ukrainian victory.

Carlos Ponce

After they get a new leader the Ukrainians will be victorious.

Ted Gillis

I walked by Texas Children's Hospital in the Texas Medical Center yesterday, and they were also flying the Ukrainian flag.

Putin Bad!

Carlos Bad!

Carlos Ponce

Ted, one day you will realize that honoring the Ukrainians and paying homage to Zelenskyy are not the same. I pray for the Ukrainians, the Russians but not their leaders. Putin BAD! ZELENSKYY BAD! Ted Gillis CRAZY!

Wayne Holt

I'm a little late to the party but Carlos is 100% right: those who equate Ukrainian freedom with Zelensky as Churchill are hopelessly confused.

Here's your hero in high heels and leather skin tight trousers doing the Diplomatic Thrust as fellow dancers fondle male buttocks. How thrilling to be led by such talent! https://youtu.be/kgOSrw9Q8rc

Did I mention he was first nationally known for playing the piano on television with his genitalia? Perhaps the first time in history, a piano has been played with an organ.

Zelensky has outlawed all opposition to his rule. This bastion of democracy that we have sunk $110 BILLION of US taxpayer funds into is a cesspool of corruption and violence against the Russian population, routinely killing them since 2014 when we installed a US puppet to continue the charade of free elections.

It is an international laundromat for massive amounts of illicit funds from every grotesque vice imaginable...and we have three offspring of US political leaders who have been at the Ukrainian trough for years.

Zelensky is less than an empty suit. He is sending thousands of young Ukrainians to be slaughtered because the Neocons of both US parties want it that way. This war would have been over in April if 1) the US and UK had not stopped the negotiated settlement or 2) the Russians had gone the shock and awe treatment we are so good at inflicting on civilian populations.

Get real. Turn off MSNBC and start looking at the history of this place. The Ukrainians, the Russians and American taxpayers deserve a lot more than a perverted puppet who is going to be a wealthy discard by the time this conflict is concluded.

Gary Scoggin

Wayne, I am confused. Was you’re point that you don’t like Zelenskyy or you think Russia had a right to invade Ukraine? Or both.

(And I’ll spare everyone the character comparison between Zelenskyy and Trump.)

Bailey Jones

Gary, I think the comparison you're looking for is between Zelenskyy and Giuliani. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhtD0OtNfLQ

Drag queen politicians aside, I wonder where this notion that a corrupt government is a valid excuse to avoid military involvement comes from. Corruption is the usual condition for a country that has been the victim of foreign domination, and the people in such conditions deserve our support.

Examples of corrupt leaders we've spent blood and treasure on, just since WW2 -

Afghanistan - Hamid Karzai - the poster boy for corruption

Kuwait - who remembers when Nayirah al-Ṣabaḥ stood before our congress and lied about Iraqi soldiers dumping babies out of incubators?

Iraq - who remembers when Saddam was our bff?

Vietnam - Ngô Đình Diệm, and later, Dương Văn Minh, then Nguyễn Văn Thiệu.

South Korea - Syngman Rhee

China, and then Taiwan - Chiang Kai-shek

Not to mention the too many to count military adventures in the Pacific, Africa, Middle East, Russia, and almost every nation in central and south America - not only defending corrupt regimes but in some cases establishing those regimes, much to the detriment of the people who live there.

So, I'm skeptical about this newfound determination to keep America's hands clean - maybe it's leftover from the pandemic.

Regardless, the situation in Ukraine is simple. Putin invaded (again) for no other reason than to assuage his butthurt over the collapse of the USSR. A certain 30% of Americans won't support Zelenksyy because he refused to cave into the demands of the corrupt autocrat that this same 30% believe should still be president, and are willing to sacrifice the people, language, culture, economy, history, and future of Ukraine to make that point.

Jim Forsythe

At this time in history, we have a choice.

Do we help Ukraine or do we help Russia by not helping Ukraine.

If we choose to not help Ukraine, when will we stand up to Russia?

Will it be after Russia has taken all of Ukraine and is on the quest for more Countries to take over, or is the answer, never.

If we stand by and allow Russia to take over Ukraine, we will need to ask ourselves, what does the USA stand for?

Have we become a Country that no longer stands up to places like Russia?

Bailey Jones

"Have we become a Country that no longer stands up to places like Russia?"

Jim, that's what America First means.

Jim Forsythe

Bailey, slogans are great but when we say, we are for all that want to break away from places like Russia that is attacking them, we must help them, or we are not fulfilling the promise we have made to ourselves, to help places like Ukraine.

