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40 Things We Can Do and Know for People in Ukraine and the World

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Remarks at Code Pink event in Washington D.C. on March 3, 2022

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Send aid to Ukrainian friends and aid organizations.

Send aid to organizations helping refugees leaving Ukraine.

Send aid especially that will reach those being refused help for racist reasons.

Share the remarkable media coverage of war victims in Ukraine.

Take the opportunity to point out the war victims in Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., and to question whether the lives of all war victims matter.

Take the opportunity to point out that the U.S. government arms most of the world's worst dictators and oppressive governments and would have a lot more funds for humanitarian aid if it didn't.

Take the opportunity to point out that the proper response to a horrific crime by the Russian government is not the crime of economic sanctions that harm ordinary people, but the prosecution of those responsible in a court of law. Sadly the U.S. government has spent decades tearing down the International Criminal Court, which has thus far only prosecuted Africans, and if it were to start prosecuting non-Africans and be credible and supported globally, it would have to prosecute quite a few people in the United States and Western Europe.

I don't think a proper balance of power will save us, but the globalization and universalization of power.

Russia is violating numerous treaties that the U.S. government is one of the few holdouts on. This is a chance to consider fully supporting the rule of law.

We should condemn the Russian use of cluster bombs, for example, without pretending that the U.S. doesn't use them.

The risk of nuclear apocalypse is very high. There's nothing more important than avoiding destroying all life on earth. We can't picture a planet devoid of life and happily think "Well, at least we stood up to Putin" or "Well, at least we stood up to NATO" or "Well, we had principles." Quite apart from where this war goes or where it came from, the U.S. and Russia should be talking right now about taking nuclear weapons out of the calculations, disarming, and dismantling them, as well as protecting nuclear power plants. The news while we've been in this room is that a nuclear power plant has been shot at and is on fire, and firefighters are being shot at. How's that for an image of human priorities: keeping the war going, shooting at people trying to put out a fire in a nuclear reactor that sits next to 5 more?

Forty years ago, nuclear apocalypse was a top concern. The risk of it is now higher, but the concern is gone. So, this is a teaching moment, and we may not have many of them left.

This can also be a teaching moment for the abolition of war, not just of some of its weapons. It's important for us to understand that almost every war kills, injures, traumatizes, and makes homeless mostly people on one side, mostly civilians, and disproportionately the poor, the elderly, and the young, just usually not in Europe.

It's important for us to understand that keeping militaries around kills vastly more people than the wars do and that this will be true until the wars become nuclear. This is because 3% of just U.S. military spending could end starvation on Earth.

Militaries divert resources from environmental and human needs, including disease pandemics, as well as preventing global cooperation on pressing emergencies, severely damaging the environment, eroding civil liberties, weakening the rule of law, justifying government secrecy, corroding culture, and fueling bigotry. Historically, the U.S. has seen an upsurge in racist violence following major wars. Other countries have too.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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