The Russian invasion has created a living hell for the people of Ukraine. Putin has shown his callous disregard for life as his military carries out the relentless bombings. Estimates are that several thousand Ukrainians have been killed. Many more have been wounded and more than 3.7 million have been forced to flee to neighboring countries.
Putin’s ruthlessness is not limited to Ukraine. His regime has used all forms of repression against those Russians who question or oppose his dictatorial rule. He has eliminated any pretense of democracy. Non-state controlled media has been shut down or heavily censored. In the first two weeks of the war, more than 13,000 were arrested for protesting. Now people can face up to 15 years in prison if they protest.
There is a similar attitude toward the young men conscripted into the military. More than 100,000 Russian troops have been sent to crush the Ukrainian resistance. Reports are that more than 10,000 Russians have been killed and more wounded.
In the U.S., corporate media is delivering heart-wrenching accounts of the war. There are the horrific videos of bombed out cities and scenes of women and children and the elderly, seeking shelter in basements and subways or vast numbers of people fleeing to safety.
The hypocrisy of the U.S. politicians and the corporate media is sickening. We never saw these kinds of accounts of the U.S. wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, or wars in countries like Yemen or Sudan. Or accounts of wars in other countries, where the U.S. supplied weapons to regimes which carried out similar policies of mass terror.
The nearly total devastation of the Ukrainian coastal city of Mariupol, with nearly half a million people, is horrendous. Hospitals, schools, public buildings where people were taking shelter have all been destroyed. It looks like Fallujah in Iraq, a city where more than 350,000 people lived – until the U.S. turned that “city of mosques” into rubble, forcing the majority who lived there to flee. By the end of the U.S. war there, an estimated 4.5 million were dead – killed directly or due to U.S. sanctions.
One defender of those sanctions was Madeline Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time. She was asked about the estimated 500,000 Iraqi children who had died because of U.S. sanctions. She responded: “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.” And today who is impacted by the sanctions that the U.S. and European governments are currently imposing on Russia? Certainly not Putin.
Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed by the people of surrounding countries, who have opened their arms and homes to them. Biden and Western European politicians have celebrated this outpouring of humanity. This is definitely not the response of these governments to refugees at their own borders.
At the U.S. border, patrols on horseback whipped and herded Haitian refugees back into Mexico. Hundreds of children have been separated from their parents at the border. Others have died slow deaths, suffocating in trucks, as they tried to escape from the terror of their homelands. Where is the U.S. government’s compassion towards them?
We live in a world at war – the result of a profit-driven system without limit to its destructiveness. We see this in the massive global climate disruption threatening life as we know it on Earth.
The priorities of this system create massive unemployment, deny people access to healthcare and decent housing and put one in seven children in poverty. It is a system that prioritizes prisons over schools. We see its greed today as the oil companies profit off this war every time we go to the gas pump.
This is criminal! It is insane that we, the majority of the people of the world, live this way. We do have the power, if and when we decide to use it, to put an end to this system before it puts an end to us.