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The Inevitable, War.

Updated on August 31, 2017

In ancient times, the bow and arrow was the staple of all weapons. Attila the Hun used horse mounted archers to swiftly take out groups of opposing infantry. His successful invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire reconfirms our belief that the right tools can topple ripe empires. The Huns’ more plunder and pillage ethos resulted in failure to overthrow the large and well allied Roman Empire. Alexander the Great had built an empire that stretched from the Adriatic Sea to North Western India, defeating the Persians on multiple occasions not with manpower alone, but with his developed strategic proclivity.

In the book, The Art of War by the Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, are described 13 chapters devoted to different aspects of warfare and how military tactics and strategies are formed relative to ones position in war. He described the best way to win a war is to attack where the enemy is weak, which in turn offered him two benefits, an easier win and lesser casualties. His holistic philosophy has since been used by military strategists and politicians alike. After successfully defending the state of Wu from its much stronger neighbor, Wu, Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War which defines the supreme art of war as subduing your enemy without fighting.

During the Crusades, European Christians fought in order to escalate Christian belief and unifying Europe under it. Crusaders were promised forgiveness for all their sins would they fight for the Holy Land of Jerusalem. Propelled by religion, and the supplementary increase in territorial control, the Crusades saw an estimated 1 million dead over the course of about 200 years. Much like the Crusades, wars that seem essential, the War to End all Wars pitched humanity against each other again in a war that subverted European society, laid the foundation for World War II and led to the Russian Revolution and birth of the Soviet Union. Tanks and chemical warfare were primary forces used in the Great War. With the introduction of modern technology in warfare, the subsequent destruction left 9 million soldiers dead from around the world. Since time immemorial, wars and battles have been fought for control, riches and to stomp the oppressor. Today the world is familiar with weapons with unimaginable destructive capabilities. The hydrogen bomb always will be world renowned pacifist, Albert Einstein’s counterintuitive gift to science.

War is never justifiable. A subtle difference in opinion causes multitudes of men to massacre each other in the name of religion or to further personal goals. The entire dichotomy of good and evil has been made so much “public”, since ages ago that the world is now split. The crusaders were told they would be redeemed, all their sins forgotten if they fought the war for their holy land. Multitudes were slaughtered. The entire concept of peace run down because someone ceased their control over the holy land. Sounds capricious. This one city, a holy land for Islam, Christianity and Judaism has been sieged multiple times well before and even after it was a holy site. Seems maudlin, waging war where apparent peace should reign. Adolf Hitler had millions murdered. Ranging from Jews, Slavic ethnic groups, Soviets and all who dared oppose him. It is quite clear, he for one believed the Germanic race was the more superior one, and people followed him. What does this tell us? It is not evil that guides people to be cruel. It is their own agendas. Not some unjustifiable force that binds us to evil doings, but our own incapability to compromise and to understand the priority, peace amongst all human beings.

With the advent of nuclear weaponry, the world seems much bleaker. We have created weapons to wipe out our own. Millions at a time. The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have firsthand felt the devastation. War has been a part of human culture. Warriors have been praised and been the archetype for bravery and justice. The most brilliant loophole of pacifism is that not everybody is one. Most of us would rather see a hundred men die than letting a million take their place. It’s the lowest form of empathy. So what are we talking about? Maybe a utopia where something as dreadful as taking lives is considered insignificant, where wars are just chapters in history books, or Kindles for that matter, and when the widespread paranoia of terrorism and inequality is over. As well it should be.


"There never has been a good war or a bad peace" - Benjamin Franklin

© 2017 Awijit Kotlia


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