Suppose I accuse you of wearing a blue tie on a Tuesday. Surely the most obvious response is, What’s wrong with wearing a blue tie on a Tuesday?
Well, Russia is accusing the Ukrainians of having bombed a fuel depot in Belgorod last night. And the Ukrainians are declining to say whether they did or didn’t. Why? Aren’t these two countries at war? What am I missing here?
I can understand why neither side would want to admit they’re deliberately targeting the other’s civilians. But the other’s army’s fuel depots? Aren’t the other’s army’s fuel depots precisely what a country at war is supposed to target?
The best that I can come up with is that by targeting Belgorod the Ukrainians have extended the war into Russian territory. And this constitutes … What? Escalation? The Russians have been inside Ukraine targeting its military and civilians for six weeks now. The Ukrainians get in one lucky shot on Russian territory and the Kremlin cries foul?!
For those six weeks I’ve been wondering when the Ukrainians would manage to bring the war home to the Russians. Last night they finally did. After all, turnabout is fair play. But there’s something unmanly about pretending that it’s not. The Americans cried foul after 9/11, but at least they could claim, albeit myopically, that “We wasn’t doin’ nothin’!” But the Russians are hardly in a similar position.
What I’d like to see – though I doubt that I will – is something like the Doolittle Raid against Japan on April 18, 1942. That was thought to be a suicide mission, though it turned out it wasn’t. It had no military objective. Its sole purpose was to warn the Japanese people about people who live in glass houses. A Ukrainian air strike on Moscow wouldn’t end the war in Ukraine any more than the Tokyo Raid ended the war in the Pacific. But looking at the satellite footage of Mariupol, it’s hard to see how it could make matters worse.