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What War Is For

Try as I might, I can’t understand why people go to war.  It is so horrible.  I have developed an urge to watch documentaries about the second world war.  I marvel at the antics of Hitler and his gang. I am incredulous that decision-makers at the top decide to enter into or start a war.  I am equally baffled at the thousands of strong, healthy, young people that enter the military.

I wonder if they understand what they’re in for.  I mean the triggers… the politicians that are in bed with the supply side.  Makers of munitions, vehicles, uniforms, and a million other necessities of combat do whatever it takes to profit handsomely.  They do much better during wars than they do during peace.   So the stimulus is there to lobby for war.

Much more difficult to justify is the thousands of spirited young people who voluntarily sign up.  Okay, I get it that sometimes it’s for the training, the education.  Some would need a job ’cause of a lack of opportunities in a smallish home town. Some, I believe, actually feel driven to defend their nation and their society.  I admit that I just don’t get it.  Do they realize the filth in which they might live? Do they know what it might be like as people like themselves are doing their level best to kill or maim them.

The documentaries that I watch deliver what they offer – a raw look at the realities of war.  Somehow, war has to be abolished.  It is disgusting.  Dead, butchered bodies lying around, hundreds of them.  Young people have their limbs blown off, eyes put out, intestines exposed… and their close friends and associates have to watch it happen, and later try to pry the vision from their minds.

The shot that shakes me most… a man… a dead man in uniform, helmet and all, is half buried on a sand beach.  He lies in an angle that has him projecting out of the sand like a water-logged tree trunk would.    A man.  Somebody’s beloved person, perhaps witty and humorous, artistically talented, a gifted musician, composer or a novelist.  But no more.  He’s no more than a wet log in the sand.

Before he lost his life, he experienced horrors so stupefying that the relief of death might have been welcomed.  I hope he didn’t hurt much at the end.

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