Civilians never enlist to be murdered, destroyed, maimed; to be collateral damage or bomb and missile targets (“A Russian strike on a city market in eastern Ukraine kills 17 and wounds dozens, officials say,” Sept. 6). Not anywhere. Not in Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, Dresden, Vietnam, Syria, Ethiopia, Tigray, central Africa, Israel, West Bank, Hiroshima. Not in Hitler’s camps. Not in Stalin’s Purge. Not in colonist attacks on Indigenous peoples globally.

Soldiers should never have to kill each other. We’re all related, born from a Great Spirit or God or Allah. However, soldiers enlist knowing their risks. Civilians never sign up for those risks, terrors. Innocent children and seniors never sign up to lose limbs, to be crushed under apartment and hospital walls. Neither do teachers and caregivers.

Russian leaders bomb and destroy markets, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals. Ukrainian leaders then send drones, bombing Russian business and apartment buildings. Israeli soldiers respond and kill Palestinian civilians after an Israeli civilian or soldier dies. Innocents die.

Don’t speak to us of military strategy. Retribution. Bombing innocents, attacking defenseless civilians is only one thing: immoral. Immortality carried out by politicians, generals and soldiers, no matter who started it. Soldiers are to protect, and to sadly, horribly, fight other soldiers. Not civilians.

Presidents Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, Emmanuel Macron and others; Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins; Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden – use your pulpits and power to demand all attacks on innocent civilians cease. Everywhere. Demand allies and enemies stop, now. Speak with courage. Speak out loud, act for morality and for civilians on all sides.

June and Roy Smoot

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