Leaked Pentagon documents expose US war propaganda

Since February 2022, the American public has been subjected to a ceaseless barrage of propaganda surrounding the Ukraine war, which has been aimed at drumming up support for US involvement in a brutal, fratricidal military conflict on the other side of the globe.

The print and broadcast media have told the public that the conflict is an “unprovoked war” and that “NATO is not involved.” Ukraine’s goals are “defensive.” There are no “American troops” in Ukraine. The next victory is just around the corner, if only the United States will send more money and advanced weapons.

Joint Cheifs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley (left) with President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) [AP Photo/Steve Ruark]

All of these lies have been exposed by the reality of the war. More recently, they have been upended by the release of leaked documents from the Pentagon describing the degree of direct NATO involvement in the war and the disastrous military situation facing the Ukrainian government.

Despite Biden’s declaration that “I will not send American servicemen to fight in Ukraine,” the documents show that more than 150 US and NATO troops are, in fact, deployed in the country.

And despite endless declarations that the war was “unprovoked” and that “NATO is not involved,” the documents show that US war planners see the efforts by NATO to encircle Russia and the operations of Ukrainian troops as a single campaign.

Among the most pernicious lying has been the effort to distort the military situation in Ukraine, aimed at presenting the Ukrainian military as on the verge of a major strategic breakthrough.

This campaign has sought to minimize Ukrainian losses while inflating those of the Russian side, in an effort to justify using more Ukrainian youth as cannon fodder.

In an editorial published just two weeks ago, the Washington Post wrote that Ukraine was “inflicting a terrible toll on Russian attackers — a ‘slaughter-fest,’ in the assessment of Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

It continued, “Most Western analysts remain confident that Ukraine, which is amassing a significant arsenal from the United States and its NATO allies, retains and is building a significant offensive capacity.”

In early February, the New York Times claimed that Russian forces had suffered 200,000 casualties. “The number of Russian troops killed and wounded in Ukraine is approaching 200,000, a stark symbol of just how badly President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion has gone, according to American and other Western officials.”

 The Times reported:

The Russian military is running low on critical supplies and replenishment, said Colin H. Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy. “They’re running low on artillery. They’re running low on standoff munitions, and they are substituting by sending convicts in human waves into places like Bakhmut and Soledar.”

Just one week ago, in an article published on April 3, the Times wrote:

Ukraine is capable of inflicting losses on the Russian Army that could have far-reaching geopolitical consequences, said Evelyn Farkas, an expert at the McCain Institute. She posited a once-unthinkable outcome: that Ukraine could render Russia a weakened military power, with little leverage in negotiations to end the war.

These triumphalist declarations have been shattered by the release of the secret Pentagon documents.

The documents reveal that, according to US military estimates, the Russian side has had 35,000-45,000 killed in action, and that, contrary to US claims that Russian munitions are on the verge of being depleted, it is, in fact, Ukraine that is running critically low on ammunition, while Russia is on the verge of achieving air supremacy.

In an article entitled, “U.S. doubts Ukraine counteroffensive will yield big gains,” the Washington Post points to internal assessments by the US military that give a far more dire picture of the situation.

The Post writes: 

Ukraine’s challenges in massing troops, ammunition and equipment could cause its military to fall “well short” of Kyiv’s original goals for an anticipated counteroffensive aimed at retaking Russian-occupied areas this spring, according to U.S. intelligence assessments contained in a growing leak of classified documents revealing Washington’s misgivings about the state of the war.

The Post reports on the existence of a secret US intelligence document warning of “significant ‘force generation and sustainment shortfalls,’” and the likelihood that such an operation will result in only “modest territorial gains.”

The article declares, “It’s a marked departure from the Biden administration’s public statements about the vitality of Ukraine’s military.”

The Post concludes from these developments not that the government should not have been lying, but that the documents should never have been made public. Indeed, the newspaper declared in an editorial published the same day, “The most damaging part of the leaked Ukraine documents is the leak itself.”

In 1971, the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, which exposed a systematic US government campaign to deceive the American public about US involvement in the Vietnam War. The US engaged in military operations in Vietnam about which the public was told nothing, while the reasons given for the war were deliberate lies.

Today, the Times, alongside most of the US media, sees as its duty not to inform the public, but to facilitate the military objectives of the US government. This is what they see as “journalism.”

The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal were fully aware of the disaster facing the Ukrainian military, yet they persisted in marching in lockstep with the US government as it sought to systematically deceive the public.

In this, the media is operating in the spirit of the declaration in 2010 by then-New York Times’ executive editor Bill Keller: “Freedom of the press includes freedom not to publish, and that is a freedom we exercise with some regularity.”

In contrast to the US print and broadcast media outlets, with their vast resources and dozens of embedded reporters in Ukraine, none of the revelations in the leaks came as a surprise to the World Socialist Web Site

Before the outbreak of the war, the WSWS warned about the massive US military buildup in Eastern Europe, explaining that the United States was seeking to escalate the conflict with Russia. Since the beginning of the US-NATO proxy war in Ukraine we have documented the massive level of US involvement.

It is the availability of information contradicting the official propaganda narrative that is behind the campaign to censor the internet, which has resulted in the systematic suppression of left-wing publications on Google, the suspension of Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with the WSWS, and the blocking of WSWS articles on Facebook.

The war in Ukraine, which has already killed or injured hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions, must be stopped.

On Sunday, April 30, the International Committee of the Fourth International, the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality and the World Socialist Web Site will hold an online global May Day rally to mobilize workers and young people around the world against the war in Ukraine.  We urge all of those who seek to oppose the war to register today.