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Yes, War Is Hell

Updated on November 13, 2011

A few years ago at a family gathering in the United States, I explained to my teenaged nephew what the government, politicians and assorted officials mean when they talk about “serving your country.”

“To serve” is code for military service and I advised my nephew that there are much better and more productive ways to serve one’s country than military service. I advised him to stay in school, go to college, get a good job, pay his taxes, buy a nice car, and he will get a lot of girls. I think he liked the idea of having a nice car best.

Did you ever notice that the rich and powerful do their level best to keep their children out of the military? While he was sending other people’s children to kill or be killed in Iraq, George Bush sent his daughters to college. He, nor Clinton, nor Obama has “served” on the front lines, faced the enemy on the battlefield, and yet each was, and is, America’s Commander in Chief.

Even as American troops are being withdrawn from Iraq, a new target is being sought and promoted in the Middle East - Iran. Has America learned nothing? And those who have never seen the horror of war first hand shout the loudest for more blood.

“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.” - William Tecumseh Sherman (American Civil War General)

Not only is war hell, it is usually unnecessary and results in unintended consequences. America has been involved in six major wars in the last hundred years - World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And there are still over one hundred thousand American troops stationed in Japan, Korea and Europe. So, the wars never really ended.

What did all these wars cost, and continue to cost America? Trillions in dollars, and untold human suffering for both American and foreign troops, and civilians.

And yet the young and patriotic continue to enlist to “serve” their country. I think that those who enlist are mislead by all the slick talk about “service” and “our heroes” and about fighting for America’s freedoms.

How much more free is America after all these wars? There is, in fact, less freedom. It is now easier for the governments in America, and in other countries, to spy on their citizens, and at the airports, it is now legal for low-paid workers to grope and strip-search honest, decent, law-abiding citizens on the flimsiest of excuses. Even children and grandmothers have been patted down in the name of national security. Is this freedom? Is this why so many brave men and women made the “ultimate sacrifice”?

It is time to understand the truth about war. Large multi-nationals and their shareholders benefit from wars while the lowly soldier gives his life. The book War Is A Racket by General Smedley D. Butler shows how American war efforts were promoted by big business interests.

And as for dying for one’s country…

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” - General George S. Patton (American General in World War I and II)

There are so many other ways to serve your country. You can find ten suggestions here:


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    • Ramsa1 profile image

      Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World

      Jewels, we humans can accomplish so much if we devoted our time to positive thought and action. If the trillions spent every year on the world's military were diverted to peaceful activities, starting today, my guess is that we could eliminate hunger and poverty everywhere in twenty years, or less.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

      I've been reading several of Chris Hedges books, one of them "War is a Force that gives us Meaning." It gave me a more front line view of war and the misguided and false ideals war stands for. Additionally the petty "he stole my marbles" mentality that incites a lot of it. And of course there is the financial gains attached to it also. I was also stunned to read that in all of human recorded history we have had only 79 days without a war somewhere in the world. We humans are an amazing race aren't we!

    • Ramsa1 profile image

      Ramsa1 6 years ago from A citizen of the World

      Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting, Mathira. I love to remind people that Mahatma Gandhi gained freedom for India from the British without lifting up a gun.

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 6 years ago from chennai

      Your hub was punchy and powerful.