Of Animals and Wars Someone called Man a social animal. Noting one of the most characteristic behaviors of animals being aggression, add a couple of billion wild animals to this equation and give them brains. The results vary.
Looking through our past and counting infinitesimal wars, I think we have fought each other almost to extinction. Nations went asunder in terms of policy and conflict resulted. Through the ages, war has made us, and at the same time, ravaged us.
Looking at the reasons for waging war, what is it that makes us take up arms? Is it for conquest? Is it to gain territory or national pride? Or is it to simply rescue pretty women like in the case of Helen of Troy? Some conflicts arise due to florid ethnic vendettas (Bosnia and Rwanda) and others with etheric clashes of interests based on economic reasons like the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam.
Some wars were caused by the leaders' jaunty wish to rule a bigger state, as was the case in WWII and the Napoleonic conflicts. Or analyzing the most recent conflicts, a clash of ideologies is found to be the culprit.
Aggression has been a part of humanity ever since we were created. The number of wars we have had is probably greater than the number of years we have spent on the Earth. Starting with the levity of tribal wars, we came to world wars. The latter being of such intensity that 25 million people perished. As wars progressed so did the deadliness of the weapons used. Weapons so deadly that you could barbecue half a state in one go.
It is not just the leader who is responsible for the start of a conflict. He (or she in some cases) is often backed by the will of the people. Alexander, Napoleon, Kaiser William and Hitler are only some of the examples. It is usually ideological or economic differences backed by the desire to achieve greatness that push people to wars.
In our complacency, we forget that war is not movies and patriotic songs. Men on opposing sides are trying to turn each other into mutilated chunks of meat, killing each other like cattle. Tragedy is very much real, not feigned. Human life, one of the most precious things to us is wastefully squandered by machines designed to kill meticulously. Blood is considered dirt. In the Cold War we saw Uncle Sam & friends defending against Russia's Patriotic Defense Forces. So if everyone's defending, why fight in the first place? It almost erupted into a nuclear war, ending the humor there and then in a colossal, corpulent radioactive cloud.
The fact that my generation might have been one born after a nuclear holocaust enrages and frightens me at the same time. I am a citizen of the world; I know I am concerned if my home is going to become a mound of rubble tomorrow. The same holds true for six billion other human beings on this planet.
As we progress, the nuclear deterrent and united global armed forces have slowed down the process of picking active fights amongst nations; but the aggressive spirit still exists. However, as the world turns to the laudable efforts of the UN and implores benedictory peace, the number of likely aggressors recedes. Although to say that there will be no more wars is extemporizing, it's as if to say that pigs will grow wings and start flying.