Now is the time that we must prove what we believe in is right, by our actions or we will start dyeing a slow death, as far as backing up what we say we stand for.

If we believe in America First we must make sure that we back it up with actions.

We have tried talking softly with Russia, but now is the time for the USA to pull out our big stick.

Wayne Holt

Gary, my point is multifaceted: Zelensky is an installed puppet, an incredibly inane and corrupt front for Anglo-American attempts to finish harvesting Russian assets that we didn't have a chance to steal when Boris Yeltsin was staggering around on stage. We have wanted confrontation with Russia since Day One because we think we're going to resurrect Ronald Reagan's plan to bankrupt the Soviet Union militarily...but this time with the Russian Federation.

As to the "invasion:" Russia "invaded" Ukraine the way we invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and the way we would have likely gone to thermonuclear war if the Soviets had not come to their senses in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Russia is surrounded by 30 NATO countries. Sec. of State Jim Baker pledged "not one more inch east" to get the Soviets to dismantle the remnants of the Warsaw Pact and to open the door to the West. We lied about that. We have pressed again and again to encircle Russia, right up to its borders.

The Minsk Agreement was supposed to allow for the Russian majority population to have an autonomous regional government that would coexist with Ukraine, which hates Russians almost as much at Chip Roy hates Kevin McCarthy. That would have ended the indiscriminate killing of Russians by the Ukrainian Nazis (yes, they are, right down to their uniform patch insignia).

The Russians lost 20 million in The Great Patriotic War, or WWII. They will not do that again. We are not staring at third world guerrillas in flip flops. The Russians have missiles we can't even track, let alone stop. If we bite off this one, and it doesn't go thermonuclear, look for a Pearl Harbor level event, as they will throw everything they have at us.

And for what? What are we doing giving $110 BILLION dollars of US taxpayer funds to a country that repeatedly refuses to negotiate, to sit down and try to stop the slaughter? They made total Russian withdrawal a prerequisite to sit down and talk. Zelensky is not only corrupt, his is delusional. Russia could wipe them off the map in an afternoon if they were as reckless as we are in risking total world war.

This conflict has ZERO to do with fighting for freedom in Ukraine, as Zelensky has outlawed all opposition to his regime. This conflict was on its way to a negotiated settlement in April before the MIC squeezed the usual suspects and ended all prospects for peace.

Take off the blinders, folks. Stop with the Freedom Fighters pipe dream. Ukraine is a corrupt regime that would fall apart overnight if they weren't on a constant drip of your tax dollars. If we're not careful, we could wind up seeing a blinding light just before everything goes dark here.

Ted Gillis

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Ukrainians don’t want your lousy prayers Carlos, especially if its going to include the Russians. The Ukrainians hate the Russians Carlos, and I don’t think they would appreciate you calling their leader bad.

Plus, they need your support, not a prayer!

A prayer is not going to do them any good if they’re all dead.

Carlos Ponce

"and guess that the Ukrainians don’t want your lousy prayers Carlos, " Once again, Ted is WRONG.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, you do know that Tymoshenko was Prime Minister and Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the Ukrainian President.

Tymoshenko's trial (she was charged in May 2011) over abuse of office over a natural gas imports contract signed with Russia in January 2009 started on 24 June 2011 in Kyiv. In October 2011 Party of Regions' parliamentary faction leader Oleksandr Yefremov stated that this criminal case against Tymoshenko was initiated by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in February 2009 at the initiative of (then) Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. (A former ally of Tymoshenko) Yushchenko testified against Tymoshenko during the trial; a trial he called "a normal judicial process".

On 11 October 2011, the court found Tymoshenko guilty of abuse of power, sentenced her to seven years in jail, and ordered her to pay the state $188 million. She was convicted for exceeding her powers as Prime Minister, by ordering Naftogaz to sign the gas deal with Russia in 2009.

Carlos Ponce

Zelenskyy will be removed for corruption.

Jose' Boix

Gerhard, to me as a Cuban born American Citizen, your letter makes two salient points - conveying the same sentiments I share. These are:

1) “I love this country because I can write this without fear of risking my freedom; because it has taken me in; because I have prospered here; because it helped me to survive …” and

2) “I am proud, now as an American, of our help to the courageous people there blocking the murderous path of the Kremlin.”

Often times it takes the words and sentiments of immigrants who have "walk the two paths" - losing a Country and gaining another! Thanks for writing Gerhard. Just my thoughts.

Bailey Jones

A relevant article today in National Review. It details the efforts of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty to battle Russian disinformation, and the useful idiots in the US who repeat it. Very eye opening.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2023/01/23/truth-and-falsehood-in-combat/

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