U.S. vs Russia: Who Are We To Compare Atrocities?

Peacefully sitting at my desk near the front oval, I’m ardently typing up my next exposé, waving to friends in the hallway, windows open, basking in the fresh air. Amidst the bliss, Fort Hamilton sounds an alarm I’ve never heard before. Ash infiltrates the breeze as a loud boom and radiance fills the army base next door. I rush to the art wing – it’s a shelter if you didn’t know – when another loud boom hits the Veteran’s Hospital. Russia is coming to Brooklyn. The next few weeks entail the bombings of more hospitals, children’s hospitals, apartment buildings, refugee centers, parks, and school becomes second to surviving. 

Right now, Russia is attacking Ukraine, and it’s evil. Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, thinking he would face complete surrender by Ukraine, did not get what he had hoped for. Facing dissatisfaction, Putin goes, “let’s just kill everyone.” Russia is bombing cities, destroying villages, killing civilians. 

In America, President Theodore Roosevelt adopted the proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” asserting American dominance as a moral duty to protect countries from the intervention of European powers. Under this guideline, American military presence in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq with millions dead soon followed. Given our history, many are asking, who are we to condemn Putin for disregarding sovereignty? 

Americans believed that Iraq garnered weapons of mass destruction and spread the message around through the free press. Many Americans condemned George Bush Jr. and did so without consequence. The United States has the right to think what they want. Russia does not. The United States has been selling arms to Saudi Arabia for intervention in Yemen, injuring thousands and leaving countless hungry and starving. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is wrong. We have committed many cruelties, many of which were disguised for moral purposes. At the same time, there is a degree of difference between selling weapons and carpet bombing an entire country with no clear motive. 

Ultimately, what difference does it make if the United States has committed atrocities? So what if we’re being somewhat hypocritical? Let’s be hypocritical in a good way. Maybe I’m being näive, but I think peace and freedom matter. If we were huddled in the art wing covering ourselves from the shellings, we wouldn’t care where the outrage and pressure came from.