AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN
By E. P. Unum
August 18, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
I begin this letter to you with the words of Leo Rosten, which I hope you will read carefully:
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter; to count; to stand for something, to be of some useful purpose, to have made some difference that you have lived at all.”
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe? Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic? Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular? But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right.? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him that it is right.’
My days on earth are numbered, but before I fade away, there are some things that are important which I need to say to you as you prepare the upcoming Fall 2022 Mid Term Elections. It may not be important to anyone else; but it’s important to me so here goes:
Mr. President, great moments in history provide great opportunities. That is what you have today…a great opportunity. An opportunity to provide leadership and a stern response to the insanity of Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine. It is time for you to demonstrate….now, today…. that you are not just a member of the Democratic Party but you are first and foremost an American and the leader of the Free World. It is time for you to assume this mantle of leadership and start showing the world that you truly care about people. All people.
There are brave Ukrainians, young men, women, children and elderly men fighting and dying in the streets of cities and towns all across Ukraine against the Russian unprovoked invasion of their country. They refuse to live under the boot of Communist Russia and its diabolical leader Vladimir Putin. They are true patriots Mr. President because they are fighting for their freedom. 245 years ago American Patriots with names like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton also found themselves committed to the cause of freedom and risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in a similar struggle against the then most disciplined well- armed military force in the world, Great Britain, seeking freedom and independence. Others with names like Lafayette, Pulaski and Kosciusko came to our aid in our time of need and France sent their army and naval forces to help us earn victory, and in doing so helped America to be born. They didn’t worry about what England would do; they extended their arms to help a nation seeking freedom.
We are members of NATO, an organization of thirty nations dedicated to preserving peace in Europe. But you know full well that these nations look to the U.S. for leadership. If you take a strong stance with them Mr. President, if you demand strong action, these nations will commit the necessary resources to meet the Russian threat head on. That is the one message Mr. Putin understands. It is the one message all despots understand. And they do not need to send a single soldier to fight. Ukraine can handle the Russians on their own if we give them the tools. Putin knows this.
We cannot and must not stand by watching the people of Ukraine be overrun by the Russians. To do so is an act of cowardice. It is worse than leaving your wounded on the battlefield which is something you do not do if you are a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman of the United States of America.
These are the steps I urge you to take, none of which involves the American military fighting on the ground in Ukraine:
1. All thirty member nations of NATO unanimously agree to unleash immediately the most punishing sanctions on Russia such as total exclusion from the SWIFT Financial Payments System and blacklisting the Russian national bank. In additions, strict sanctions should immediately be placed on thousands of senior Russian officials including Putin himself and their families. Seize their assets wherever they are in the world. Immediately cease doing business with Russia and that includes purchasing their oil. More than anything else, if we cease buying their oil we will rapidly cripple their economy and ability to wage war. Weakening the Russian economy will over time reduce Moscow’s military potential and pose extremely significant political problems for Putin. You can lead the way for this to happen notwithstanding any reluctance of some European nations to do so. Sure, Putin can sell his oil to China and in doing so he may be able to survive for a time. But the Russian people will suffer and will grow more and more uncomfortable with this uneasy alliance. This is war Mr. President and as General Douglas MacArthur once said, “in war, there can be no substitute for victory.”
2. Find a way overland to provide a continuous supply of sophisticated weapons to help Ukrainians defend themselves and inflict casualties on Russian forces. Why do you think that Putin has ordered portable crematoriums to use in the field to cremate Russians killed in the invasion of Ukraine? Russians coming home in body bags is something Putin knows would not be acceptable to the citizens of Russia. The CIA has extensive capabilities and drone technology that can be exported to Poland and Romania and into Ukraine to use in taking out Russian rocket launchers, tanks, APC’s and wreak havoc on Russian communications. Put it to use now.
3. Provide continuous economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine
4. Persuade NATO to significantly increase military deployments of forces to the East in Latvia, Estonia and Poland. 100,000 NATO troops seems about right. Pull some forces out of Germany to assist with this approach. Dispatch NATO warships to the Black Sea along with a Carrier Strike Group.
5. Expand the flow of information to the Russian people to insure they see what is happening with Putin’s war in Ukraine.
6. Finally, and most importantly, Mr. President this is war. And while the war is being fought thousands of miles away from our home, if strong and decisive action is not taken, it is possible that this war will eventually come to America. So it is time to start putting America first and that means removing all restrictions on U.S gas and oil production, the immediate approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, expansion of fracking operations and drilling in the Bakken Fields… all geared towards making the United States energy independent once again. Give this action a name….call it Operation Resolve. Show beyond words that you do care about the people! Not only will such action improve our own economy but we can then provide energy to European nations and reduce their dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. If you want to bring Russia to its knees and cause China to think more carefully about its plans to invade and annex Taiwan, issue this order immediately. Don’t be concerned about John Kerry or the Squad or Bernie Sanders. They are all like pimples on the ass of an elephant. They will scream about your actions anyway and as long as you let John Kerry fly around the world on his private jet acting like he is important and essential, their noise will dissipate quick enough. Besides, the interests and safety of the United States must come first, don’t you agree? There is enough time to deal with issues of climate change; we have to deal with the threats to our way of life now and we have to send a message to China and Iran that we will not shrink from danger! How long can you ignore the carnage and the frightful pleas for help by the valiant people of Ukraine?
7. The Ukrainian President Zelensky has repeatedly requested for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. NATO and you have said this was impossible because of the increased risk of actually engaging Russian aircraft and expanding the war. Mr. President what do you think Putin will do if confronted by NATO and the United States? The man is a bully. You know full well that bullies need to be confronted or you will forever live in fear. Putin knows the capabilities of the United States and NATO. If confronted head on he will back down and come to the table. And if he doesn’t we will end him. The world should have taken this posture with Hitler back in 1938. Please don’t make that same mistake today.
8. Poland has unused MIG fighter jets available. Send them to Ukraine. Give those brave men, women and children fighting for their freedom a fighting chance.
None of these actions will involve the U.S. in a shooting war with a nuclear power nor do they envision a nuclear holocaust with Moscow. They actually reduce the risk of military confrontation without abandoning critical U.S. interests.
Mr. President, I did not vote for you. I did not believe you were physically capable of taking on the difficult challenges of the office you hold. But as I said at the outset of the letter: great moments in history provide great opportunities. This tragic situation begs for leadership, and I implore you to reflect on this moment and seize the opportunity to once again demonstrate American strength and ability to do the right thing. And as you reflect on these recommendations, remember always the words of that great philosopher, John Stuart Mill:
“All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to
stand by and do nothing”
Do not abandon the brave Ukrainians fighting and dying for freedom. That would not be in keeping with who we are as a people and as a nation. America is better than that and you know it. Act worthy of yourself Mr. President
Do the right thing.
E. P. Unum