Posts about war

Where is our moral line in Ukraine?

A thread I posted on Twitter, asking questions:

It is likely a mistake to think aloud here on Twitter but I will confess I am unsure what to think about US/NATO involvement in a no-fly zone over Ukraine. I am gun-shy, literally, after my errors regarding Iraq. But…

How can we allow this democracy to be destroyed by fascism? Generals on TV say we must do more but then stop short of specifying what “more” is. Ukraine is asking for help to establish a no-fly zone as Russia bombards their country. So that is the question.

The reflexive answer is that we will defend NATO lands. So we will not defend Finland? Sweden? Any nation in the world not in NATO? Because Russia has nuclear weapons? That turns into quite a broad license for Putin.

The presumption seems to be that once we engage in protecting Ukraine, Putin has license to escalate to nukes. He might anyway. Then what? Is *that* the line? Ironically, then, the nuclear argument is its own form of escalation, almost daring him to use them or do everything but.

I know this is a helluva lot easier for me to say safely in America. I acknowledge again that thinking the US needed to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Iraq was dangerously naive of me. I am sobered by the perils at hand. But…

I am also aware that the Bush/Neocon/LindseyGraham extension of that reasoning would be to instigate regime change in Russia. No, I am not saying that! But Russia is instigating regime change in Ukraine. Do they not deserve protection?

We have a moral question to address: What is our obligation to Ukraine? What is the line? War crimes are being committed before our eyes: targeting civilians, using cluster bombs. Will we stand by to see Ukraine as Chechnya? Where is our line?

I have no interest in entering war. Even with the difficult exit from Afghanistan, I am gratified that Biden has taken America off the battlefield for the first time in decades.

I ask all this because I am interested in others’ perspectives. If this thread turns into a shouting mess, I’ll delete it. But if you, too, are trying to grapple with these questions, I’d like to hear others’ thoughts.

I grew up with the Vietnam War on TV. It made me anti-war, a young pacifist. Perhaps best if I’d stuck with that rather than accepting the idea of human rights & democratic aspiration in Afghanistan, then Iraq. Surviving 9/11 at the WTC affected me, I will confess.

Now we watch the Ukrainian war up close on social media, not through the mediator of TV but hearing directly from the civilians being targeted. This forces us to examine our own moral stands.

That poll does at least show people are questioning where their lines are: aid v. no-fly v. troops. We — Biden — must be careful of being swept away from a tide of public outrage and empathy. But we also must be open to debating. Thus this thread.

I do not have a conclusion. I, of course, recognize the gravity of approaching a point of no return. I also dread the regret of not doing enough.