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The Insanity of War

March 21st, 2011 by Michael Tabor

How can we as a species even conceive of ourselves as a civilized animal when there is a thing that still exists and in which we partake called warfare?  George Carlin summed it up best when he stated, “we Homo sapiens like to think of ourselves as civilized, yet we’re barely out of the jungle folks (the primordial side of humans still triumphs) all we are is animals with computers, machine guns and baseball caps.”

War has always been with us (even when we were ape-like toolmakers some 2.5 million years ago to the 1st so-called civilization, the Sumerians 8000 years ago to the Civil War (Carlin has a funny bit re: the term civil – “Pardon me sir please allow me to  – boom ! you’re dead; to the front page of the New York Times today 3/21/2011.

Even when it seems perhaps we are  more than amply justified when for example today, we see the allies intensifying air assaults in Libya as we attempt to depose the brutal dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi who has been brutalizing and killing his own civilians for decades. There just seems something wrong with resolving something unspeakably horrible by dropping bombs. I was struck by the incisive remarks made by the former chairman of the Arab league, Amr Moussa, when he said we’re trying to protect the civilians of Libya by dropping more bombs on parts of Libya where we think Qaddafi is and in the process killing more civilians. Just think of the absolute insanity of this!

As I am writing this, I’m glancing at the front page of The New York Times (the so snobby and refined paper that only prints the news that’s fit to print) with a an image of a massive fireball in color, covering half of the front page. It’s such a harrowing picture that I can practically smell the gasoline and the corpses of civilians and soldiers burning flesh. Furthermore, does it really matter anyway in terms of human life – a human being is a human being; so it makes it okay to burn to a crisp a young man who happens to be wearing a military uniform and who happens to be on the wrong side. I also cringe at the armchair generals who declare that we are only targeting the military and we are careful not to put civilians in harm’s way but collateral damage (nice euphemism for innocent men, women, and children) is a sad fact of war.

I know that war is unavoidable because there are very bad people in the world who are sadistic and have an unquenchable thirst for power. They take advantage of a weak nation or a country in trouble (like Hitler did after WWI; the 2nd world war was partially our fault because of the Treaty of Versailles – another blog) they rise to power and wreak havoc.

I would hope that someday we would, I am not going to be Pollyannaish, and say someday there will be no war, but just pray that we resort to military action only if necessary and only if all other non-military tactics and negotiations have failed.

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK ? There is military conflict all over the world – we are ensnared in two wars, the Middle East and Africa are always killing each other and it is a hive for dictators. What are your thoughts on the wars we’re fighting (the U.S.)? Is there a way out? In fact, we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than we fought in Vietnam – astounding but true. Hey George Carlin I love you, I miss you and yes you were right – we are animals with computers, machine guns and baseball caps.

I am interested in what people have to say about this Op-ed blog. I hate war and it’s the sickest thing we humans do. Open this up and create substantive dialogue.

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