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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Galima Galiullina -- Lessons of Stalingrad for Inhabitants of the DC Quagmire



February 10, 2018
 Russian President places flowers at memorial in Stalingrad, Feb. 2018
The swamp, which Trump promised to drain, turned out to be a quagmire. Some swamp creatures have emerged returning to lofty perches, while other remnants of the imperial governing class of America are slowly and inexorably swallowed.
For a year we have seen one after another swamp creature disappear into the quagmire now consuming members of both the Trump team and members of the opposition.  As victims’ flounder deeper in political and legal peril only bubbles remain as they squirm and sink from view.
But the American people, accustomed to consuming current events mainly through television programming, need to have both comforting and frightening images, so that their worldview is only minimally disturbed.
Comforting – in order to convince the public that American politicians they admire are pure as lambs, devoted day and night to tirelessly caring for their welfare. And, able to protect the country from terrible enemies – real or imagined.
Frightening – in order to justify the monstrous expenditure on armaments, fueling wars that are increasingly perceived as permanent, and fought against enemies now shown as fake.
The machinery needed to manufacture propaganda has been in place for centuries, but the tools have never been better.  False flag attacks turned public attention in 1895 to Spanish imperialism in Cuba, in 1915 to German aggression in Europe, and in 1941 to Japanese threats in the Pacific. Without these pivotal events Americans would have likely been content to sit out the Spanish American War, and two World Wars of the 20th century.
What has changed now is that shocking single events are not alone sufficient to lure the exceptional nation into launching campaigns against enemies of freedom.  With 9/11, as the new Pearl Harbor so eloquently predicted by PNAC, Americans have been bombarded by persistent propaganda about “terrorists,” all from the Muslim world.  This fake narrative has been used to systematically strip Americans of privacy, promote religious bigotry against Islam, and justify mass killing of innocent people throughout the world. All based on lies.
Americans began to realize our government, or rouge elements inside it, created the very enemies our politicians and military label “terrorists.” It began with Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and spread to Syria where now the defeated US proxy army is surrounded with their US soldier comrades confined and unable to operate freely.
Having lost Syria and with little hope of exerting influence in the Middle East for generations ahead, propaganda attacks are turning from Islamic terrorists to more dangerous and menacing targets.

According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, 74% of Americans are still convinced Islamic terrorists pose a real threat, but are now told Russia is meddling in our elections after they invaded Ukraine and stole Crimea.  According to the Pew survey, the number two threat cited by respondents, was that 71% of Americans are alarmed by cyberattacks from other countries.
Like media messages in the last century, daily broadcast propaganda disguised as breaking news lays groundwork for war on Russia.  Hybrid warfare already includes sanctions, cyber measures, and positioning troops at Russian frontiers.  Hyper warfare takes the form of electronic surveillance in the Black Sea or other waters, countered by Russian disruption of NATO operations.
What could be more terrible than the Russian threat in this game? And what can be more comforting for the supporters of the party that lost the last election, than the sensational finding about the interference by Russians in the holiest of American democratic sacraments – our elections?
Since the horror called “the Russians are coming” has been going on for more than 70 years, we see now a particularly acute attack of paranoia of the American political machine.
It’s time to remind those generals and politicians who may soon face a straitjacket, that Russia does not need to interfere in the elections in the US.  Russians, you see, have no illusions about the values ​​and strategic priorities of the two leading parties of the United States.
There are also no illusions about the possibility for these parties to continue their political future because neither has a clue about policies needed to get America back on track – and actually great again. Whoever won the election, in the situation in which the country is today, an urgent search for the enemy is a matter of concern.
Undoubtedly, Trump gave more hope for warming relations with other countries, since his baggage was not burdened by a mysterious uranium deal, or by thousands of urgently erased e-mails, nor by a grim history with the death of the US ambassador to Libya.
In big politics, Trump was as pure as a virgin. He looked more peaceful, because he did not, as Clinton did, promise to wipe Russia off the face of the earth in pre-election speeches.
However, Trump’s inexperience in geopolitical processes, the driving force of the modern world, and his visible loneliness in the environment of predatory Washington insiders, led to a palpable aggravation of all significant areas of cooperation.  Even simple mutual understanding between the two powers on Embassy property, travel visas, and sports and cultural exchanges became too difficult to resolve.
If you compare what happened during the Second World War, that is, historical parallels, they provide food for thought. Wall Street, disappointed in the failure of Trotsky, who lost the war with Stalin, created a new monster – Hitler, whose main goal was to destroy the USSR and Stalin. Those were times when Roosevelt and Stalin met, had long talks, united their efforts and won together.
