Saturday, March 9, 2013

War. What is it good for?

Welcome back to Dr. Spark's adventures in further edumacation.  As it is still essentially winter, my life consists of work, meals, sleep, reading, and TV.  The most interesting element of those is the reading.  I have been lurking around the history section of the public library.  Given that a large proportion of my neighbours are Korean, I decided that I should read a book about the Korean war.  So I did.

Here is what I learned about the Korean war in a nutshell: tens of thousands of people died, homes and infrastructure were destroyed, the economy of the country was devastated, and for what?  Pretty much nothing.  At the end of the war, the boundary between North and South Korea was essentially the same as when the war started.  No one had anything to show for all that suffering, except loss, scars, and PTSD.

What the heck, people?  When will we ever learn?

A little while ago, I read about the Crusades.  I never realized that there were a bunch of them, and that they carried on for several hundred years.  Here is what I learned about the Crusades, in a nutshell: they were a total clusterf***.  Pardon my French, but I can't think of a better way of putting it.

As I understand it, each Crusade went something like this:  A bunch of foolish, puffed-up young men got it into their heads to win Jerusalem back from the Muslims.  They gathered up some weapons and set off across Europe to the Holy Land.  To put it mildly, the exercise was not well-planned.  Along the way, they attacked and robbed the innocent inhabitants of the countries they passed through in order to feed themselves.  Model Christians, those guys.

When they arrived at Jerusalem, they fought and sometimes won.  When they took territory, they could not agree on who should rule the new possession, and so fought bitterly amongst themselves.  The internal divisions were almost as vicious as their fight against their foes.  

Also, they couldn't seem to get it together to manage their supply lines.  Anytime they got their hands on a shipment of food, they would throw a giant feast and waste all the food within a few days.  Shortly thereafter they'd be starving.  This happened repeatedly.  

Obviously, sometimes going to war is the right thing to do.  Getting involved in WWII, for example.  I definitely approve of that.  But I'm starting to get the picture that a lot of wars are pointless.  I guess the problem is that often one would only know that in hindsight.  Lord have mercy.


DarcKnyt said...

I like your summation of the Crusades. Nicely stated!

Happy weekending, Spark. :)

Granny Annie said...

Our military men and women are the first to cry out for peace. They do not like war either, yet many are proud of their service and see good that can come during a conflict. Often they do manage to deliver food to the right people and improve medical and nutritional care and save lives by putting themselves in harms way. Often they are called warmongers when actually they are our foremost peace mongers. Maybe the day will come when we won't see war but it is difficult to imagine when small minorities can cause such havoc to continually fall on the masses.

Granny Annie said...

Don't ask me where my previous comment came from. I failed to address your good homework and the information you passed to us. Sometimes I see through the glass dimly:)

wigsf3 said...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library, many of them with cool, gory pictures.

- Bart Simpson

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Hmmm.... I think it's good for arms dealers... other than that it's useless.

Warped Mind of Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LL Cool Joe said...

I totally agree with you Spark. I have nothing to add because you've said it all, and you managed to make me smile at the same time. ;)

Lynn said...

This makes me think of the Vietnam war, too.

G. B. Miller said...

I think the only wars that we should watch/participate in, are ones like:

War of The Roses.

War of the Sexes

The card game called "War".

Having said that, there have been senseless and fruitless wars in the past few centuries.

But who's to say that one's fruitless war isn't?

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: Thanks! The more I read about history, the more I realize that most of it is simply crazy and chaotic.

Granny Annie: It's certainly true that the armed forces personnel who sign up for duty voluntarily are incredibly courageous, and that we all owe our freedom to those who have fought and died on our behalf. Speaking as someone whom Hitler would have liked to murder, I appreciate that quite consciously.

WIGSF: That Bart is a very wise young man.

Ron: It was while reading the book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" several years ago that I first understood that there are many people who have a vested interest in the continuance of war. That came as a shock.

LL Cool Joe: Thanks! :-) You make me smile too.

Lynn: I haven't read much of anything about Vietnam yet, but it's on my list of "areas of ignorance to be corrected". I have heard about the Body Count strategy that was used(i.e. kill as many innocent civilians as possible to demoralize the enemy). Seems like that strategy didn't work out well for anyone.

G.B.: Some things are only obvious in hindsight.

DarcsFalcon said...

I like what Grannie Annie said. :)

As with all things, there are both good and bad wars. Some end well, others don't. I suppose one can only hope to be on the winning side, and that the losing side is treated with dignity and compassion.