|Korean War Refugee with Baby|
I caught about a half hour of a WWII documentary last night. Couple notes:
1. Lots of boomers talk about the sense of unity and duty that Americans felt during WWII, common purpose, etc. In fact most Americans were bitterly opposed to involvement all the way up to Pearl harbor. FDR has to frequently skirt the legislature, supreme court and public to implement lend-lease, start building an army, etc.
2. Current references to Islamist radicals as "an existential threat" are patently absurd compared to WWII. How can we feel like we're fighting for our lives when we haven't seen so much as a sugar ration, let alone wholesale re-engineering of the economy and society as seen during the 40's?
(Nevertheless, I am fully in support of wiping out Islamist radicals.)
For every hawk that demonizes the adversary, there's a rational humanist arguing for restraint and understanding. Human emotions are easily stoked, and often the call for "action" wins out over "restraint" or "understanding." I mean, this is axiomatic.
Consider that maybe the causality is reversed. Rather than a handful of conspirators plotting a war, and tricking people into supporting it, as a means of gathering war profits, consider perhaps that random events occur which stoke an ignorant and impulsive populace to call for war ("Remember the Maine!"). This creates opportunities for journalists and arms dealers, who naturally take advantage of them.
Everyone knows and agrees that "war is bad," and has know and agreed on this throughout 10,000 years of modern human history, yet war has been a constant feature of history over that period, continuing into today.
I think conspiracy theories about "who starts wars" are pointless. You have to feel sorry for the schmucks who get drafted and sent into battle, but there's never a shortage of people to feel sorry for. It's a full time job.
If one feels strongly enough about it, one can join an anti-war movement. Personally I like to try to be aware of what's going on and try to avoid getting caught up in any trouble.
Considering that it's a regular feature of the human experience, maybe war is natural. I mean, it's hard to say that "People have always engaged in this activity, regularly and repeatedly for thousands of years, and it's completely abnormal and unnatural." Perhaps war serves some cleansing or cathartic purpose on a macro level. Macro levels don't care about individuals.