In this Feb. 19, 2023, file photo, an operating light hangs from the ceiling of the destroyed surgery section of the hospital in Izium, Ukraine. Credit: Vadim Ghirda / AP

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

Does the American-led NATO actually believe Ukraine, in a long, drawn-out war, can actually defeat Russia? Yes, both countries are faced with military supply issues. But Russia has more than twice the population of Ukraine and can endure troop losses and supply issues far more effectively than Ukraine. Short of a massive arms buildup that includes a big influx of fighter planes and long-range missiles, NATO’s reluctance to go all in and take the battle to Russia may well mean the slow weakening of Ukraine’s ability to fight back.

The NATO decision to send only military supplies and not troops is based on the principle of a “members only” approach to direct military involvement. It’s like saying to a neighbor being assaulted by a gang of armed bullies, “I can’t get physically involved until they come to my house, but I’ll figure out a way to send over my hunting rifle and some kitchen knives.” We can delude ourselves that this will save both us and our neighbor, but what will we do when our neighbor dies as his or her house is blown up.

The longer we deny the implications of our not getting physically involved, not giving Ukraine an overwhelming arms advantage, or standing back and congratulating ourselves over our recognition about how brave Ukrainians are, the more likely it is that Russia’s Putin lovers will, by default, turn Ukraine into a graveyard wasteland. It’s time to get real and do what’s needed to end this slaughter of innocents and ruination of a free nation.

To those who, in labored indignation, argue that we should be spending money on needs here in our own country instead of in a far away war. I’m asking you to not buy a house next to mine.

Alan Toth