by Elliott Adams
I have a recurring nightmare. But this is a new recurring nightmare. This one only started after the fighting began in Ukraine, with the news of all the heinous and terrible things happening there, and my inability to do anything about it.
In my nightmare, we are fighting a house fire. There are screaming people. My firefighter crew is struggling to control the raging flames. It is hot, it is hard, everyone is working at their absolute max. Then I realize that my fire hose is not spraying water like the ones carried by the other firefighters. Mine is spraying gasoline. It is accelerating the fire. I am unable to stop it. I can’t put it down. I can’t get the attention or help of the other firefighters. Wherever I turn, I spread more fire.
The atrocities that are happening in Ukraine are inexcusable. But I also know from my experiences in war that they are part of every modern war. Well . . . except for those fought in Hollywood and Washington, D.C. I see the evil, the war crimes, the human cost as just the war, as any war, as all wars. If we support a war, this is what we are supporting.
Ukraine is awful, but I am an American. It is my country that spends more on the military than the next ten countries in the world combined – and many of those ten are U.S. allies. It is my country that is the world’s largest manufacturer of weapons. It is my country that is the only one to have dropped nuclear bombs. It is my country that sells the most weapons of war in the world.
My country has not signed the Anti-Landmine Treaty or the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.. My country has not joined the No First Use of Nuclear Weapons agreement. My country, in recent history, invaded and tried to occupy Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and supports attacks on Yemen. As Dr King said, my government is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
I guess it is no wonder that although I want to put out the fire, preserve the house, and save the lives, I am left unable to get rid of that fire hose that sprays gasoline onto the fire.