Narrative Shift On Ukraine? CBS Video Coupled With Amnesty International Report Paint Dry Picture

The media – and in general, society at large – can be an absolutely fickle beast. Sometimes this ever-present pendulum swing is beneficial for a movement, or an individual, and can work in their favor. At other times it can completely tank them.

It would seem that the fickle beast is starting to stir with a possible narrative shift regarding Ukraine and their fight against Russia. Between leaks claiming that the White House doesn’t trust the Ukraine government and the latest episode of CBS Reports highlighting the difficulty of getting billions of dollars worth of weaponry to the front lines, the press has not been good.

Add to that an Amnesty International report that claims Ukraine has been putting civilians in unnecessarily risky situations in the name of war. I’d say the pendulum is picking up some speed in a direction Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would rather it not.

Where Is The Other 70% Going?

I recently watched the latest episode of CBS Reports featuring Adam Yamaguchi titled, “Arming Ukraine.” Mr. Yamaguchi spends just shy of a half-hour following the efforts of non-governmental organizations to get military supplies to Ukrainian soldiers.

I had to watch the episode on Paramount+, because the video and the tweet announcing the video were deleted.

To wit:

Screenshot: CBS

The supplies include body armor, tactical drones, and night vision goggles, to name a few. However, before taking to the road to deliver these supplies, Mr. Yamaguchi starts in Lithuania to witness a NATO exercise that he describes as what appears to be more of a “dog and pony show” of weapons or an “open house” to “showcase” what has been provided to Ukraine.

While on his trip through Ukraine to deliver supplies, he discovers things that honestly weren’t surprising, in my opinion. Weapons and supply convoys are the most targeted and hit by the Russians. Many of the weapons themselves don’t make it to the intended soldiers on the front line.

What was shocking was the estimated percentage. According to the group leader, he was with maybe 30% of the weapons donated to Ukraine make it to their final destination.

It gets even more interesting though. CBS gave the following reason for deleting their video:

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what to make of that explanation.

RELATED: Report: White House Has ‘Deep Mistrust’ of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Even As They Continue to Send Aid

Reports Say That War Is Indeed Messi

A recent Amnesty International report has struck a chord for those staunch supporters of Ukraine. The report summary reads:

“Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals.”

On the surface, these seem like damning revelations. However, for those who have experienced the unique conflict of urban warfare and or studied it, this is not surprising given the conflict landscape in Ukraine.

Experts in the rules of war specifically argued in a New York Times piece that you can use schools and hospitals as military command posts under the caveat that they are not utilized for original purposes.

This, of course, brought ire from many, including President Zelenskyy, who addressed the report as follows:

“There cannot be, even hypothetically, any condition under which any Russian attack on Ukraine becomes justified. Aggression against our state is unprovoked, invasive and openly terroristic.”

RELATED: America First vs. America Last? Ukraine Splits GOP Between America First And Neoconservatives

Uncomfortable Realities

The lashing from President Zelenskyy over the report brings up an interesting trend these days where anyone or group that speaks critically of the Ukrainian government and/or resistance is somehow a “supporter” of the Russian aggression.

Iva Vukusic, a scholar of post-conflict justice at the University of Utrecht, explains:

“As in the former Yugoslavia, in long brutal conflicts, even the attacked can at times do things they should not do. That’s not unimaginable. Pointing that out is not equalizing blame, it’s discussing the complex wars in all the nuances that exist.”

Ms. Vukusic speaks the truth. War is hell for both sides of a war, and pointing out the realities of that doesn’t mean the automatic justification for invasion and war crimes committed by Russia.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman noted in his article alleging waning trust in the White House in the Ukrainian government that:

“It is as if we don’t want to look too closely under the hood in Kyiv for fear of what corruption or antics we might see, when we have invested so much there.”

Mr. Yamaguchi, in his CBS Report, ponders the question of whether we are running a high risk of creating yet another failed state with billions of dollars worth of US military weaponry funneled in and possibly out of the country. While I think this threat is genuine, it is somewhat encouraging that it seems more acceptable now to ask some of these uncomfortable questions.

Playing To Emotions

Senior Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations Charles Kupchan said in the CBS Reports episode that the war in Ukraine is a:

“…war that has tapped into many emotions.”

Mr. Kupchan references the paramilitary units formed in the region and the apparent danger associated with such groups fighting as governments tend to lose control and oversight of their operations.

On the other side of that coin, the way this war has tapped into these emotions is what has helped fuel it. Even with the allegations of mistrust of Ukraine within the White House, the Biden administration is posturing to provide another $1 billion worth of ammunition to Ukraine via what is known as the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA).

PDA is what allows the President to transfer our stock of weapons and ammunition without approval from Congress. In a recent article by The Political Insider’s Rusty Weiss on the growing trust divide between our two countries, he states poignantly that perhaps this is all part of the administration’s plan:

“Blame Russia for inflation and gas prices, then blame Ukraine for wasting billions in taxpayer money.”

War is hell for all sides of a conflict, including those of us emotionally invested.

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