Ukraine War, May 8, 2022: In emotionally powerful symbolic move, First Lady Jill Biden meets with First Lady Olena Zelenska in Ukraine on Mother’s Day and VE Day; The moral responsibility of journalists for disclosures of sensitive military information (“Loose lips sink ships.”)

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.


1) Tyler Pager, “First lady Jill Biden visits Ukraine in rare trip to war zone; The U.S. president’s wife celebrated Mother’s Day with the Ukrainian first lady as Russia continued to wage war in the country,” Washington Post, May 8, 2022 (9:24 a.m. EDT);

2) Daniel W. Drezner, “America’s loose lips on Ukraine; Maybe U.S. officials should stop talking about the war in Ukraine for a spell,”
Washington Post, May 8, 2022 (3:07 p.m. EDT);

3) Carrie Nooten (New York, Nations Unies,),”Guerre en Ukraine : une amorce de reprise de diplomatie onusienne; Pour la première fois depuis le début de la guerre en Ukraine, le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU a, vendredi 6 mai, apporté à l’unanimité son « ferme soutien » à « la recherche d’une solution pacifique ». Une déclaration minimisée par l’ambassadeur russe à l’ONU, Le Monde, le 07 mai 2022 (à 11h49, mis à jour à 11h50).

4) Carrie Nooten (United Nations (New York), “War in Ukraine: The beginning of a resumption of UN diplomacy; For the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the UN Security Council unanimously gave its ‘firm support’ to ‘the search for a peaceful solution’ on Friday,” Le Monde English Edition, May 8, 2022 (02h48, updated at 09h14).


Meeting of First Ladies, in Ukraine

In an emotionally powerful meeting between First Lady Jill Biden and First Lady Olena Zelenska, inside Ukraine, on Mother’s Day and Victory over Europe Day (VE Day), the United States sent an important message to the world that it stands solidly with Ukraine in opposing the Russian invasion and barbaric atrocities being committed in the war.

Vladimir Putin has been upstaged. Outside of Russia and its totitarian media space, nothing he can do tomorrow can outdo what Jill Biden and Olena Zelenska have achieved today. The meeting came at the Zelenska’s suggestion.

America’s “loose lips”

“Loose lips” sink ships,” the old World War II adage goes. Drezner recaps the disastrous disclosures in the New York Times and other media about the extent of intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Ukrainian forces. These disclosures were followed by stepped-up Russian attacks on Ukrainian rail and other infrastructure.

The New York Times articles were written by some of their best and most experienced investigative journalists.

However, they bear grave responsibility, as do their editors, for the publication of these articles. The publication of such highly sensitive military information, particularly that dealing with intelligence sharing with Ukrainian forces, has undoubtedly cost lives, and is likely to cost more, particularly if it inhibits U. S. intelligence agencies from fully sharing such information in the future.

These reporters, who are some of the best in the business, and their editors, should take time out from the headlong rush for headlines to reflect deeply on this fact: their disclosures have cost lives, and undoubtedly will cost more lives in the future.

Equally egregious as disclosures about intelligence sharing has been the publication of articles that implicitly question why Russian forces have not taken even more severe military actions to defeat the Ukrainians and their allied supporters.

One of the most important ethical responsibilities of every journalist is to do no harm. Obviously there are situations where difficult trade-offs exist.

This is not one of them.

These disclosures, and the giving of inadvertent military advice to the Russians, might have been avoided if the journalists involved, and their editors, had taken the time to reflect deeply on what they were doing.

They should do so in the future.

If necessary, they should even change their organizational procedures and timing requirements so as to ensure that time and space for such deep reflection is at all times available.

The Trenchant Observer


See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.