The Disco We Call War

For centuries, war has been portrayed as everything but terrible by poems, stories, fables, movies, posters, and all other mediums of entertainment that propaganda can be made out of. Stories of heroism and sacrifice, of valor and honor, of courage in the face of enemy attack. War is something intrinsic to human and animal nature, as conflict is a fact of the world. Some see war as something natural. Some even see it as something to be desired, something to be worshipped, something necessary for human society. All that may be true. Personally, I like to see war like disco music, because the two have one major thing in common.

They suck.

Were you to count all of the wars in history that have a universal justification, an absolute necessity for occuring, I guarantee you could count them on one hand. Of those, I guarantee you more than half were fought to undo the effects of a previous war that was fought for no good reason. World War II was fought to liberate Europe from the genocidal and unequivocally evil Axis Powers, bitter over their defeat and subsequent abuse by the Entente at the end of World War I, which was a pointless war fought over dynastic disputes and interlocking alliances, caused by the Revolutions of 1848 and their aftermath, a series of social revolutions brought about by growing nationalism caused in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, a series of expansive and constly conflicts fought quelling the imperialistic aspirations of a short French madman which developed in the wake of the brutal French Revolutionary Wars, which were inspired by the success of the American Revolutionary War, a response to increased Anglo-American tensions due to post-Seven Years’ War policies, the Seven Years’ War fought as partly the culmination to hundreds of years of colonial and feudal wars in Europe, and so on. The only undeniably morally justifiable war in the lot that cannot realistically be argued against was World War II. That’s 700+ years of Western history summed up through a series of pointless wars wherein tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions or even billions of people, lost their lives prematurely over patches of grass in a constantly-shifting and changing world.

Admittedly, I’m a freak for all things relating to the military. Military history, military tactics, military equipment and everything in between are things which scream out as interesting to me. However, I recognize that beyond the inner boy in every man who loves to play with toy tanks and Nerf guns that war is hell and that war is a part of human nature from which we need to move past and evolve beyond. To deny that the taking of any life by another human on purpose for political, religious, or especially economic grounds is inhumane and beyond our capabilities as a species is to deny the divine right of man to rise above our place as animals and take our place as masters of our existence. To simply even attempt to comprehend the amount of intellectuals, economists, scientists, writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, storytellers, familymen, mothers, and everyone else whose lives were wasted waging war or being the product of war in the form of a corpse is mind boggling; the developments never made, the theories never written, the stories never told, the lives never lived. Think about how much more advanced and how happier human history would have been without the unnecessary reality of war.

Why do we fight wars? Soldiers fight wars often because they know no better, or because they fight for the sense of nationalism the leader promotes. Leaders make soldiers fight wars for ideals of nationalism and patriotism, for personal and national honor and clout. Businessmen make leaders make soldiers fight wars because it widens their pockets and fattens their wallets and allows them to step up production of guns and tanks and bombs and missiles and coffins. I am in no way one of the people who advocates for bunkum and balderdash like “eat the rich” or policies such as wealth redistribution, but it is easy to see that in the modern day, corporations and financial interests are the primary factor behind the perpetuation of war. There are certain corporations specifically in the defense and banking sectors who require war to be sustained. The weapons corporation sells weapons to bomb the country, the banking corporation sets up in the corporation and bleeds the country’s wealth dry to fatten their own pockets and invest in weapons corporations and politicians allied with the defense sector lobby.

We need to be conscious of who wants wars, who fight wars, and who benefits from wars. The sooner we recognize that the best way to support the troops is to stop starting the wars they fight–instead of sending them to be maimed and slaughtered and then deal with the consequences–the better. Conflict is an inalienable part of human nature, but war is something greater than the individual, and a collective problem that only we as a species can fix.