It’s becoming an all-too common habit. When I wake up, I turn on my phone, go to the Telegram page that my Ukrainian friend sent me, and get updates about the overnight events. Most of the posts are about news regarding the current conflict, the military victories of Ukraine, and the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
But today, it was different.
It came from a video which shows a typical car, driven by an elderly couple, being targeted by a tank. As the car drove down a side street, a tank, coming from another street, shot the car with multiple rounds of ammunition. Just to make sure that the driver was dead, the tank shot not just one, but two shells into the car. After the tanks had left, someone nearby took a video of the carnage.
The entire invasion of Ukraine has been a surreal experience to say the least. Of course, the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t help either. Whenever I turn on CNN, MSNBC, BBC News, or many of the other outlets that I’ve been watching, you are faced with Ukrainian tragedy, but also their resilience. Videos of surrendering Russian soldiers and billions of dollars of burned out Russian military hardway does give me a glimmer of hope that Ukraine can make it through this.
However, there is one thing that has been missing, and suspiciously so.
During all of the coverage of the war, we don’t see the Russian propaganda machine churning out videos of dead or surrendering Ukrainian soldiers. We don’t see them talking about military victories. For a country that is so proud of its military history and might, the absolute silence is interesting. There isn’t even any propaganda faking military victories.
However, the videos that we do see of Russian attacks are almost entirely on civilian facilities. The Antonov International Airport, which was attacked by Russian troops, is a civil government airport, not a military base. The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant provides power to millions of civilians and, again, is not a military facility. The Kyiv TV tower, another thing with absolutely no military value, was targeted as well. And, of course, we have countless images of dead and dying Ukrainians on the streets, in their homes, and in hospitals. Houses are bombed. Apartment buildings are bombed. Hospitals are bombed. Kindergartens are bombed.
It must be asked, is Russia trying to accomplish a military victory, or something else?
Now, I’m not going to go into the conflict further. There is a lot of material out there that talks about how Putin views Ukraine. But, to lightly put it, he feels that Ukraine doesn’t exist.
The absolute focus on bombing civilians, as well as forcing Ukrainians to flee to other countries, we really do have to call this what it is…ethnic cleansing and genocide.
I know that is very heavy to contemplate, but when it’s just as dangerous to be a civilian as it is to be a soldier, we have to finally call this what it is. While Putin might not be going as far as Ratko Mladić or Rudolf Höss, he might just be doing it in a way that is less suspicious. Also, we are only two weeks into this conflict. A lot can change.
With that, the US Government needs to ask itself if morality ends at the NATO border. What makes someone’s life in Poland more precious than one in Ukraine? The absolute lack of leadership on this issue has not only led to the continuation of the decline in America’s leadership, but also its moral authority. If the US Government doesn’t believe in “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, then what do we believe?
Standing on the sidelines now is complacency to genocide. I thought we were better.