The Distinct Shame of Senate Republicans.
Plus, What Do We Know About Russia’s Forcible Deportations of Ukrainians?
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A.B. Stoddard: The Distinct Shame of Senate Republicans.
Watching the House Select Committee on January 6th hearings I was struck by one overriding question.
As the various members of the White House staff and counsel’s office testified to witnessing a deranged president trying to overturn an election by sending a mob he knew was armed to sack the Capitol and harm his vice president—how much of this did Senate Republicans know when they voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment on February 13, 2021?
Probably most of it. Maybe even all of it.
And what have they rushed to condemn since this all became public? None of it.
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Amid massacres, rapes, execution-style murders, reported torture, and now an apparent on-camera sexual mutilation and murder of a prisoner of war perpetrated by Russian troops in Ukraine, the deportations of Ukrainian civilians to Russia almost pale as a human rights violation. Nonetheless, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted in a press statement last month, such forcible transfers are “a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians” and constitute a war crime. While the exact numbers are difficult to assess, the scope of the problem is horrific. And, especially in the case of children, Russian actions seem to be an ominous part of a deliberate—if haphazard—strategy aimed at destroying Ukrainian national identity.
Reports of the deportations began fairly early in the war. In late March, about a month after the February 23 invasion, authorities in besieged Mariupol began to say that civilians were being forcibly relocated to Russia under the guise of evacuation from the war-torn city. “Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents were deported onto the Russian territory,” wrote the Mariupol City Council on its Telegram account on March 19. March 24 brought an update: “Russian occupiers are forcing people to get onto buses”—as many as 15,000—and “taking away their passports and other Ukrainian identity documents.” Explicitly comparing these deportations to actions taken by the Nazis, the city council claimed that Russian troops were blocking attempts to organize the evacuation of residents to Ukrainian-controlled areas, where the overwhelming majority of them wanted to go.
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