Can’t men give it a break? That’s what my wife asked me this morning. She was talking about the Russia-Ukraine war, and she has a point. Whether in the USA, Russia, or Ukraine, you get a lot of men posing as tough, cheering on the war while putting on their big boy pants. Joe Biden appears to relish denouncing Putin as a “war criminal” who’s committing “genocide.” Western media has seemingly fallen in love with Zelensky, a political novice, a former actor and comedian, who’s now being lionized as a hero and statesman, mentioned in the same breath as Winston Churchill. For his part, Putin’s hardline stance and his pursuit of war seems to be winning him more support among the Russian people. War is good for all these men — until it isn’t.
As my wife said this AM, what about the impact of war on animals? The environment? We know that war kills people, often enough innocents caught in the crossfire and shellfire. But what about the impact of all these weapons on the flora and fauna, the environment around us, the soil and the water, the very air that we breathe?
Especially in military circles, it’s very easy to talk about war in the abstract, about ships and tanks and planes, about no-fly zones and cauldrons and moving units around on a map. Far tougher it is to see war in all its enormity, in all its chaos, in all its destructiveness. What’s it all for? What justifies the destruction of Ukraine, or any other country for that matter? What is the point of it all?
A solution to this war seems readily at hand. Ukraine should agree to being a neutral country that won’t join NATO. Eastern areas of Ukraine that are predominately Russian could be autonomous states. Russia should remove all troops and help in the rebuilding of Ukraine. Instead of sending billions in weaponry, the U.S. should send billions in aid to help rebuild Ukraine after hostilities cease.
End the war. End the killing. Be real men.