by B Nimri Aziz, April 12, 2022
New Yorkers and many Americans across the country are staggered by last week’s subway shootings. It’s like a film, or a news item from the new European ‘theater of war’.
Am I alone in seeing the connection between the urging of Americans for more weapons for fighters in Ukraine, an unprecedented budget for the Pentagon, along with gun violence in U.S. neighborhoods and funding for still more police?
Daily, the U.S. president is promising more killing devices for Ukraine to confront (our) Russian attackers. There seems to be no limit. And no interest in a diplomatic solution either. Foreign fighters are encouraged to join the Ukraine side, doubtless to train under ‘advisors’ sent by NATO, the Pentagon and related U.S. agencies.
We hear daily calls from the Ukraine leader/media spokesperson/statesman all rolled into one, for more and more—more fighters, more weapons, more surveillance equipment –to counter the Russian foe. I’ve read of extremists sequestered in Syria being let loose in Ukraine to partner with U.S.-supported local neo-Nazi extreme-right fighters. Ukraine is welcoming hardened kill-for-the-sake-of-killing men who’ve known nothing but that most of their lives. Guns for hire, they’ll relish up-to-date rifles, grenade launchers, and smart missiles to fight anywhere, no questions asked. Whatever its failures in arming extremists proved in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, the U.S. policy of supporting extremist militants continues. The promise that there’ll be no U.S. troops on Ukraine soil may mollify the public, but it’s America’s war without a doubt, played to its height by the cunning Ukraine president.
Pictures emerge throughout the day of hapless Ukrainian victims. They look so much like American and European kids, grandmothers, teens; ‘we feel we are in their midst’, ‘it’s we who are under attack’. The overwhelming sympathy is matched by an underlying pleasure—‘At last; we’ve caught the Russians’. ‘At last; we will get rid of Putin and Russian dictatorship’ is embedded within every cry of sympathy for Ukrainians’ suffering.
Quietly but without a doubt U.S. and European arms manufacturers are gloating as they step up production to answer orders from the U.S. Pentagon and State Department. No Congressional votes are needed. Yes, there’s some dismay over increasing oil and gas prices. But Americans will bear it; the price is worth that sacrifice.
Then there’s the rising public support for the U.S. president who until Feb 24th had been looking rather ineffectual. Today he’s a hero. He seems to be enjoying a war status that coincides neatly with euphoric reports by U.S. and European media who do best in war reporting. The media are energized and busy, silently gratified that they need not worry about any alternative interpretation of the war’s progress from Russian sources. We heard not a peep of opposition to the U.S. government the media moguls’ complete blackout of Russian and others outlets that might offer level-headed or alternative accounts of the war. It’s hard to find an honest review of the last decade of Ukrainian political history, or an account of the Minsk Agreements, for example.
Now, in the midst of this war hysteria, comes a mass shooting in New York City. What an affront! How could it disturb the innocent routine of children and their families setting out for school and work?
We forget about how much we enjoy the daily streaming of violent films into our sitting rooms, about the millions who subscribe to porno entertainment, about the video games, most of which involve violence, we buy for our children. War is deeply embedded in our culture.