Newmann: The not so merry-go-round

“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war.” — Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”

So here we go again … another war and the accompanying moral outrage over the atrocities committed in that war.

Not that the outrage is unfounded. The killing of innocent civilians (many of whom, we’re finding out, are not “collateral damage,” but have been intentionally murdered by the retreating Russian forces) is barbarous and grotesque.

With the razing of cities, folks have lost homes, jobs and — for many — even a chance to live within their own borders.

The images from Ukraine, broadcast by the minute from any number of sources, are gut-wrenching. They’re not sanitized and they’re hard to view.

Support Local Journalism

The visual media coverage of many former conflicts around the world has not been quite as stark. We’ve previously been told that the content may be “disturbing” to some folks — but that content generally has been nowhere near as visceral as the images that we now constantly view from Ukraine.

The pictures tell the story of war. They show the devastation, the hopelessness, the sorrow — and the futility.

And the pictures bring with them a moral outrage.

The irony, if it could be called irony, is that we live in what many consider to be a relatively sophisticated civilization. Our medical and technological advancements have almost outstripped our ability to keep up with them. We can create vaccines to combat deadly viruses — and save millions of lives — at “warp speed.” We have the technological resources to now consider putting folks on Mars. Cellphones and computers proliferate — and bring with them the ability to keep up with events around the globe in real time.

And now we have a “real time” war, one that, as it progresses, can be mapped on Google, followed on social media and instantaneously uploaded at any time. It’s a war where the Ukrainian president can make a virtual appearance at the Grammys to appeal for aid. The coverage of the war is a study in technological sophistication.

Unfortunately, technological sophistication and humanity often collide. As mentioned above, we have the ability to create life-saving vaccines — and yet many folks refuse to take them. We are getting closer to sending humans to Mars — partly with the intent of trying to colonize that planet if ours starts to overheat.

And technology, which has given us such enhanced coverage of the war, is also responsible for much of the carnage we view.

With all of our advancements, and despite our continual moral outrage, we still haven’t figured out how to put the age-old, man-made specter of war on the backburner. And leave it there.

Perhaps it’s too much to expect from human nature.

But we can still live in hope.

Support Local Journalism