O’ War! War! O’ Elegant, Heavenly War!

Reason and intelligence lead thoughtful people to reach the same conclusions when those conclusions seem most obvious, and that’s a shame.  We intellectual sorts daily nod and smile at one another, agreeing on many momentous topics of discussion, differing on only the tiniest of distinctions.  Too many discussions terminate with these knee-jerk conclusions, really, and one of these universally agreed-upon topics happens to be the matter of war.

War, says the sage scholar, is a base, savage, corrupt, unworthy use of our time and resources.  War, he spits, defiles our dignity and pollutes our minds, denounces our integrity and poisons our innocence.  War, he decries, is hell.

However, this perspective does not lend itself to a round, fair judgment of martial practices.  War is too ancient a human institution to be flippantly dismissed out-of-hand.  We owe too much of our bounteous, idyllic lifestyle to war for such a hasty expulsion of it.  War is too human to be deemed inhumane.

War, the heart of so much civilization, cannot be immoral, unjust, or depraved. War is not loathsome, nor is it an abomination. War is not iniquity.

War, in fact — is a really, really good time.

War is not hell. Come now, does this look like hell to you?

I. War Brings People Together

“[The most awesomest party ever] grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

— Mao Tse-Tung

Nothing thrills the soul like a good explosion, except maybe a good explosion with body parts flying out of it. Rather than blowing people up solo, though, one can make the minutest bang a resounding ka-boom! by inviting one’s friends and neighbors along. An armed skirmish inspires conviviality, and any reason to hold a shin-dig is a good one.

Many Southern Californians live in apathy of their neighbors, ignorant of their neighbors’ names, ignorant of their neighbors’ proclivities, ignorant of their neighbors altogether except for the kind of car they drive and which households make the most noise.  We repeatedly prove ourselves too proud to love, too haughty to give a heartfelt hug when we need it most. Drop a few cluster bombs on the local strip mall, though, and people cling to one another like infant monkeys.

Never mind the block party; Mrs. Dilweed’s acclaimed potato salad isn’t going to make any friends. It’s suppression fire from a machine gun nest at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac that softens the hardest of hearts. Until cowering in a muddy shell crater with them, one never knows one’s true brothers and sisters. Camaraderie springs from warmth, and the root word of warmth is war (little known fact). This is why most ordnance produces heat, flame and conflagration, and why even cold bullets, once in merry flight, are called fire.

Don’t stay out in the cold. Choose warmth. Choose war.

Did you see that buzzbomb clip Ralph as it whizzed by? Bang! Zoom! What a gas!

II. War Inspires Art

“The object of war is not to [party hard] for your country but to make the other bastard [party hard] for his.”

— General George S. Patton, Jr.

What pastoral oils graced canvases during Earth’s peaceful centuries? What poetry dripped honeylike from the tongues of minstrels during the Great Pacific Period? What music resounded through the halls of humanity during the Time of Tranquility?

Aha! But there were never any such occasions, of course. Do not be silly.

All great art is the result of a vicious, mindless, self-consuming, bullet-tossing, bomb-fumbling world hell-bent on blending hell into every fine thing produced by man. Without the bang of guns, there would be no onomatopœia. Without the need for camouflage, there would be no paint. Without the need for morale, there would be no music, no comedy, no burlesque.

Without war, the Beatles would have been a boy band. Without war, Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls would have been about schoolchildren dismissed for summer. Without war, Leutze’s painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, boot at the prow, would have featured that great general having his shoes shined.

No art exists but that which came from the fertile, menstruating womb of war. What possible inspiration could there, otherwise, be? God (big G)? Please. We have a Sistine Chapel already, thank you.

Without war, we'd not have pretty paintings like "2,000-Yard Stare," by Tom Lea

III. War Improves the Humans-to-Resources Ratio

“The death of one man is [smart shopping]. The death of millions is a [hot deal].”

— Josef Stalin, comment to Churchill at Potsdam, 1945

Limited resources! cry the teachers of social studies. Limited resources! cry the pundits of the mass media. Limited resources! cry the politicians of every country throughout time. All these persons devoutly believe to have spotted the obvious reason for war, when all along they’ve had it backwards. War is not a battle over limited resources. War is the simple solution by which humanity divides limited resources amongst fewer peoples.

What difference does it make if seventy percent of all the oil in the world exists in the Middle East and North Africa, if there are so few people in said world that they couldn’t possibly consume it all in seventy-seven generations? War isn’t a contest of tug-o’-war with natural resources as the prize. War is a game of musical chairs which begins with someone left standing, and ends with everyone seated comfortably.

Every human death brings humanity closer to feeding itself. The practice of warfare puts palatable provisions on everyone’s plate.

