Scott Schaeffer-Duffy: No excuse for Russian invasion of Ukraine, but Americans must remember...

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In light of the widespread anger at Russia's invasion of Ukraine, I think it is important for Americans to remember that...

• On March 4, 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “it is not appropriate to invade a country in dictate, at the end of a barrel of a gun, what you are trying to achieve.” We forget that the U.S. has invaded 56 countries, eight of them since 2000.

• On Feb. 22, 2022, within hours of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Biden announced extensive economic sanctions. In the 55 years since Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, the U.S. has not imposed any sanctions. Twenty seven U.S. states have passed laws against the BDS (boycott divestment and sanctions) movement opposed to the Israeli occupation.

• On Feb. 26, 2022, the United States and NATO condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ordered to put his nuclear forces on high alert as dangerous and unacceptable. The U.S. is the only nation to have used atomic bombs, when it incinerated more than 70,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also, unlike Russia, The U.S. continues to be one of the only nuclear powers which refuses to pledge not to use nuclear weapons first.

• On March 2, 2022, the UN General Assembly passed a U.S.-led resolution condemning the Russian invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Israel, which invaded and continues to occupy the United Nations recognize sovereign state of Palestine in 1967, is the world's largest recipient of U.S. military aid.

• On March 6, 2022, the U.S. condemned Russia for bombing the Mariupol Drama Theater, which killed about 300 of the civilians who sought refuge there, despite the fact that painted on the ground outside the building — in giant Russian letters — was the world word “CHILDREN.” We forget that, on Feb. 13, 1991, without warning, the U.S. dropped two laser-guided bombs onto Baghdad's Amiriyah shelter killing 408 people, mostly women and children, despite the fact that the building was clearly marked as a civilian shelter.

• On Feb. 22, 2022, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned reports of mounting civilian deaths, including those of Ukrainian children. The U.S. has never apologized for killing over 500,000 civilians in Vietnam and 387,000 in Afghanistan and Iraq.

• On March 5, 2022, The Economist Magazine said, “Vladimir Putin is an imperialist.” The U.S., which has military troops and 149 countries, does not consider itself an empire.

• On March 16, 2022, President Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a war criminal.” When the International Criminal Court was established in 1998, the U.S. joined China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, and Yemen to vote against it. On Oct. 9, 2018, The U.S. threatened to arrest ICC judges if they pursue Americans for Afghan war crimes. Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney does not go to Europe to avoid being arrested for war crimes.

• On March 25, 2022, the UN estimated that 1,179 Ukrainian civilians had been killed since the start of the Russian invasion. On March 31, 2022, the New York Times published 74 photos of destruction in Ukraine. On that same day, in an article on the U.S.-supported Saudi Arabian war in Yemen, which the UN estimates has taken 233,000 lives, the Times published no photos.

As someone who witnessed the cruelty of U.S. military intervention in Nicaragua, the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the handprints of child victims on the walls of the Ameriya shelter, I believe the U.S. would be taken more seriously in its opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine if it acknowledged its own sins.

Without in any way excusing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I believe Americans would do well to consider Jesus’ admonition, “why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, founding member of the Saints Francis and Therese Catholic Worker, Worcester

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Schaeffer-Duffy: No excuse for Russian invasion of Ukraine, but Americans must remember...