Are Some People Just Bad?

Watching the footage out of Ukraine these days you have to wonder where this large group of Russians went wrong. Wrong isn’t the right word, evil is closer to it. I get that dictators order their minions to do truly evil things, but what causes someone to follow those orders? Are some people just bad?

Vladimir Putin ordering the execution of civilians isn’t a surprise, it’s what all left-wing dictators eventually do. They also, eventually, turn on their inner circle of advisors. Paranoia is a weird thing. I hope Putin’s closest allies have their affairs in order, their trip to Hell is likely approaching faster than they thought. 

I get all of that – power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely – but that doesn’t explain everyone else. Where are the Russian people? Where are the mass defections from the military? Come to think of it, where is the military?

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham got into some hot water this week by openly calling for someone, anyone, to step up and execute Putin. It wasn’t stupid because Putin is a good guy deserving of due process, he’s executing Russians around the globe who’ve spoken out against him, it was stupid because if there was an effort underway, Graham polluted it. 

Any attempt on Putin would be seen as an official act committed by the US government, or at least sanctioned by it. But taking out Putin alone wouldn’t do anything. Those closest to him, conveying and overseeing his orders, have to be arrested to. The Russian people as a whole may not particularly care about the wholesale slaughter of Ukrainian civilians, but they’d probably be opposed to assassinating their leader.

A failed attempt, even if done independently of Graham’s words, could easily be spun as US government action and could serve as a “rally around the flag” moment for Russians.

Lindsey Graham, wanting to sound tough or like a leader in the absence of one under Joe Biden, kneecapped any effort, either through clandestine organizations or simply Russians stepping up, to topple their government. It was stupid.

Graham’s stupidity aside, you still have to wonder where the “good” people are in this. What kind of soldier opens fire on civilians? What kind of person hears an order to indiscriminately launch mortars and rockets into a city and does it? Is there no one in the entire chain of command unwilling to murder people simply because they were ordered to? 

The Nazis were like that – “only following orders” – but it didn’t fly then, and it won’t fly now.   Continue


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