Being a baby boomer (I was born in 1948), my life as an American liberal has featured several wars that I opposed.
Notably the Vietnam and Iraq wars, at least the second Iraq war. I was fine with us going into Afghanistan to take down Al Qaeda and the first Iraq war seemed justified. Then there's been U.S. involvement in a bunch of military actions. Can't remember much about them.
So by and large I've been in favor of less military spending. Up to now, my generation, unlike the generation of my mother and father, hasn't experienced a truly just war like World War II. That affects how we view the defense budget, which seems excessive.
But as soon as Russia invaded Ukraine about a year ago, I became much more interested in modern warfare.
Putin's war crimes against the Ukrainian people -- willfully killing many thousands of civilian men, women, and children, along with bombing medical facilities, schools, power generation plants, and other non-military targets -- infuriated me.
I've been following the Ukraine war closely. I read stories in the New York Times and Washington Post. I follow the frequent posts of the English language Kyiv Independent on Twitter. Whenever a story about Ukraine appears on MSNBC or CNN, I perk up my ears.
The Ukraine war is a highly just war. Russia invaded Ukraine for no reason other than a desire to take over the country. There's only one "good guy" in this war: Ukraine. There's nothing positive that can be said about Russia's invasion.
Because Putin is an insufferable authoritarian, the only way the Ukraine war is going to end is by making it so costly for Russia, Putin is forced to give up on his invasion. Ideally Ukraine takes back all of the territory Russia has taken, including Crimea.
At the very least, Ukraine needs to reclaim most of the Russian-occupied territory in eastern Ukraine. To do that, it's been obvious for some time that the United States and our allies need to send heavier offensive weapons to Ukraine, such as tanks and fighter planes.
Finally, an agreement has been reached for the United States to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and for Germany and other European nations to send around 80 additional tanks, such as the German Leopard.
Congratulations to President Biden and his national security team for navigating some treacherous political waters to get this done. Germany has been resisting supplying Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Eventually Germany said it would do this if the United States supplied Abrams tanks.
At first our defense department balked, arguing that it wasn't practical to send the Abrams. However, with this issue threatening to create a rift in support for Ukraine among the United States and European Union nations, eventually a deal was reached to get Ukraine tanks from both the U.S. and E.U.
Great news. Ukraine has made excellent use of the weapons that have been supplied to them. There's little doubt that the tanks also will be put to good use in the fight against Russia. Now, how about those fighter jets?