In Background, Feature Articles, Ukraine

To: Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States
February 11, 2015

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I am a citizen of Ukraine – a poor country, located in Eastern Europe. They say that George Bush Jr. couldn’t find it on the map. Maybe that’s why the war here began only now, after Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries were freed from authoritarianism and to which the great USA brought democracy and prosperity.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 1971 protesting the war in Vietnam. Oh my, times have changed

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 1971 protesting the war in Vietnam. Oh my, times have changed

But our time has now come. Desperate Ukraine is becoming more and more like the good old USA of your youth – the USA of Senator Joseph McCarty, Dr. Strangelove and the war in Vietnam. Our economy is in deep crisis, the Euromaidan ‘reforms’ are bringing catastrophic success, and the army is heroically retreating before the enemy.

You don’t seem to trust those Germans much, but their intelligence claims that during the Ukrainian civil conflict there have been already some 50,000 casualties. Mainly, these have been civilians. If you recall, this all began with the deaths of some dozens of Ukrainians from sniper fire in Kiev’s Maidan Square, under circumstances still unknown to this very day. This happened a year ago, when you supported the coup in Kiev in order to exchange the regime of a corrupted president for one of mindless politicians that are just as thievish, but much more bloodthirsty and obedient to you. They are now savoring lunches with you at summit meetings, each time asking for loans and weapons to proceed with the war that you call a “struggle for freedom.”

Your leading TV channel CNN, in plain English, calls Ukrainian troops “pro-American forces,” while a minister from your country is skilfully managing our deteriorating economy, thus reinforcing Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and honor.

Our “democratic” politicians have mastered the art of turning blood into money, lessons of which you constantly provide to the world. Recently they announced a fourth wave of military conscription in Ukraine. Surprisingly, it turns out that many people, burdened by the ‘slavish past of communist tyranny’, stubbornly refuse to die and kill their kin from the Donbas region. They refuse to do this even in the name of such fundamental values as those which personally benefit your friends in the Ukrainian government and the national interests of your country.

Many people are hiding from conscription and even fleeing to the large, neighbouring country to the east, which, as is well known, is conducting war against Ukraine. (By the way, this apparent war by our neighbour doesn’t impede our president from conducting very profitable business of his chocolate and candy enterprises on the territory of the aggressor.)

The fugitives from conscription are being hunted down at their workplaces and in their relatives’ homes. But there are still those who dare to come out on the streets and protest against the military draft. This jeopardizes the ability to continue the civil war, which – as we know – provides democratic transformation of our country into cemeteries and ruins.

The Ukrainian government is already taking necessary measures against such dangers. Our Parliament intends to criminalize protests against conscription (although the current conscription law is unlawful from the point of view of our legislation and Constitution). Our notorious patriotic politician proposing the law has even promised to punish such serious crimes retroactively by making the law itself retroactive.

Another new law will legalize tapping of cell-phones and reading of e-mail messages of those who evade conscription, and it will authorize covert surveillance of them. Dozens of such “evaders” have already been detained, some even convicted. This includes journalist and Euromaidan activist Roman Kotsaba, after he publicly criticized the war mobilization (which has not yet been officially declared by the Ukrainian government so as to not conflict with President Poroshenko’s businesses). He was arrested by secret services and is imprisoned for at least several months.

President Poroshenko began the government’s current session with the following words (in the spirit of H. Himmler or Al Capone): “Ukraine’s secret services have already found a stash where anti-Ukrainian activity was generating from and, as of today, 19 opponents of military draft have been seized by their balls.” According to Poroshenko, those opposing war, be they activists or journalists, present the same threat as the “armed enemies at the front,” and therefore should be treated accordingly. We are only left to regret that the death penalty is temporarily abolished in our country and the arrested traitors cannot be punished to the extent which they deserve.

Nevertheless, you, Mr. Kerry, representative of a country which is today such an irreplaceable role model for Ukraine, may well become the ‘Achilles hell’ of our government’s campaign for the military draft. Our insidious peace-mongers have discovered that many years ago, you joined an organization called “Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” This organization, according to the late President Richard Nixon, played an important role in the ‘subversive’ anti-war movement. Back then, you actively campaigned against conscription and sending conscripts to participate in the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ against the ‘so-called’ Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Obviously, your actions effectively aided and abetted the hidden policies of the Kremlin.

While your current colleague, Senator John McCain, was languishing in captivity in Vietnam after an aircraft attack on civilian targets in Hanoi, you, Lieutenant Kerry, were arrested in Washington during an antiwar march of Vietnam veterans where you tried to publicly read the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Along with hundreds of other American soldiers demanding to stop the war, you threw down your military awards on the steps of the Capitol and proclaimed: “I’m not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all.”

So don’t be surprised if your words and actions will be echoed and repeated by the opponents of the current civil war in Ukraine – those who also appeal for rule of law and arouse resentment among those unwilling to fight.

It was you who opposed indiscriminate fire on peaceful Vietnamese villages, where accomplices of the Vietnamese militants could hide. It was you who protested against the destruction of civilians’ houses, even though the same measures, ‘necessary for waging war on terror’, are being applied in the Donbas region today. It was you who admitted the facts of war crimes committed by the U.S. army in Vietnam. These are your words: “There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used .50-caliber machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals.”

Doesn’t this sound like a direct appeal to condemn Ukrainian politicians for their war crimes?

In your article at the time in The Washington Star, you wrote that the U.S. soldiers were extremely disappointed by the striking differences they encountered between what was told by their political leaders and what they actually saw at war. Just think of what will happen if Ukrainian soldiers in the ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ area take this into consideration…

Finally, you quite irresponsibly said: “I realized that I would never be able to keep silent about the real situation in Vietnam”. However, this essentially contradicts the wise policy of military censorship, carried out by the ‘democratic’ government of Ukraine. As you may know, any attempt to speak the truth about the real situation in the ‘ATO zone’ is considered a crime in Ukraine.

Mr. Secretary of State! In the current situation, I must urge you to voluntarily turn yourself in to the Ukrainian justice system to face punishment for your criminal, antiwar propaganda. I’m sure they will find room for you in one of the Ukrainian prisons holding opponents of military conscription. Thus, you will be able to show our citizens how a true democracy – a country free from totalitarianism – should really stop antiwar propaganda.

You may consider my letter as an appeal to the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine. I wish you good luck in their capable hands.

Yours truly,
Andrey Manchuk,
A friend of the USA and a citizen of free Ukraine

Andrey Manchuk is a member of the left-wing Ukrainian political association ‘Borotba’ and an editor of the Ukrainian web journal Liva (‘The Left’). Last year, his book examining the Euromaidan movement in Ukraine, titled ‘Blood of the Donbas’, was published in Russia. It is reviewed in English here on This letter originally appeared in Russian in on Feb. 11, 2015.


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