Truth is the first casualty of war. That was former Hawaii representative and 2020 candidate for the U.S. Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Tulsi Gabbard’s response to Utah Senator and 2012 RNC sacrifice to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, after the Republican scion accused her of treasonous lies in working publicly to secure the 25 to 30 bioweapons labs in Ukraine, which is now an active warzone after the Russian Federation invaded in late February.
Of course, in war the second casualty is human life and civilization, which gets crushed willy nilly in the maelstrom of war, veritably the worst chaos human beings can unleash, and whose ultimate outcome is always unpredictable to any of us.
The casualties of war are also entirely unpredictable, with friendly fire incidents seemingly entirely unavoidable in so terrible a confusion as war wreaks upon the battlefield and theater, and even across the entire planet and our human-machine civilization.
Tulsi Gabbard would know something about that.
Unlike Mitt Romney, who never served in the United States military much less in an active theater of war— and unlike President Brandon, a career Washington politician who never served in the military either, though he did prevail against Gabbard and the other Democratic candidates in 2020 for the party’s nomination— Gabbard served in the United States Army in the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, as a combat medic.
Here is a list of some of the U.S. friendly fire casualties of that war. For further study, here’s a list of U.S. friendly fire casualties, including British victims, of every war and military action since 1945. If the military cannot even guarantee that it will not shoot or bomb its own soldiers in an active theater of operation, how could it possibly guarantee that civilians or bioweapons labs can remain safe from so great a danger as war poses?
And what could the death toll rise to if a weaponized virus or bacterium, with some gnarly gain of function powering its spread across the population were to escape from a lab and infect anyone nearby? Truly in a world with so many dangerous things, tightly controlled in carefully planned and secured environments (not only pathogens!), how can humanity afford any war at all like the U.S. action in Iraq in 2003, or this year’s invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation?
If all the devastation global disruption wrought by measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in 2020 and 2021 was as necessary as politicians like Mitt Romney said it was, then surely there can be no excuse for any politician supporting a war in this, perhaps impertinently brave new world of ours that has such dangerous things in it. Or for doing anything less than devoting their entire energies as politicians and servants of the good of the people to sue for peace and avoid war at nearly any cost.
And surely there can be no excuse for our politicians continuing to use the most inflammatory rhetoric, regardless of its meaning, content, accuracy, or effects in our polity and culture, to describe their opponents’ words and deeds. As this rhetoric creates the confusion needed to stir people to war against each other.
For further reading, here’s who originally coined the phrase in the first sentence of this article.