War is the suspension of all human kindness and decency, and while heroism can surface through the mud, the blood and the gore, there is nothing ennobling about war—those are the delusions and lies of the chickenhawks, the architects of death who never served in the military, and the pundits and politicians, who manipulate hate, fear and insecurity to serve their own self-interests. If war is hell, then those who champion it are its most vile demons, and any candidate who advocates war in the pursuit of political office has already proven that he or fit is unfit to serve.
There is no good war, and while a “just war” may be within the realm of human imagination, it will never, ever be good. That is the illusion of the pimply teen-ager spoon fed a cultural diet of murderous video games, films, and TV shows and poisonous rhetoric in a society desperate to rationalize its economic dependency on the industries of death.
If you want to guarantee wars in the future, wage them today, because most of the survivors will never forget what happened to their loved ones and they will seek revenge and pass that bloodlust onto their children. If you want to kill and main women, children and civilians, then wage war because non-combatants make up the greatest number of the casualties on the modern battlefields. And anyone who tells you that there is weaponry “smart” enough to distinguish between combatants and civilians is a liar.
If you think there is anything good about war, go talk to a veteran who has been on the frontlines and seen the horror or smelled its stench. Last night, I ran across an old friend, a Vietnam vet, who said the nightmares, the depression, and the bursts of tears associated with his post-traumatic stress disorder over the last couple of weeks are the worse he has experienced. The last U.S. troops left Vietnam 37 years ago.
If you find a battle-tested veteran who glorifies war, I got 10 dollars that says he or she never really saw combat or was psychologically damaged as a consequence. I remember when I was a pimply teen-ager asking my father, an Army combat veteran of World War II, why he never attended any of “patriotic” rallies in our hometown on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans’ Day. He quietly turned to me and said, “Because there is nothing worth remembering about that time. I only wish I could forget all of it.”