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Letters for Sunday, April 17, 2022

Putin’s dream of empire dashed, for the time being

Putin believes the greatest catastrophe of the past century was the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 separate republics.

In his view, the West, with the help of the U.S., caused this humiliation. Ever since he came to power 1999, he has propagandized the Russian people into believing they can be a super nation again with him as the chosen tsar to lead Russia back to greatness.

Putin portrays the United States as an international bully. “The West seeks world domination, a world that has only one master, one sovereign.” In Putin’s geopolitical view, the remaking of the Soviet empire against this aggressor starts with the Ukraine. He claims Ukraine is a nation propped up by the West, run by Nazis and fascists, and used as a weapon against Russia.

Putin’s attempts to control the Ukraine came awry with anti-Soviet Maiden Revolutions of February 2014. In response, Putin invaded Crimea (56% Russian people), and east Ukraine, the Donbas (Russians in the minority). Pro-Russian forces were fought to a standstill in the Donbas by patriotic citizens who bought their military equipment ($2,000 to $2,500 per man).

Ignoring the patriotic fervor of the majority of Ukrainians, Putin, believing President Zelenskyy did not have popular support, invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. It precipitated the greatest humanitarian disaster since World War II: total war against the people of the Ukraine.

Putin was wrong about Zelenskyy. He proved to be a courageous wartime leader rallying enormous support for Ukraine freedom.

Western analysts thought the 175,000 Russian troops and vehicles would have an easy invasion. It was believed that Kyiv, only 90 miles from the Belarus border, would fall within five days. As we know, it did not, nor did any major Ukraine city surrender despite horrific bombardments.

Why? A prime military axiom is: “Know thy enemy.” Putin learned nothing from the civilian resistance in the Donbas. He ignored the hatred Ukraine people have for Soviet rule because of the Holodomor (famine that starved millions to death in the Stalin era), the Maidan revolts, and polls that showed up to 90% of Ukraine people wanted independence. In a nutshell, if you do not have popular support of your opponent you cannot win.

Russian command structure has a big problem: it lacks a professional staff. In a 2021 speech to his leading officers, Putin declared: “Achieving success in any conflict depends on the professionalism of its commanders.” The failure of Russian arms to penetrate less than 50 miles into Ukraine territory is clear evidence of command failures. U.S. Gen. Black Jack Persian said: “Infantry wins battles, logistics wins wars.”

An army needs a minimum of three support personnel for each soldier in combat. (U.S. has 10 support soldiers for each combat soldier.) The Russian ratio is less than one to one.

To fight, soldiers need food, ammunition, fuel and proper equipment, vehicles need fuel, maintenance and spare parts to overcome unfavorable terrain, medics to care for the wounded, engineers to repair blown bridges, and an ample supply of trucks to haul 450 pounds of supplies needed per day by each soldier.

It is unwise to invade a big country in wintertime. Terrain can be muddy. Cold weather and snow affect the ability of a soldier to fight in a hostile land. The great invaders like Napoleon and Hitler waited until June 22 before attacking Russia.

Putin invaded with minimal, poorly supplied forces, expecting a quick victory. His badly led and under-supplied army was defeated. In retreat it extracted vengeance on civilians.

William J. Fernandez is a retired judge and Kapa‘a resident.

Killing of cats has to stop

I’d like to add on to the letter in The Garden Island’s April 11 edition about three missing white cats, in Anahola, ‘What is going on with cats on Kaua‘i?’

I have had four white cats disappear in the Niumlau/Nawiliwili area.

Is someone breeding them and then throwing them out, or are they “escaping”? For what purpose?

This past week my young indoor cat darted outside. She came home late last night with a rope burn around her neck and the fur is gone.

My neighbor has had five black cats just disappear. She is devastated.

Why do we have huntng dogs out barking every Thursday night from 7 to 8:30 p.m.?

The barking is coming from the Puhi neighborhood/Kipu area. You can hear it all the way over to the Menehune Fishpond.

We had a young one come into our yard. He (no chip) was fed until we got him to the Kaua‘i Humane Society, where he was reunited with his owner.

Why can’t people help cats, too? Why do they have to disappear and/or be killed?

Another cat showed up awhile ago. She came from Wailua Homesteads. With the help of Kaua‘i Community Cat Project and KHS, she was identified by her microchip and went home. Please tell me how that cat “walked” across the Wailua River to get to the harbor area. Cats are still disappearing in Wailua.

I’ve been trying to find out who is doing what to our island cats. Is “Hallux Restoration” (hired by the County) still trapping and killing cats? Their website shows they have two sharpshooters on their team. Say what?

I asked the County Council and was told by a councilmember “We aren’t informed on how cats are euthanized.” They don’t care or don’t ask?

Has the County Council’s bill (2842) enabled anyone and everyone to “kill all cats?”

Where is our moral compass? Where are our values? ALL life is a miracle.

Now there’s an avian flu (caused by a mosquito bite in birds-including chickens) outbreak on the mainland. Is that happening here too? On Thursday, April 14, the KHON channel two news reported, DLNR says “avian malaria is killing our Hawaiian birds and soon they will become extinct.”

1) When are people going to admit this? 2) When will this be addressed? 3) Stop blaming cats for everything.

Please notify the Kaua‘i Humane Society (email: about things like this going on, just so they know. Please speak up and report issues.

Please help with doing what’s right for ALL Kaua‘i cats, even the dogs (who killed my momma cat and her kitten?).

Please act responsibly. The trapping, stealing, dumping and killing of cats has to stop.

Joyce Ogmundson, Lihu‘e
Source: The Garden Island

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