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The end of April will mark the third anniversary of William Pfaff's death.

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It marked a further loss in the dramatically shrinking number of American daily newspaper columnists who dare challenge and denounce our pointless and unwinnable wars.

The anti-neocon, American Conservative Magazine’s Scott McConnell, once an editorial writer for Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post, put it best after he passed.

“Nowhere in the elite establishment newspaper sphere could you find regular, sustained, and well-informed criticism of an aggressive and overly militarized American foreign policy.”

Spoken by a principled conservative and not a fearful liberal Democrat, whose party never recovered from the 1968 debacle in Chicago when the Democrats chose war rather than peace.

Now that Putin’s Russia is habitually denounced for “meddling” in the 2016 election so many others intrusions, military and otherwise, are conveniently overlooked—”meddling” in countries such as Italy, Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Ukraine, etc. Have I missed any?

For a number of years I was a columnist for the defunct NY Times Examiner, an external, unwelcome ombudsman scrutinizing the august NY Times where so few of its Op Ed writers, let alone its Cold War-ish editorial writers, ever frontally took on our documented addiction to war, past and present. Now that Putin’s Russia is habitually denounced for “meddling” in the 2016 election so many others intrusions, military and otherwise, are conveniently overlooked—”meddling” in countries such as Italy, Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Ukraine, etc. Have I missed any?

I wonder what Pfaff might have written about the ignorance and hysteria exhibited by Democratic congressmen and women calling the “Meddling,” as several did, “an act of war?” Or John McCain, objecting to Sen. Rand Paul’s view on admitting Montenegro into NATO, said, “So I repeat again, the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.” Obviously, McCain, a professional Russophobe from way back, is a harbinger for a future blacklist.

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Or when the US and its NATO agent moved eastward to Russian borders on land, sea and in the air, Russia’s very doorstep “without an explanation to the American people” wrote Pfaff, especially since it could lead to a war which would turn us all into ashes. This was accomplished after the US had long before pledged to Gorbachev to avoid such provocative moves, recently revealed in its entirety in declassified documents just issued by the National Security Archive at Gorge Washington University, and which the NY Times , like most of our free press, somehow overlooked. The Times also loves mentioning that the authoritarian Putin, no angel he, was a former KGB officer but somehow never seems to note as well that Bush One ran the CIA.

And then there’s Ukraine. In a series of columns and virtually alone save for a few historians of Russian history, Pfaff saw the Ukrainian crisis as an American-initiated crisis, one that included the possibility of an accidental war.

“Rather than “a Russian strategy of aggressive expansion into Ukraine,” Pfaff viewed is as “a bungled and essentially an American attempt to annex Ukraine to NATO and the European Union and to undermine the position of President Putin-- which all has gone wrong badly and dangerously wrong.”

Two of his many gems culled from his columns:

The ‘war of civilizations’, explanation is wrong and dangerously so....It is essential that the west now cease its interference, it cannot reconcile Syrians or the Sunnis and Shiites, or he the conflicts in the Maghrab and the Sahel mainly produced by climate and history. The West has suffered the delusion that a war on these people would produce modernity and democracy. War is a destroyer, which includes among its victims those who initiate it.”

“Has it been a terrible error for the US to have built an all-but-irreversible worldwide system of more than 1,OOO military bases, stations and outposts: this seemingly was created to enhance US national security, but what if it has actually done
the opposite?

That was William Pfaff, brighter, wiser and more perceptive than virtually all the rest. If you doubt this, note that we are now entering our 18th year of endless wars with several more to come. And then read his last book, ““The Irony of Manfest Destiny.”

Murray Polner