Posts Tagged ‘modern warfare’
If you ask me to explain what could break a man’s mind and cause him to slaughter unarmed women and children, I would submit to you that there is no humanity in modern warfare. When you are able to shoot another man dead from two kilometers’ distance, it is inhuman. When you are able to lay mines under a road and be miles away when your deed causes another man’s body to be blown apart, it is inhuman. When you can pilot a drone from a command base far distant from its human targets and, when the deed is done, simply shrug and say “looks like we got ‘em”, it is inhuman. When men are sent again and again into the same godless breach, thousands of miles from home and burdened with horrific scenes and increasing questions of “why”, it is inhuman. And the repercussions should not be surprising.
I have never seen combat, never enlisted in the army. But I have had a keen interest in war since I was a kid. I read books about military history. I play games which simulate famous battles, or whose goal is the conquest of foreign lands and people, whether fictitious or real. I am fascinated by the reasons why ancient battles were fought; engrossed with the strategies imposed by generals of old; rapt with the colorful characters that populate our planet’s military history. But when it comes to modern warfare (anything post-WWII), my interest is limited. The only two books I’ve read on the subject – In the Company of Heroes and Sebastian Junger’s War – deal almost exclusively with the human experience in modern war, as opposed to technology and tactics. There is, dare I say, no fun in modern warfare. No courage. No cowards. No chivalry. There is only technology, money, and a race to combine the two into the next grand killing machine.
Future wars, I hope, will be fought by non-human participants, i.e. robots, cyborgs, clones, etc. – who will either control themselves or be controlled by a soldier who operates in a capacity not unlike that of a kid playing a video game. But to continue involving human beings in a theater of war ruled by long-distance weapons and vicious killing machines, and thus force upon these human beings the ever-present fear of instantaneous death or dismemberment, is asking too much of the human psyche. Short of creating an army of super-soldiers who feel no psychological pain, it is my belief that human beings were not meant to participate in battles such as the ones currently waged, where one’s survival and success relies too much on luck and sheer force of numbers, and not enough on skill, cunning and bravery.
Technology has not made war more humane – it has only served to shatter the final barrier between the horrors of war and the protection afforded by a man’s mind who, in the past, could at least look the person he killed in the eyes.
This is one of my favorite songs, and the title always reminds me of the movie From Here to Eternity, which has something to do with this post: