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The Russian Army has become the Putin Forces
Richard Stallman, 2022-03-04

Putin's army has bombarded civilian areas with volleys of missiles, and aerial bombing.

In any war, bombs fall on civilians by mistake or misjudgment, and soldiers commit personal hate crimes. No army can stop that, though every army must try. But bombardment is too big and organized to be mistakes. Putin must have ordered his army to attack civilians.

When President Bush II took troops from the US Army for his war to conquer Iraq, I resolved never to call them "American troops". They had joined the US Army, but they had become Bush's personal army, so I called them "the Bush forces".

I did this to encourage Americans to join me in resisting being manipulated through our patriotism. I hope Americans feel loyalty to the US Army when it is fighting for a good cause, but there was no reason why any Americans — least of all, the hijacked soldiers themselves — should feel loyalty to Bush or the Bush forces, or what they had been ordered to do to Iraq.

It is in the same spirit that I refer to the army attacking Ukraine as the Putin forces or Putin's army. There is no reason why any Russians should feel loyalty to the Putin forces or what they have been ordered to do. I urge soldiers in Putin's army to resist the advance of the invasion, or go over to Ukraine's side.

The bombardment will give Ukrainians visceral reasons to hate the invaders. It would be natural for them to think of the invaders as "the Russians" or "the Russian army". But that could lead to lasting hatred between those two closely related nations. It will be much better if Ukrainians and Russians jointly recognize Putin as their enemy.

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