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"The new old lie--On War Art and the Meaning of War"

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-13-12 08:27 PM
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"The new old lie--On War Art and the Meaning of War"
This is a long article with lots of quotes from writers in American History about War...Meaning of War...and it's Wonky and takes time to think about. Some who read here might find it very interesting. My snips don't do the article justice. :-(


March 2012
The new old lie

by Thomas Bruscino

On war art and the meaning of war.

Without getting into the merits of either Pragmatism or progressive liberalism, it is key to note that the meaninglessness of war is essential to their worldview. If there is something more to war than just butchery, if soldiers fight and die for a preexisting ideal, then their sacrifice becomes a powerful testament to that ideal. No one said it better than Lincoln:

"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before usthat from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotionthat we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

But was Lincoln right? Did the soldiers at Gettysburg give the last full measure of devotion to a cause? Have our soldiers ever fought for something more than just to survive the horrors of combat? The answer is much more complicated than the critics allow, which by default means that their absolutist view is wrong. But that assertion does not let them off the hookin fact, it should make them rethink exactly what they hope to prove with their cynicism about war.

Among all human endeavors, war is something unique. It is a tool of policy, but not politics as usual. It is policy by violent means, and those means make the nature of war emotional, confusing, unpredictable, and deadlybut not incoherent, no matter how chaotic it appears close up. Therein lies the dilemma for those who want to understand why men fight in war.

Combat itself is a disconcerting experience that does not allow the time or space for reflection. The sharp end of war seems random and arbitrary. Success or failure in battle is often unclear, and men live and die in proportions that seem to have little to do with their relative ability, let alone morality. What is more, states, even democratic ones, can get young men into combat with remarkable ease and little explanation required. As a rule, young people bring limited perspective and experience to the confusion they find on the battlefield. For all of those reasons, when asked about their motivations, the men fighting on the front lines tend to focus on supporting their comrades, not on the causes of the war. What that means is that, in the aggregate, young people will fight in the service of just about any cause, whether they fully understand it or not.

Much MORE..long and Thought Provoking at......
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