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The press are completely crazy and they are going to get us all killed
Remarks on the rocket strike in Poland, and the heedless jingoistic war rhetoric of the German media
Yesterday, at around 3.40 in the afternoon, a rocket exploded in the Polish village of Przewodów. Two people died. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia, later going so far as to characterise the alleged attack as a message from Putin to the G20 summit. Then the Associated Press reported that they had heard from “a senior U.S. intelligence official” claiming that “Russian missiles” were responsible for the attack, and thereafter the worst German journalistic actors embarked upon an evening of dark speculation about the proper NATO response to a Russian attack on Poland. Higher brow outlets, like ZDF, merely ran inflammatory headlines about Russian rockets, with the crucial information – that the rockets were Russian-made, while their immediate origins were unclear – buried in the body of the piece. Bild, on the other hand, went all-in, with this incredible rant from chief editor Johannes Boie:
The Russian army has bombed Poland, the AP news agency reports, citing a US intelligence official.
Two people are dead, murdered!
Accidental or not – this is an armed attack on NATO territory!
The two most likely possibilities are, first, that Putin’s soldiers hit Poland by mistake. They are often poorly trained and drunk. In this case, the tyrant must apologise formally, beg for forgiveness on bended knee, so to speak, while armed NATO fighter jets fly around his country.
He is not used to that. When his troops shot down a passenger plane in 2014, killing 298 people, there were no consequences.
Or alternatively, Putin attacked NATO on purpose. In this case, the alliance must hit back hard, because NATO cannot simply let its territory be bombed or let its citizens die in a hail of Russian bombs. Putin will only respond to force.
Should the unlikely third possibility be true, that the explosion was the result of Ukrainian air defence, then – indeed – the Russians are also to blame. For they are playing with fire on the NATO border.
The mad tyrant is bringing us ever closer to World War 3.
This morning, Boie’s paper carried a front-page headline screaming “Putin fires rockets at Poland.”
Now that both Poland and the Americans have clarified that the explosion was likely caused by a stray Ukrainian air defence missile, the story has disappeared entirely from the top of Bild.de. I guess they’re not so interested in extracting apologies from a kneeling Zelensky. Meanwhile, that other major Axel Springer organ, Welt, are running damage-control pieces, like this one from obnoxious mediocrity Clemens Wergin, claiming that “Without Russia’s war crimes, it never would’ve come to the accident in Poland.”
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There are a few observations to make about this little storm in a teacup. The first is that, despite appearances, not all of the American government and not all of NATO have completely lost their minds. Scholz, Macron and others called for caution and avoided open statements of blame, and today we’ve seen a clearly coordinated campaign to shift direct responsibility away from Russia. The second is that there are, however, plenty of powerful people, in NATO and elsewhere, who are indeed totally, stratospherically crazy. These include very probably that anonymous senior intelligence official who spoke to the Associated Press, and also a great part of the media, who have made a habit out of printing reheated Ukrainian press releases as news, and who have never quite recovered their senses since they lost them in the great Corona panic.
It must be fun to rage about the tyrannical evils of Russia and the democratic virtues of the NATO countries, most of which have spent the last three years denying their allegedly free citizens all manner of basic rights and freedoms. It’s also incredibly, incredibly dangerous. A direct NATO attack on Russia would be a catastrophe for Europe. Maybe somebody should try to rein in the press and wean them from their crisis addiction before they happen upon another pretence to invoke Article 5. There’s no guarantee the next one will be clarified so quickly.