ISIS, created to plunge the Middle East into chaos, was created by heirs of the same empire that gave the world Hitler. Russia, which survived a lot of suffering from various revanchists, intervened in the Syrian war to kill the evil hydra in the bud.
Recently, on February 2, 2018, Russia celebrated the day of the great victory in the battle for Stalingrad. With a military parade and salutes descendants of the greatest Russian generation paid tribute to their hero’s.
This battle was a turning point in the sacred war of Russians for their freedom and homeland. The memory of that battle is necessary not only for the Russians, but for those who today plan to teach Russians a lesson for their disobedience, the courage to follow their own path.
Seventy-five years ago, the Battle for Stalingrad ended with complete victory of the Red Army. Over 200 days and nights more than 2 million soldiers died. This was the most massive and bloody battle in the history of wars. The biblical Armageddon was a skirmish by comparison.
The main motto of the battle was the order No. 227 of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Joseph Stalin, “Not a step back!” Stalingrad was attacked by the German 6th Army under the leadership of General Paulus. The main strike force was the 4th Panzer Army. August 23, 1942 was the first bombing of the city which resulted in the death of 40,000 civilians. This is more than in any city during the war, until Dresden in 1945 where the US Air Force and the British RAF firebombing killed over 80,000 civilians.
For a month, 50,000 bombs were dropped on the city. The total power of all the bombs dropped by the Germans at Stalingrad was equivalent to the power of five nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
September 13, 1942, the first attack on the city began with Paulus’s army twice as large as Russian defenders, especially his superiority of tanks at 6 times the Soviets.
By October 6, 1942, 5 of the 7 districts of Stalingrad were captured by the Germans as Soviet troops retreated to within 200 meters of the Volga River. The shore of the Volga was critical to Soviet defenses as the river allowed resupply of critical supplies.
“For us beyond the Volga there is no land!” – the words of a Russian sniper became the call to heroic defense. Soviet soldiers stood to death as they defended every house and every street. The now iconic Pavlov’s house was designated as a citadel on the field map of Paulus. It became a stronghold, an ordinary four-story residential building, because the real heroes defended it. After the war, the house was the very first rebuilt, and the mill of Gerhardt, the building next door, was left untouched as a memory of that war.
By early November, the strength of the Paulus army was depleted. Forces for the attack were no more. The Germans went on the defense.
On November 30, 1942, the Germans were surrounded. The Soviet Army “Ring” plan was entrusted to the troops of the Don Front, under leadership by General Rokossovsky.
Soviet soldiers had trapped fully 330,000 German soliders inside a ring. Still, the German army had 4,000 artillery guns, and 300 tanks.
On January 10, the Don Front launched an offensive, squeezing the ring from all sides. Hitler forbade Paulus to capitulate. Instead, wishing to support the spirit of the army, Hitler awarded Paulus the title of Field Marshal. A lover of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Paulus managed to celebrate his appointment. But, later the same day, January 31, 1943, Paulus surrendered with his staff.  On February 2, 1943, General Rokossovsky reports to Stalin on the final victory in the Battle for Stalingrad.
The losses of the Wehrmacht amounted to 1.5 million people, the Soviet Army lost 643,800 people. Civilians were partially evacuated, but several tens of thousands remained in the city to continue working in workshops at the tank plant, and in preparing ammunition. Often people worked directly on the battlefield. All houses in the city were destroyed by bombs and artillery, so people lived in basements and in underground infrastructure. It was an unthinkable act of mass heroism.
The archives preserved the memory of the glorious days of the joint struggle against fascism of the USSR, the USA, and European allies. President Roosevelt sent Stalin a telegram of congratulations.
On behalf of the British people, Churchill presented Stalin an engraved sword once belonging to King George V.
At the Tehran Conference November 29, 1943, Churchill handed Stalin the sword of King George V as a sign of the British admiration of the courage shown by the defenders of Stalingrad. The inscription on the blade: “To the residents of Stalingrad, whose hearts are strong as steel”
What has happened over the years, that now NATO views Russia in the sight of its missiles, fighters, and frigates? Russia sacrificed its empire-the USSR, in order to enter the fraternity of democratic countries, gave practically all the territory the Red Army secured as a buffer, allowed the unification of East and West Germany, withdrew its troops from East Germany, and dissolved the Warsaw Pact – all without a single shot.
But what she has received? The terrible tragedy of the 90s, the agony of the plundered country, the transformation of the native sister Ukraine into the rotting ulcer of resurgent fascism, a dense ring of NATO troops around the borders of Russia.
