Thursday, June 30, 2005

This was posted as a comment on a military blog in response to the death of 17 Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan when their helicopter was shot down by insurgents:

Thanks for keeping us updated here. My Thoughts and Prayers are going out to all the Families and Friends of those Brave Warriors. We will Get Payback and Then SOME.

This crystallizes the evil of war. This is really what war is all about, right here, folks. It's about the payback. Seventeen men lost their lives in war, because that is what happens in war. You kill people. And they kill you. But now, because both sides were doing exactly what people are supposed to do in war, the side that lost 17 men wants revenge. And they will get it, of course. They will kill as savagely and ruthlessly as those 17 Special Forces men were killed. But then the other side will want payback. And they will get it, of course. And it will go on and on like that, until it eventually ends, because so many people have died on both sides and so many families have cried their eyes out and so much blood has been spilled and so many little children have been traumatized by the things they've seen (the ones who live in the war zone, that is) that neither side has the heart for any more killing and dying. And the reasons that the countries' leaders gave us for starting the war in the first place will seem hollow, because they always were hollow.

War is a form of psychosis, on a societal level. War is an endless, escalating spiral of killing and destruction, grief and anger, revenge and payback, more grief and anger, more revenge and payback, until somehow it ends. For a time.

To support war, you have to crush and repress all feelings of human sympathy and compassion for all who are on the Other Side. You have to believe that the Enemy is less than human. You have to believe the Enemy does not have the capacity for love, or tears. In other words, to support war, you have to convince yourself that the Enemy is a monster. And in doing that, some supporters of war become monsters themselves.

Yet there are many sane and intelligent and decent people who defend war. One blogger I read tonight wrote, "Peace has its place." As if peace were second-best to war, but it did have some things to recommend it. Have we become a nation of war worshippers? Are we addicted to war?

I don't have the answers, but I will never be able to stop asking the questions.

No comments: