Morality of War Series - all 3 parts

The war in Ukraine continues. Read our 3 articles about the Morality of War in the 21st Century. #PrayForUkraine

Morality of War Part One

Morality of War Part One

David Ahern

David Ahern

David is the editor of The Majellan

In this three part series we explore the morality of war in the 21st century. - "When the reports from the Ukraine appear on the television news at night, I have to mute the sound. I can’t bear to watch the suffering. The bombed-out buildings and the swollen, teary eyes of terrified small children."

So, when war breaks out in a corner of the globe like we’ve seen in the Ukraine in recent weeks I find it heart breaking. We know there will be heavy casualties: innocent men, women and children. Amid the shelling and gunfire families will be torn apart.

When the reports from the Ukraine appear on the television news at night, I have to mute the sound. I can’t bear to watch the suffering. The bombed-out buildings and the swollen, teary eyes of terrified small children.

War is futile. War is destructive. War should play no part in the world today. We saw what happened last century and the terrible cost of two world wars and multiple conflicts between countries particularly in Africa, the Middle East and Central America.

But human beings being human beings don’t seem to learn from past mistakes. That said, there are just wars. A megalomaniac brought about the second world war. A person who was hell-bent on restoring German status and pride after his country’s ‘humiliating’ defeat in World War 1.

Hitler’s troops steam rolled through Europe with no regard for the rule of law or the sovereignty of other nations. He had to be stopped so the world united. Likewise, in our region the Japanese were causing carnage in the South Pacific and threatening many countries, Australia among them. Japan also had to be stopped.

Reportedly, more than 70 million people perished during the second world war. The price of freedom was massive.

Again, the world has united in support of a country that is being invaded. The Ukraine today is suffering because of the narcissistic and irresponsible behaviour of a tyrant. A man who many times in the past has shown he isn’t someone to dismiss lightly. He too, like Hitler, has a point to prove. The former KGB agent was never happy with the Soviet Union’s breakup and believes the Ukraine should come back into the fold.

The Ukrainians, however, hold a different view. They value their independence and freedom and the vast majority do not want to come under Russian autocratic rule.

Australia, Europe the United States, and indeed the world is behind Ukraine at this terrible time. Where it ends it’s too early to say.

While Australia supports the Ukraine, and rightly so, the prime minister announced last week that Australia would send missiles and other weaponry to the Ukraine. Yes to financial aid. Yes to tents. Yes to food and water.

But our contribution are weapons that will kill. The Australian Government’s announcement has left me feeling uneasy. I feel we are just adding to the misery and carnage.  

Am I wrong?

Morality of War part two next week

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Morality of War Part 2

Morality of War Part 2

David Ahern

David is the editor of The Majellan

Last week I wrote about the scandalous attack on Ukraine by Russia (https://majellan.media/morality-of-war-part-one/). The invasion cannot be justified for any reason. As we have witnessed on the daily news feeds, innocent lives have been lost which is appalling and dreadfully sad.

The Ukraine is a sovereign nation of more than 43 million and Russian troops have no place being there. I compared the current situation to Hitler’s rampage through Europe in World War 2 and Japan’s military activities in the South Pacific.

Vladimir Putin can be compared to Hitler for his callousness and his lust for power. Putin is a war criminal, pure and simple.

I finished the article with reference to Australia’s contribution: missiles and other weaponry. While Australia stands with the rest of the world condemning Russia’s actions, the thought of sending weapons to aid Ukraine doesn’t sit easily with me.

Then again, how do you deal with a bully? Britain tried appeasement with Germany in the late 1930s. Remember the “Peace for our time” declaration made by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in September 1938.

Talk about famous last words! Appeasement clearly did not work and a year later Hitler plunged Europe into a war with Britain, Australia, the US and many other nations dragged into the conflict. The war was catastrophic, lasting six years and claiming millions of lives.

My two grandfathers survived World War I. My father survived World War 2. And I am a fortunate baby boomer who has never set foot on a battlefield. Please God that our sons and daughters never have to witness war first-hand.

The worry now is how far Putin will go. Many countries and international corporations have cut their business dealings with Russia. The ruble has plunged in value in recent weeks and the average Russian is paying more for food.

While no one wants to see ordinary Russians suffer, the international community is hoping it will bring about political change and an end to Putin’s tyrannical rule. That may be overly optimistic as dictators – and Putin is a dictator – have the ability to weather storms.

Those Russians that have been brave enough to protest have been detained. It will take widespread unrest and more large-scale protests before we get a sense of what is happening in Russia and whether change is a real possibility.

In the meantime, more innocent Ukrainians will perish …

Morality of War Part 3 next week.

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Morality of War Part 3

Morality of War Part 3

Ukrainians fleeing
David Ahern

David Ahern

David is the editor of The Majellan

The displacement of thousands of Ukrainians is distressing. Families have fled their homes in terror as Russian bombs reign down and the red tanks roll in.

It is so very sad and unnecessary. War only has one outcome. There’s the victor and there’s the vanquished. And between the warring sides, hundreds if not thousands are killed and left homeless.

Already, we’ve seen thousands flee to neighbouring countries including Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia in what has been the biggest movement of refugees since World War 2.

Europe and the world are on edge, not knowing what will come next. The Ukrainians are digging in deep and won’t give up without a dogged fight, so this bloody conflict could drag on for months.

The death toll will only rise with each passing day and more and more Ukrainians will need shelter and a place to call home. Apart from the generosity of their neighbours, the West will need to step up, and that includes Australia.

While our recent treatment of refugees has been less than impressive, now is the time to show compassion and open our borders to the people of the Ukraine who are being overrun by an aggressive, belligerent and ‘soulless’ regime.

The UK government announced last week that their citizens can nominate an individual or family from the Ukraine to stay with them rent-free, or in another property, for at least six months. They will be able to live and work in Britain for up to three years and access healthcare, welfare and schools. Family and individual hosts will receive £350 a month and there will be no cap on the numbers arriving in the UK.

A similar arrangement exists in all European Union countries.

Australia also needs to step up to the plate. We haven’t seen a humanitarian crisis like this in more than 70 years with so many people in need of urgent assistance.

We have been a generous country to people from the four corners of the globe for a long time, recent history notwithstanding. While many people in Queensland and NSW have been hard hit by the recent floods, Australia is a wealthy country and can afford to bring in Ukrainian refugees. A similar scheme operating across the EU and Britain could be implemented here.

If bombed out buildings and the images of thousands of distraught families escaping on trains, buses and cars doesn’t move people, nothing will.

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