Pentagon slams Putin’s ‘depravity’ and ‘B. S.’
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby became unusually emotional speaking to reporters on Friday, as he reflected on Russian atrocities in Ukraine, slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “depravity” and his fabricated excuses for attacking Ukraine.
Never before in history have the brutalities of war been so immediately evident to outside witnesses as they are now. That is because of the internet—which the US billionaire, Elon Musk, has kept functioning in war-torn Ukraine.
This seems to have been behind Kirby’s unusually strong words, as well as his silent, lip-biting effort to control his emotions, as he considered what Russian forces have done—and continue to do.
Asked by a CNN correspondent if Putin was a “rational leader,” Kirby avoided making any judgment about Putin’s psychology, but he responded, “It’s hard to look” at what Putin’s “forces are doing in Ukraine and think that any well-thinking, serious mature leader would do that.”
“So I can’t talk to his psychology,” Kirby continued, but “we can all speak to his depravity.”
As the reporter pushed further, Kirby explained, “I didn’t mean to get emotional,” and “I apologize,” but “I’ve been around the military a long, long time and I’ve known friends who didn’t make it back,” the retired Navy rear admiral said. But “it’s just hard,” he continued, referring to the pictures and videos coming out of Ukraine.
“It’s hard to square —let’s just call it what it is—his B.S. that this is about Nazi-ism in Ukraine,” or about “protecting Russians in Ukraine” and “defending Russian national interests,” Kirby said, referring to the variety of rationales that have been offered up by Putin and other senior Russian officials for their invasion. Especially “when none of them,” he continued, “none of them,” he repeated for emphasis, “were threatened by Ukraine.”
“It’s hard to square that rhetoric” with “what he’s actually doing” to “innocent people shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs,” and “pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed,” Kirby stated, describing some of the devastating images he had seen.
“It’s just unconscionable,” he concluded.
A senior US official using such language to describe the leadership of a major power is virtually without precedent, at least since World War II.
US officials have used such words to characterize figures like Iraq’s deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein, and Libya’s deposed dictator, Mu’ammar Qaddafi, but not a figure like Putin.
He only spoke for the Pentagon, Kirby said, but his language seems to reflect growing anger within the Biden administration towards the Russian leadership: there is no excuse for their brutalities, and any US failure to resist them will only invite more.