1.29.2009

why do we fight? why do we wage war?


next post.  same book.  everlasting man, G.K. Chesterton...

why do we fight?  we do we wage war?  what's in it for the soldiers?  a good question.  something i've asked myself before.  what causes men/women to go to war?  why risk their lives?  pride.  bravery.  defense.  what causes people to take up arms and kill others?

G.K. writes,
"In nothing is this new history needed os much as in the psychology of war.  Our history is stiff with official documents, public or private, which tell us nothing of the thing itself.  At the worst we only have the official posters, which could not have been spontaneous because they were official.  At the best we have only the secret diplomacy, which could not have been popular precisely because it was secret.  Upon one or other of these is based the historical judgment about the real reasons that sustained the struggle.  Governments fight for colonies or commercial rights; governments fight about harbours or high tariffs; governments fight for a gold mine or a pearl fishery.  It seems sufficient to answer that governments do not fight at all.  Why do the fighters fight?  What is the psychology that sustains the terrible and wonderful thing called war?"

later he says, "It is always stubbornly and stupidly repeating that men fight for material ends, without reflecting for a moment that the material ends are hardly ever material to the men who fight."

in war...who wins?  how is the winner decided?  are the winners content, happy, satisfied?  were the sacrifices and losses incurred worth it?  how do we decide the worth of human life?

in the last election there was a great deal of argument, usually hostile and irrational, about abortion.  now, abortion is never good.  it is never right.  it is always bad, horrible, evil, murder, etc.  however, when i brought up to people that war and guns kill people as well, they said i was crazy.  in fact, they rationalized, God sometimes wants us to go to war.  sometimes war is necessary.  so, therefore, sometimes the loss of human life is necessary.  hmmmmm....

who gets to decide?  why do we fight?  why do we kill?

G.K. is right.  we need to look at the psychology of war.  especially in times like these.  in times where more and more men and women are returning from war with minds that are beaten.  with spirits that are tired and tortured.  what will we do?  thank them, then forget about them?

why do we fight?

1 comment:

Brian said...

Very insightful. I too have noticed the disconnect between those who argue that war is at times a necessary evil yet oppose all instances of abortion (but also, quite often, support the death penalty). There seems to be something in the human psyche that is attracted to war. We can't seem to stop having them.