What do generals and politicians hope for in the planned war against Russia? That the Russians are weak in spirit now? They have no desire to protect their land and freedom? If they looked at the social networks and saw what the Russians are writing about the Battle for Stalingrad, perhaps this would have somewhat sobered their violent heads.
Memories of grandfathers, what they had to experience at the front during those 200 days and nights, the memories of older men about childhood, when they lived in the villages occupied by the fascists.  It is interesting that in these memories there is no hatred of the invaders, there is only surprise that there can be such inhumanity in people as Germans displayed in their assault on Russians.
Pride, for Russian people, capable of such an act of bravery. I think all the NATO generals and politicians who decide strategic tasks need to visit the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd), see the mill of Gerhardt, visit the Mamayev Hill, where two years after the battle, even the grass did not grow, so much blood soaked in the ground … Because those who forget the past, are doomed to relive it.
Russia has learned the main lesson from the history of World War II: the ideology of fascism, declaring one nation or race exceptional, is misanthropic and generates wars and other forms of violence. What do Russians see in the policy of its former ally, the US? Declaring themselves an exceptional nation, the US unleashed endless wars and destroyed many countries.
Ukraine took the path of destroying its own Russian-speaking population only because the citizens of Donbass did not want to abandon the Russian language. Of course, the Kiev junta has other far-reaching plans for Russians and Russian-speaking citizens of the country, but the reason for the start of military operations lasting now into its fourth year was precisely Russian language.
But the policy of the Kiev junta was actively supported by the United States not only with words, but with deeds – military instructors, arms deliveries, financial and information support – and, of course donuts delivered by the US State Department.
The atmosphere of revelry of fascist elements in modern Ukraine is especially painful for veterans of the Great Patriotic War. Ukrainian soldiers, as part of the Red Army, fought against the fascists. And today they are forbidden to celebrate the Day of the Great Victory on May 9, the monuments of the great generals of the Red Army are demolished, the communal graves of Soviet soldiers are desecrated.
However, the most terrible manifestation of the revelry of fascism in modern Ukraine is that part of the population is declared sub-human. The policy of de-humanizing to justify future crimes is a well-known tactic of Hitler’s ideologists.
But we see today parallels with this policy in modern America. The trial of the rapist and the murderer of a young Iraqi girl showed that the American mercenary was trained to perceive Iraqi civilians as subhuman, so they could resort to any brutal measures, including rape of girls and murder.
Why did the events in the Crimea and Russian actions on the peninsula become a complete surprise for the US? As Major General William Hicks admits, the loss of the Crimea is the result of a strategic mistake by the expert community. “Unfortunately, the US Army has a bad habit of not knowing how advanced its opponents are.”
Hicks added – Success in Operation Desert Storm is not the norm! The usual experience is the battle for the Kasserin Pass in North Africa, a major defeat for the US Army from the Wehrmacht in 1944. ”
General Hicks does not even realize that Operation Desert Storm is also not a success. It was with this operation that the rapid fall of the international prestige and authority of the United States began.
The world saw how the United States can destroy a whole country, based on false evidence presented at the United Nations by Colin Powell, to kill two million civilians, to plunder libraries and museums, and all for the selfish interests of oil and other corporations, and of course, Zionists.
The ideological basis for this aggression was practically nazi: this country needs to be punished. To do this, it is necessary to declare Saddam Hussein a dictator (as Stalin used to be) and hang him. The target population was deemed subhuman, so it was done.
But, other lessons are here as well. The heroism and sacrifice Russians showed at Stalingrad may again be required in battles yet to be fought.  The future battleground is likely to include whole nations, including the homeland of the United States.
Hyper warfare will not require massive invading armies themselves vulnerable to defeat by heroic patriotic military and civilian defenders. Aerial assault on population centers and critical infrastructure, by remote control warriors aided by artificial intelligence, pose more catastrophic danger to the homeland.
This threat, by rouge nations, terrorists, and anyone else, as Trump declared in his State of the Union address, places greater importance on defense and diplomacy.  Trump’s vision sadly fails to mention diplomacy, and seemingly leaves American defense to its legacy fallback strategy – mutually assured destruction, by simply updating nuclear weapons.
If American war planners count on qualified Russian resistance, they can look at the spirit of Stalingrad for answers. If war planners count on destabilizing cyberwar attacks to disrupt social cohesion, they can look how Russians recovered from shock therapy in the 1990’s. And, if these same planners rely on Russian myopic memory, they can listen to Vladimir Putin:  “twice in the 20th century Russia was attacked and invaded from the west. This will not happen again.”
So, as the swamp morphs in a quagmire in Washington, and distracts from real issues like resuming good relations with Russia, America’s survival is threatened.

Galima Galiullina, Ph.D., Washington, DC
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