From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Putin's War on Ukraine Must Stop

By Bill Branson and Joe Miller

From the VVAW National Office March 25, 2022

In our 55 years as an organization, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) has witnessed way too many wars. We know firsthand the consequences and devastation of imperial wars.

We are saddened and angered at the unnecessary death and destruction that Putin and Russian troops are raining down on the Ukrainian people. The damage to those living under the bombs, those fleeing, and those defending their country will not soon fade. To prevent further bloodshed and devastation, Putin and the Russian troops must immediately cease the bombing and withdraw all forces from Ukraine.

Just as VVAW supported the self-determination and the right of self-defense of the Vietnamese people, we support the rights of the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny and defend themselves, free of outside coercion and threats.

All sectors of Ukrainian society are united in opposing the Russian aggression, not just those in uniform. Those in Russia who are able to break through the news blackout are also opposing Putin's unchecked aggression and paying the price. We call on Putin to release these political prisoners and let the Russian populace know what's really happening in Ukraine.

The chicken-hawks in Congress are calling for the US to unilaterally intervene. First, such intervention would only increase the deaths and damage, without providing a long-term solution.

Second, the US is part of the NATO alliance. Such intervention would trigger a European, and probably, world war.

The dangers of continued, unstopped Russian aggression are of grave concern. If Russia does not stop and withdraw or if the Ukrainian people concede, Putin will be emboldened. We could see a re-militarization of Europe, perhaps greater than that before WWII. Expansion of the war must be averted. The specter of nuclear war hangs over the world. All the more reason to re-emphasize calls for denuclearization.

Ukrainian citizens and soldiers, Russian citizens and conscripted soldiers—all are paying the price for Putin's war-mongering and imperial dreams. Working people and the poor are always the ones to bear the heaviest costs of war.

US politicians cannot confine themselves to screaming from the grandstands. The US has played NATO expansion against a paranoid and aggressive Putin for decades. A substantial amount of blame for the situation and a burden for reparations falls on this side of the ocean.

The US should immediately overhaul the Trump-era restrictions on immigration and open its doors to the ever-increasing flow of Ukrainian refugees, as well as others seeking refuge from oppressive regimes throughout the world.

VVAW remains committed to the struggle for peace and for social and economic justice for all people. We will continue to oppose senseless military adventures. We will do all we can to prevent future generations from being put through a similar tragedy and we will continue to demand dignity and respect for the victims and veterans of all wars.

Bill Branson and Joe Miller are board members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Thanks to Jeff Danziger and Billy Curmano for their cartoons.Thanks to Bill Ehrhart, Lorraine Cohen, Terry Coleman, Michael Orange, Joe Giannini, Marc Levy, Jim Smith, Jeri Reed, Andy Berman, and Daniel Corral and others for contributing photos.

Jeff Machota
Bill Branson
Joe Miller

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