By Chris Overfelt

As a veteran of the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, I distinctly remember the rhetoric surrounding those events. Glorification of war abounded, while anyone who disagreed was demonized. Demonized, too, were the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lies were told about imminent threats, and these lies were used to justify the war crimes committed by the people of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, I see the same rhetoric being used around the events in Ukraine. We are told that there is no room for compromise, that there is only one good side and one evil side. We must fight Russia to defend our freedom, just as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea that Russia itself could feel threatened by NATO and Europe is not allowed into the national dialogue.

Make no mistake, war is a racket. As weapons pour into Ukraine and the war goes longer and longer, the US military-industrial complex rakes in profits. Just as Russian oligarchs seek to profit from the resources of Ukraine, so too do the American oligarchs seek to profit from this war. Caught in the middle of this battle of greed are the people of Ukraine. Their suffering could be a foreshadowing for all of us as the US and Russia hydroplane towards nuclear catastrophe.

—Chris Overfelt, a member of the PeaceWorks KC Board, served in the Air Force National Guard in Topeka, Kan., from 2002 to 2011 as an aircraft hydraulics mechanic. He deployed to Turkey and Qatar in 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.