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Glory in war is a myth

Homer's The Iliad and Odyssey tell of grand and exciting battles in all their glory. Of course both works are part of Greek mythology. They are myths in more ways than one.

It is also a myth that military personnel and veterans love war. Those who have experienced war and its horrific effects firsthand rarely want more of it.

Then who are the ones clamoring for more war? They are inevitably those who are profiting from it and aren't fighting it. Some people call them warhawks. I call them chickenhawks. Chickenhawk is a much better description since they are comfortable with sending other people's children to die for political gain. They are often the same people who talk a lot about family values. They are failures in diplomacy and strategy.

The only place you will ever find glory in war is in a work of fiction. And it is fiction that politicians and their ilk sell the idea of war. Don't believe it! I understand war. Having been born in Vietnam, I've been affected by it. Having been a student of Sun Tzu, I know better ways to resolve conflict other than more killing and destruction.

If you have to read a novel about war, read All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. His book was banned and burned by the Nazis. Since Remarque had fought and been wounded in World War I, his novel is more non-fiction than fiction.

In short, war is extreme cruelty promoted by ignorance, lies, profit. The outdated and immoral act of incompetent old men sending young people to kill and die must end. To believe war is the answer to our problems is like believing in unicorns because Bigfoot told you that unicorns are real.


Comments

  1. Excellent analysis of the war, and who benefits from wars.

    As adults we see military parades and commemoration ceremonies as honouring those who have served, and those who sacrificed their lives for ‘the greater good’ - which in truth may have had less to do with the ‘greater good’ than the profit of a few. A profit that may come in many forms including, but not limited to, financial and power.

    But to children and those easily persuaded by such spectacles, the impressions only serve to foster the glory you so eloquently speak of. For this reason we must include the discussion of war, and foster an understanding of the consequences to the victors, the conquered and most importantly the innocent victims. These discussions need to be held both our schools and homes, and not simply left to those in positions of power.

    Pomp and ceremony will always attract a crowd. A greater understanding takes time, is not as ‘sexy’, and depends on an informed public. Ignorance is the lifeblood of tyrants.

    Only if we are prepared to learn from our past, and become proactive in our present can we ever hope to find other solutions to our disagreements.

    The price of war is often measured in dollars or pounds, and of course, the number of dead. But the price of war is much, much higher when we consider the effect on our psyches and the psyche of our nation’s. Unless we are prepared to devote more of our time - across all levels of society - to understand why we have gone to war in the past, we will only repeat our previous mistakes.

    To paraphrase Albert Einstein: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

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    Replies
    1. Paul,

      Incisive point regarding parades. We are certainly paying respects to those who served who we all cherish, not to the wars they are involved in. I would even say even some adults, like children, don't fully understand that.

      The cost of war is great. Sun Tzu said one cannot fully understand the benefits of war if he doesn't understand the costs of war. Thus, the only time I can possibly see war being an option if we have failed in all earnest attempts of preventing it and are now defending ourselves against an attack. However, I'm a believer that if a strategist is wise, perceptive, and creative enough, there is no way any war cannot be averted.

      Thank you so much for your excellent comments, Paul!

      Thomas

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