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Friday, March 18, 2022

Sorry, George, You Got it Wrong and Archbishop Vigano Got It Right!

The wise and wonderful Weigel!

The other day George Weigel wrote an attack piece on Archbishop Vigano that included a number of bullet points about the "manifestly false claims" Vigano made in his recent letter about the war in Ukraine. Weigel labeled Vigano a conspiracy nut comparable to Col. Grace-Groundling Marchpole, a character in an Evelyn Waugh novel.'s an effective strategy as Saul Alinsky pointed out in his Rules for Radicals. Even I use it occasionally when things are too ridiculous to treat seriously and the ponderously pontificating need a little prick to their puffed up pomposity. (I know, I know ridiculous alliteration!)

Sad to say, a number of other commentators picked up on Weigel's slander and high-fived his opinion that Vigano has descended into nutty land and probably doesn't even write the documents attributed to him. So let's look at just one of Weigel's "proofs" for Vigano's "manifestly false claims." I chose this one because it intrigued me:  

  • [Weigle says it's manifestly false that] "There are 'neo-Nazi military forces' in Ukraine."
How ridiculous! So ridiculous it deserves quotes! Neo-Nazi military forces in Ukraine? Nope! Not a single one! Nada! Just one more proof that Vigano has lost it, should be discredited, maybe even institutionalized, certainly not to be taken seriously by anyone! Neo-Nazis? -- That's laughable!

Hmmm...well...I decided to take that one bullet that Weigel labeled "manifestly false" (with no backup evidence or documentation) and check it out. And here's what I discovered. The one making a "manifestly false claim" about this particular Vigano claim is neocon warmonger George Weigel. 

Yes, George, there are "neo-Nazi military forces" in Ukraine and many sources recognize it and have recognized it for years. You've got to stop listening to CNN and MSNBC and all the conversations at cocktail parties with your neocon friends.

Let's check out a few facts.

In 2018 Reuters ran a commentary article by Josh Cohen, a "former USAID project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union." The article was titled  Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem, you know, the one Weigel says doesn't exist.

Cohen has written a number of articles about Ukraine that are well worth reading and pondering. One from 2016 describes Ukrain historian Volodymyr Viatrovych and his effort to whitewash and rewrite the history of the country. According to Cohen, the historian advocates:
a  nationalist, revisionist history that glorifies the country's move to independence -- and purges bloody and opportunistic whitewash Ukrainian nationalist groups' [i.e., neo-Nazis] involvement in the Holocaust and mass ethnic cleansing of Poles during World War II....The controversy centers on a telling of World War II history that amplifies Soviet crimes and glorifies Ukrainian nationalist fighters while dismissing the vital part they played in ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews from 1941 to 1945....Viatrovych's vision of history instead tells the story of partisan guerrillas who waged a brave battle for Ukrainian independence against overwhelming Soviet power. It also sends a message to those who do not identify with the county's ethno-nationalist mythmakers -- such as the many Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine...that they are outside. And more pointedly., scholars now fear that they risk reprisal for not toeing the official line.

Cohen's articles are important because they point to the on-going impact of the neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine which Weigel so cavalierly dismisses. The 2018 article contains this:

Kiev’s recent efforts to incorporate independent armed groups [i.e. paramilitary neo-Nazi organizations] into its regular armed forces...make addressing the ultranationalist threat considerably more complicated than it is elsewhere....
To be clear, the Kremlin’s claims that Ukraine is a hornets’ nest of fascists are false: far-right parties performed poorly in Ukraine’s last parliamentary elections, and Ukrainians reacted with alarm to the National Militia’s demonstration in Kiev. But connections between law enforcement agencies and extremists give Ukraine’s Western allies ample reason for concern. C14 [a neo-Nazi paramilitary group with connections to Azov another neo-Nazi group] and Kiev's city government recently signed an agreement allowing C14 to establish a "municipal guard" to patrol the streets; three such militia-run guard forces are already registered in Kiev, and at least 21 operate in other cities.

Wow! That's a lot of neo-Nazi groups invisible to the Weigel who are actively working with the government.

What's of even more concern to me as a mother and grandmother is that these neo-Nazi groups are brainwashing and militarizing children even running extremist military camps for youngsters some of whom look to be tweens or even younger!

So, have these neo-Nazi groups suddenly disappeared in the past five years? Is Weigel right?


There are articles galore about the Azov movement's involvement in the war and how the neo-Nazis are using the war to gain field experience. There are articles about it in both the conservative media and left-wing sources like Salon. 

In conclusion. Once you find a pundit is wrong on one bullet point, why bother examining the others? Weigel was apparently so eager to discredit the archbishop that he didn't bother doing his homework. After all, he's a respected pundit unlike Vigano whom he believes has exchanged his miter for a tin hat. 

Evelyn Waugh could have a field day with George in one of his satirical novels. I can see him as the right hand man and spokesman for a charismatic cult leader pontificating about the health benefits of Kool-Aid.

As for me....I stand with Archbishop Vigano!


  1. Weigel could very well be right about neo-Nazis. They are probably plain old regular Nazis.

  2. Weigel is a bloated buffoon. Waste not another second on him.