State of the Union: War and Genocide Are Still the American Way

President Biden’s State of the Union address made one thing clear: war, genocide, and militarism remains the Amercian way. From Gaza to Ukraine, from the Middle East to the borders of our own nation, the toll of violence from militarism is immeasurable. Will we ever see an end to the cycle of destruction fueled by capitalism and U.S. imperialism?

Firstly, let’s address the white elephant in the war. Before the speech started, Democratic women leaders were shown wearing white in honor of women and feminism. But let’s be very clear, whether it’s women sending bombs or men, the result remains the same: women and children are being murdered, communities shattered, and futures erased. There’s no feminism in complicity with war and genocide, nor is there honor in turning a blind eye to the cries of the oppressed who are very loudly asking us to quit sending the bombs that are murdering their people.

Biden started the speech with an appeal for more money to fund the War in Ukraine. Yet in the two years since Russia invaded Ukraine with over a hundred billion dollars spent and countless lives lost Ukrainians are no closer to peace. Peace cannot be found in the endless military packages but in the corridors of diplomacy and peace talks, where dialogue and negotiation pave the way for lasting solutions.

He then moved on to taunt the need to protect democracy yet the White House and Congress continuously ignore the majority of the country who want an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, specifically Biden’s own voter base. A true democracy happens not just at the ballot box but beyond it. Yet, Biden chooses to ignore the very people who put him in office.

Along with “protecting democracy,” Biden also vowed to protect the environment. However, the contribution to militarism cannot be ignored. The U.S. military ranks as one of the largest consumers of oil globally, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of investing in renewable energy and supporting a just transition, precious resources are squandered to war and conflicts that ravage the planet and accelerate climate change.

President Biden’s support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza and occupation of Palestine is a stain on the moral fabric of our nation. And he leaned into that support in his address. Using lies and unsubstantiated claims he attempted to legitimize Israel’s genocidal response to Oct. 7. However no matter how he tries to spin it — the death and destruction that innocent people are enduring on a daily basis, mostly women and children, cannot be justified in the name of political alliances or strategic interests. Nothing, absolutely justifies genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Biden’s latest response to Israel’s countless war crimes is to build a “temporary” port off the shores of Gaza to allow for humanitarian aid to enter the besieged land. But a temporary port does nothing to stop the permanent death and destruction from U.S. made bombs. It’s time to halt the flow of weapons to Israel or quit pretending to care about the lives of Palestinians.

Biden made it clear that war, genocide, and militarism are all still on top of the U.S. agenda. This will cost us all dearly. He must heed the demands of the public: stop the bombs, stop the militarization of our borders, stop the inhumane blockades that are starving people to death. The media will paint Biden’s speech as strong and positive but make no mistake — a country that relies on the death and destruction of others is a weak one. We desperately need leaders who will prioritize diplomacy over destruction, compassion over conflict, and humanity over hubris. Only then can we truly claim to be a nation committed to justice, equality, and the pursuit of peace for all. Until then, we will continue to be a country committed to war and genocide and never find lasting peace.

Melissa Garriga is the communications and media analysis manager for CODEPINK. She writes about the intersection of militarism and the human cost of war. Read other articles by Melissa.