Wednesday, May 21, 2014

War, And What Is It Good For?

As the world matured, communications improved, and people traveled more many of us hoped the catalyst for war would diminish. Instead, with new technology, we have only expanded our abilities to spread death and destruction. National pride, political agendas, religious and ethnic hatreds are some of the biggest roadblocks to world peace. Sadly over the history of mankind peace has been the exception rather than the rule. The true reality is that across the world few mothers want to see their children killed and most farmers want to be left alone to raise their crops and earn a living. While those who benefit from the production of weapons busy themselves with promoting war as a solution to our woes as an answer warfare often fails to be either easy, swift, or true.

War Is Not A Game And Yields Many Unintended Consequences! 
Unfortunately, with progress in technology comes new and more efficient ways to kill. The invention of the Gatling gun in the 1860s added a new dimension to killing, it was the first true weapon of controlled mass destruction. The weapon rotated 10 barrels and could expel bullets at the rate of 1,000 rounds a minute. How war is waged has changed with each advancement in technology, it would be folly to line up your army as in the days of old. Technology has spurred the ongoing and clumsy debate about inhumanity and the price of war. As is man's way he has adjusted, but today nuclear weapons may have taken the price too high.

Governments are not always dependable and instead of protecting the rights of those they govern and serving the people they tend to stray into other less mundane ventures.  Governments are often attuned and highly geared to serve the agendas of special interest.  This is one of the main reasons they often lead us into wars. It is not that the average person has a burning lust for bloodshed and destruction that takes us down this path. The argument that human nature leads us to war is pure folly, if that were true people would rush spontaneously towards such carnage and joyfully kill their neighbors.  Governments go to enormous lengths to persuade people to go to war using the tools of patriotic seduction, propaganda, and coercion. Governments convince and mobilize the people by painting a picture of an evil enemy that must be stopped.

It seems the first casualty of war is the truth. In the song "The Patriots Dream" by Gordon Lightfoot, the songwriter talks about old men blinding young men by their past glories and sending them off to their deaths. Societies that claim each and every life as equal and valuable often experience a disconnect when it comes to war, especially when it comes to the dead of their enemy. Time and time again peaceful men have shown the amazing ability to be transformed into killing machines.  War can be very corrupting to the physiology of the soldiers participating and asked to kill civilians and noncombatants.  Desensitized to death, these soldiers often find adjusting and returning to normal society impossible.  War poisons all the participants.
War Is Ugly
Warfare has proven to be a pathetic option to bring about positive change, it may change things, but to what degree and for how long. The loss of life of an individual is often insignificant except to their loved ones.  One of the harsh realities of modern war is that it  has become a less personal way to die.  Years ago it was hand to hand combat, looking into the eyes of your adversary, now you die by the hand of technology and often without any warning. Modern warfare is more abstract with many soldiers more emotionally detached from the carnage. If the military had its way soldiers would be trained on video games and placed on autopilot.

Lack of Knowledge does not bode well for society when it comes to our ability to foster intelligent government. The term "need to know" should be revisited and changed to "we all need to know as much as possible". Time and time again we have seen that social and political evolution is preferred over revolution which is often unstable. Bubbling up through the forces that bring us to war is the stupid and shameful myth that it is good for the economy. While war does line the pockets of a few industrialists and businessmen the cost is great and outweigh the benefits. War brings about the wrong kind of economic growth.
War tends to be a Pandora's box rather than the easy answer we often seek. Conflicts will always exist in our world, we must work towards developing a consensus of what is in man's best interest. Yes, we must defend ourselves, but as stated earlier in this article, mothers value their children, the peasant in a rice patty field values his ox, neither want them killed in a war.  If we look at every war ever fought we will find that most of the people affected by the violence only wanted to be left alone.  Though we live in an imperfect world mankind should not bring more misery upon himself by self-inflicting injury.  We must remember and mourn for all of the heroes that keep dying for God and Country at the request of the latter.

 Footnote; This post dovetails with many of my recent writings. Other related articles may be found in my blog archive, thanks for reading, your comments are encouraged.

Footnote #2;  An issue that has become more relevant today is that of sovereign borders. Below is an article that explores some of the reasons on why we can't just get along.

1 comment:

  1. War to keep the black gold in the ground whilst the surface gets a facelift!