Friday, 14 November 2008

War and Loving Our Children

A recent post on Hysterical Jugglings had a list of all the wars that the UK Armed Forces have been involved in since WW2. The list is long. Shockingly long.

As far as I’m aware, none of those wars were caused by the threat of our islands being invaded so I can’t help wondering why they happened. Money? Power? No doubt the excuse was to bring peace to the world, or at least the areas where the wars were being fought, but at what price did that peace, if it exists, come?

It seems to me that as long as we’re happy to send our young men and women off to fight wars, our need to prove our power is stronger than our love for our children because in many cases, those who die fighting those wars are little more than children. People as young as 18 have died for ‘the cause’ and still continue to do so. In some countries, those fighting are much younger. Much, much younger.

I do believe that we must defend ourselves against invading forces but wars caused purely through one nation’s hatred of another or religious intolerance is surely disrespectful to those who are sent to fight? How can we expect young people to lay down their lives because one group of people believe in this deity and another group believe in that one? Or even the same deity but in different ways. It’s madness. Complete and utter madness.

How many young people, I wonder, have lost their lives fighting wars based on intolerance or threats that never even existed? How many mothers have lost their children? How many children have lost a parent? Why, why, why?

Until we overcome our love of power and become more tolerant of other people's views and lifestyles, how can peace ever exist?

Sharon J


Image Credit: Dunecasher


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Kat said...

It astounds me on a daily basis that we are capable of inflicting so much suffering on our fellow humans. "Civilisation" is such a loose term! As you say, warmongering is often bourne out of nothing but mere greed and selfishness.

Having said that, I can understand the need to step in to intervene where the cause is necessary, though I appreciate this is an incredibly grey area, and the line between right and wrong is blurred beyond recognition. If I were a tiny tin pot nation facing the agression and oblivion of a much larger power, I would hope that others in the international community would not turn a blind eye. You're right though, governments don't always step in to maintain peace, there always seems to be an ulterior motive.

There are no easy answers, but I think we all have a duty to learn those lessons that history have repeated time and time again.

K x

Sharon J said...

Kat. Good point about the small nations and yes, in such cases it is important that we extend a helping hand (or bomb). It isn't just our children I'm concerned for though, it's those of every nation that becomes involved in a war, for whatever reason, and it seems that intolerance is the most common reason. As long as we can't adapt a "live and let live" mindset, I can't see how there will ever be peace.

The Dotterel said...

Leaving a UK death toll of over sixteen thousand, too!

WebSmith said...

When you learn why our children have been and are being sacrificed, the carnage becomes even more unbearable. Absolute monsters, these people, who would murder our kids and millions of innocent women, men and children in order to transfer wealth.

While we do nothing to stop genocides in poor countries with no wealth or resources, we commit our own genocides in Iraq and Viet Nam. Every battle fought since WWII has been on behalf of special interests.

My family has fought in every war since the revolution and my son is serving now. I am proud of our service to our country, but I am not so proud of our government.

Anonymous said...

So true, we seem to intervene for reasons that are not what wars and peace keeping should be about. We seem to intervene based on our own needs instead of those of others.

Debi said...

I don't describe myself as a pacifist. There are times and circumstances where I would fight to the death if need be (to defend my children, for example).

But not one of those wars in the last 60 years have been for that purpose. Nor have they been about whether or not we're tolerant of other people's beliefs. Or about protecting other people against tyrants.

Instead, they've all been about economics and greed. The proof is when you look at which 'causes' are taken up as being worthy for sacrificing lives and which are ignored.

And of course the 'best time' for a war is when we have high unemployment. Nothing like a good war to whittle down the numbers and distract attention at home. So we'd better watch out ...

Thanks for bringing this up, Sharon.

Sharon J said...

@ The Dotterel. That's shocking!

@ Websmith. Yes, greed is a very strong driving force, that's for sure. Some people will stop at nothing for personal gain, and so clearly will most governments.

@ Frugal Trenches. Absolutely.

@ Debi. No, I'm not saying that wars we've involved ourselves in have been about intolerance but a whole lot of wars do spring out of that. There's no doubt that the "unless there's something in for us, let 'em get on with us" mentality is the main factor for our involvement.

Anonymous said...

I think it's easy to say we shouldn't go to war (and I do wish we wouldn't), but self-interest is a strong motivator.

Take the first Gulf War intervention in Kuwait. It seemed silly to go in, but our main interest was protecting oil sources. People call that greed, but do you own a car? How do you expect to run it without petrol? Not to mention industry, and really, the daily running of our lives.

IMHO, the way to end war is to end injustice, and that is something we can do individually. If we stop buying into the system, we stop giving our governments reasons to fight unnecessary wars. We can blame our governments (and I do), but ultimately, we ourselves are also the root cause.