The Guardian • Issue #2075


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2075

Dying for inches

Hannah Middleton

This issue of Peace Notes is from a recent article by Caitlin Johnson “People are dying for inches in Ukraine, the ‘world’s largest arms fair.’ ”

“The reason the map of gains and losses is so heartbreaking is because so much has been given up for so very, very little. At least tens of thousands have died in this war with hundreds of thousands wounded, all for those teeny, tiny little blips on the map. Ukraine is now freckled with more landmines than anywhere else on earth, which experts say will take decades to clear. This giant deathtrap is exacerbated by the cluster munitions that are covering the land with greater and greater frequency, which will go on to detonate and kill civilians (mostly children) for years to come. The mines and artillery fire on the frontline of this war are reportedly creating tens of thousands of amputees, numbers comparable to what was seen in World War I.

“War is the worst thing in the world. The suffering, trauma and loss of mass military violence is too much to comprehend, even for people who are right there experiencing it. And the only thing worse than a war where one side gets completely steamrolled by the other is one in which people keep killing each other and killing each other over tiny gains and losses on the battlefield without an end to the nightmare anywhere on the horizon.

“And now we see western officials and media outlets telling us all to prepare for this war to drag on for years, potentially into the 2030s. This nonsensical violence, which even the head of NATO now admits could have been avoided by simply ceasing to amass a western military threat on Russia’s doorstep, is scheduled to drag on as long as possible for no grander reason than the advancement of US strategic interests.

This news from The New York Times comes out at the same time as a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article subtitled “Arms makers are getting orders for weapons being put to the test on the battlefield.”

“The Panzerhaubitze howitzer is part of an arsenal of weapons being put to the test in Ukraine in what has become the world’s largest arms fair,” writes WSJ’s Alistair MacDonald. “Companies that make the weapons being used in Ukraine have won orders and resurrected production lines. The deployment of billions of dollars worth of equipment in a major land war has also given manufacturers and militaries a unique opportunity to analyse the battlefield performance of weapons and learn how best to use them.”

This is one of those things that just sounds a bit uncomfortable at first, but if you really sit with the words and deeply contemplate what’s being said here it will show up as so deeply evil it will give you nightmares. The fact that weapons systems are being tested on human bodies to the immense benefit of war profiteers over a completely avoidable and deliberately provoked war is one of the most depraved things you can possibly imagine, and is a clear sign that we are living in a profoundly sick society.

This is so, so ugly, and it’s slated to get even uglier – these freaks haven’t even gotten started on China yet. “The sooner this monstrous power structure can be brought to its knees, the better it will be for everyone.”

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