I support Ukraine: So why do I feel like a traitor to my Ukrainian friends?
Ukrainians are being slaughtered, nuclear war threatens our existence, democracy hangs by a thread: Putin’s war on Ukraine pits a mother’s love for her American soldier son against her support of a no-fly zone.
My Ukrainian friends are pleading for a no-fly zone. My voice is silent. Here’s why:
My son is a soldier.
I’m the mother of an American soldier. My son serves in the United States Army and is dedicated to defending our country and keeping the torch of democracy lit at all costs. The motto of his company battalion is ironically “Death from above”. My son is doggedly committed to the task of his trade and prepared to die for it.
I’m not as brave as my son.
Mothers are not built to bury our children. It defies natural order. I want a no-fly zone. I selfishly just don’t want my son to create it. Skies don’t protect themselves. NATO forces and American soldiers will do that. My son will do that.
In order for me to support a no-fly zone, I have to be willing to sacrifice my son.
I’m not willing to do that.
No-fly zones come at a cost.
The destruction in Ukraine has been caused mostly by missiles, artillery, and rockets, not by Russian aircraft. Russian aircraft have been generally inactive, so a no-fly zone would have less impact upon Ukrainian casualties and more on sparking a global catastrophe.
Putin has no red line.
Putin believes that he will determine how far this war goes. He’s not concerned with human loss — not even with that of his own soldiers. The deaths of Russian soldiers are only seen by him as failures. He views their loss as the price their Russian mothers must pay for their sons’ disgrace.
The only red Putin sees is the scorched Ukrainian ground covered in Ukrainian blood.
Putin doesn’t fear nuclear war. He only fears a World in which he was defeated by Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people are a weapon.
Ukrainian soldiers possess something Russian troops lack: Heart. They’re motivated by their love of land, love of family, and love of freedom. Much like mothers lifting vehicles off of their children, the Ukrainian soldiers have made herculean efforts to lift Putin’s foot off of their necks.
My Ukrainian friends have not crumbled under the weight of fear of losing their families, rather, they’ve drawn strength in supporting them.
I feel ashamed that I’m not as strong as them.
On one hand, I’m tortured by my conscience and want to support a no-fly zone. On the other, I’m tortured by my fear that my son will be killed if I do.
Stop volunteering other people for war.
Most Americans support the U.S. creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine. But most Americans don’t have a dog in the fight.
Only 10% of Americans serve in the military. Less than that, only 1%, serve in the same position as my son.
I’m irked when I hear someone, without a family member serving, volunteering my son to go to war. They will never agonizingly wait for a text to tell them their loved one is safe or pray that a military car never drives up to their home to tell them that their son is never coming back. They never spent excruciating hours on their knees praying that their son was not one of the soldiers killed at the Abbey Gate in Afghanistan this past August. But those of us who do have someone serving in the military — have.
Military families support our troops and we support Ukraine. I’m just saying aloud, what many of us are too ashamed to.
We know that if Putin is not stopped, he will eventually come banging on our doors of democracy and blow them into obliteration. But we also know the price we might pay each time our loved ones are called upon to do their job.
We don’t have the luxury of sending someone else’s child to war.
Fairly or not, military mothers calculate the risk of losing our sons and daughters before we choose to support public calls for any U.S. military involvement.
Ukraine is a Goliath.
Russian forces have failed miserably to destroy the determination of the Ukrainian people to remain free. Putin believed he would easily pummel the Ukrainian people into submission. Instead, Putin awoke a giant of a nation that refuses to be knocked around.
I’ve never been in a war, but I have waited for someone to come back from one. I know what that fear feels like.
Ukrainian mothers and I share the bonds of war. Our job is to be the gatekeepers of our children’s World and do whatever it takes to ensure that it remains a safe one.
I understand that my Ukrainian friends’ pleas to close the skies over Ukraine are their way of trying to keep their families safe. I hope they understand that the absence of my voice in those pleas is my way of doing the same.
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