War is hell. No matter where you are from, what country you live in, or who is on the receiving end of artillery or an airstrike. The war currently going on in Ukraine is no different. Countless innocent lives will be lost, on both sides, all in the name of power consolidation and ideology. Whether or not the Russian soldiers believe in the cause is pointless. The same goes for Ukrainian soldiers. That also places the people in the middle of harms way, the civilians, in a position of total disregard. Yet, there is something American about this war; something ironic in saying that what Putin is doing is bad while ignoring the countless airstrikes our drones have implemented on sovereign soil for the last 20 years.
This story is being sensationalized as the worst thing to happen since Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. Not only is this not the only example of war happening currently, the invasion of countries by western powers has continued non-stop since the era of colonization. But lets be real here. We are not the good guys in the global story. The atrocities that Putin is perpetuating right now are the exact same things we have done in the recent past. In fact, we started two wars in the early 00s that destroyed entire nations on the pretense of a “threat”. We have been bombing nonstop since the advent of those wars numerous countries on at least 2 different continents. As of September of 2021, it has been estimated that the United States has completed over 100,000 airstrikes globally, killing somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 civilians.
It’s blatantly obvious that the only reason people in America care as much as they do about the war in Ukraine is because it is in Europe. No western nation stood up entire armies of reserves when Israel has bombed Palestine. Nor have the presses covered the civil conflicts in any of the African nations.
What is more, here in America many have been advocating for the opening of borders to Ukrainian refugees, no matter the number. The past several years have been marked with anti-immigration rhetoric and policy. Most notably under Presidents Obama and Trump. Obama who deported more immigrants than any other president before him and Trump who used White grievance to fund a border wall. Not to mention just this last year Haitian refugees have been fleeing to our borders, perpetually frozen in a bureaucratic system that favors White Europeans, all under our new president (who is somehow supposed to be better than Trump?).
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t care about what Russia and Putin are doing. It is terrifying when considering the nuclear capabilities of Russia and their history of endorsing chemical and biological weapons use. It is something we should worry about. But what I am saying is that it is a great opportunity to check our biases and compare our national responses and offenses against history.