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BACK-TALK

June 14, 2007

Guernica
Image from here.

War: What is it Good For?

A wise man once sang:

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait till judgment day comes, yeah!
—Black Sabbath, War Pigs

It does seem that way sometimes. Is war anything more than a sort of abstract chess game to the “power minds?” Is there a widespread sense of “My country/religion/race is better than yours,” that brings populations along on the ride? Or is it really as simple as what Nazi Hermann Göring said about The Fear?:

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. …Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Impractically(?), I say, “Let the artists duke it out.” No one communicates more effectively. Whichever side moves the other’s people more with their propaganda wins. Or let the musicians duke it out: if the musicians can’t jam together, then there truly are irreconcilable differences. It’s true, musicianship will not always guarantee peace. I once saw two marching bands rumble at a high school football game!

Which is to say, doesn’t all The War seem like a distraction from other important things, like meaningful energy policy reform, disaster recovery, enforcement of safety and labor regulations, enforcement of antitrust and racketeering laws, investigation of government corruption… etc… ?

QUESTION: Is there a better means of conflict resolution between the moneyed interests of nations other than the current system of attrition of innocents by death?

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