“The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.” –Robert Lynd
“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” –General Smedley D. Butler
“The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” –William Faulkner
I wonder. Perhaps one reason I’ve had so much trouble making peace with the Vietnam War is our endless barrage of further military adventures since then. Sequels are rarely much good … although Vietnam itself was a sequel too. For a peace-loving country, we sure do get into lots of fights. Maybe it’s us?
. Seminole Wars … Mexican War … Black Hawk War … Red Cloud’s War … Nez Perce Wars … Spanish-American War … Wounded Knee Massacre … I thought of listing them all, but the list goes on and on. And Wikipedia’s page isn’t really comprehensive or current. If you have the heart for it, here’s the link.
There’s also the haunting, infuriatingly familiar look, feel and smell of each “new” war, as my government drums up support for it. (Damn that lousy Groundhog Day movie anyway.) It’s deja vu all over again all over the suffering world. Case in point — Crimean War 2.0 coming right up! Guess that first one was just too much fun. Tennyson seemed to think so.
… Half a league, half a league, half a league onward – forward, the light brigade …
… Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do or die …
Isn’t it lucky the world has my benevolent, democracy-loving country to keep all the bullies and bogeymen in line. Yes, lucky.
Robert E. Lee said “It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it.” At the Battle of Fredericksburg — one of the bloodier episodes of our obscenely bloody Civil War. I thought of adding some Matthew Brady photos — the ones showing piles of amputated body parts outside field hospitals. But if you have ever seen one, it’s still in your memory, unless you’re far better at protective amnesia than I am. If you have the stomach for it, here are links for them.
Lee might have added “It is well that war is so terrible — lest we find it so profitable we’ll go out and manufacture one, if none crops up naturally at a convenient time”. But of course, we would never do that. We’re the good guys, just ask anybody.
“To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a desert and call it peace.” –Tacitus
“You can’t say that civilization don’t advance, for in every war they kill you in a new way.” –Will Rogers