LEST WE KEEP FORGETTING
Eighty-six years ago a war that need never have started, and could not then be stopped until one side was broken by sheer attrition, ended ... thus putting in place the conditions for another. A Colonel Repington knew as much in 1919, when he proposed as a name for the grand tragedy just passed 'The First World War'.
Even then, wars didn't start, and weren't conducted, at some faraway front. Everyone was in on it. Whole populations were infected then mobilised then targetted then attritted. That's what war has really been all about this last century and more.
As Romain Cierambault observed two years after The War To End All Wars and nineteen years before The One After That: "In the wars of today, which comprise entire peoples, thought is enlisted; thought kills as well as cannon; it kills the soul; it kills beyond the seas; it kills across centuries; it is the heavy artillery which works at a distance."
JC Squire had given us an example of this artillery-thought back when The Guns of August first let loose, "God heard the embattled nations sing and shout, "Gott strafe England!" and "God save the King!" God this, God that, and God the other thing. "Good God" said God, "I've got my work cut out!"
Yep, if truth is war's first casualty, God is its first conscript, this time in The Iraq War After The Last One. Artillery-thought has just claimed another thousand lives in Falluja ('we' killed a thousand Fallujans last time 'we' 'took' Falluja in March). It'll likely claim another thousand next week. Then Ramadi. 'We' 'took' Ramadi a few weeks ago. And soon 'we'll' 'take' it again. Then Falluja. Again. And I see Mosul, a touted success story only a few weeks/thousand deaths ago, is awash in grenade launchers and AK 47s today.
Peace is the only thing worth fighting for, yet if there's one thing war is demonstrably very bad at, it is ensuring peace.
It's the worst thing people do and it doesn't bloody work.