Always enough to go around when "around" is less round

IV. War Spurs Science

“You can’t say that civilization don’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way [that is consistent with the scientific method].”

– Will Rogers

Dehydrated foods, microwave technology, and countless other advances sprang from the American war machine, yet detractors still picket and march and gripe and whine, saying, “Make love, not war!” and, “Draft beer, not people!” as though these pithy proverbs were the pinnacle of wit and political consciousness. These naysayers have conviction — one can tell by the limitless cash they spend on verbose bumper stickers for their hybrid automobiles, verbose little slogans such as, “Why do people bomb people who bomb people to show that bombing people is wrong?” and “It will be a great day when schools have all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to construct a bomber” — but their hypocrisy outshines their passion every time they stir water into their Carnation Instant Breakfast (™) or nuke their breakfast burritos for thirty seconds on High.

War motivates our sharpest knives and brightest bulbs to design ever-more-efficient blenders in which to purée people, without which the interminable process of old-fashioned battle would positively bore the soldiers to death. Who wants a war without robotic drone fighter planes firing laser-guided ordnance while threading the needle through phased-array radar sites? Nobody, that’s who. Night vision goggles with infrared target-acquisition-sharing capability! Electromagnetic silent supersonic Gauss rifles! Nuclear submarines playing hide n’ seek beneath polar ice caps, with bionic remote-controlled spy sharks to follow them!

Let’s face it, war makes a technological wonderland out of an otherwise unremarkable world, and though it may seem somewhat more destructive, we’d all probably die of boredom without it, anyway.

The hi-tech miracles of war bring delightful conveniences into every home. Every boy and girl will want a civilian version of BigDog under the tree this Christmas!

V. War Brings the Rich and Poor Together

“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who [benefit greatly].”

– Jean-Paul Sartre

Of the many struggles plaguing mankind, class warfare remains one of the most deleterious. The working class has always been exploited by people with money and power, and has always outnumbered its rich slave-owners by a ratio too imbalanced to ignore. In 2006, the top one percent of the population of the United States owned more than twenty percent of the wealth. This is the same as if the rich had stolen every single possession from nineteen percent of American citizens, not to mention everything these unfortunate nineteen percent are currently earning, and everything they will earn until the day they fall over and die — until the statistic changes again, that is.

What to do for this social sickness? Depose the rich and give their stuff to the poor, á la Robin Hood? That only works in movies. Once again we find that war, that old internecine pastime, is the answer.

The problem is not economic disparity. The crisis is that aristocrats are an alarmingly endangered species, their numbers falling faster than those of the black rhino, the giant panda, or the beluga sturgeon. In order to save this grievously assailed caste, the opposing herd must be thinned. What better use for the poor, than war? War is not only useful for inciting art, science, conservation, and brotherly love; it’s also humanity’s best method of lessening the huddled masses of impoverished paupers to match the dwindling and endangered populations of aristocrats.

Eat your heart out, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Why not? Ancient Romans coined their money and forged their swords from the same metal, and in the same fire.

VI. War Spurs Philosophy

“We make war that we may live in [wine-induced philosophical contemplation].”

-Aristotle

Humanity once needed to laze in order to store up energy for the hunt. Now that our prey comes to us through drive-thru take-out windows, we no longer require such lazing, but shaking the habit has proven too difficult for most of us and as a result, we’re lazy.

Philosophers are no different, and in fact often constitute the laziest portion of society (armchairs redounding). For this indolence the fault falls but partially on them, however. Having explained away the meaning of life with eighteen answers to choose from (and this before even touching upon world religions) philosophers peaked rather young, and the resulting malaise keeps them from coming up with new material for our amusement on a regular basis, lazy bastards that they are.

With the threat and promise of war, though, philosophers and thinkers from every corner of the globe clamber over one another to pose their perspectives to the world. War is detestable! say some, and War is inevitable! say others, and War is glorious! say still more, all of them having worked out valid, logical reasoning to support their point of view.

Without war, whatever would we do for philosophy? Where would we find our bathroom reading? Like it or not, the world has war to thank for the musings of Confucius, Gandhi, Lao Tze, Kant, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the rest of the simpering peaceniks.

No war, no philosophy.

Socrates preferred the M4A1 for its close spread at medium range.

VII. War Holds Religions Accountable

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world [see eye-to-eye].”

– Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi

Perhaps most importantly, war keeps the world’s major religions on their toes. Any religious leader can jaw non-stop about how one ought to live one’s life, but when hundreds of weeping mothers pour in on Sunday begging for a divine promise to bring their sons home from war unscathed, even the most wretched charlatan must turn his gaze inward and ask himself, “Do I really know what the hell I’m talking about? Do I really think there’s an ultimate source of love and wisdom and fairness who could let a war like this happen, simply because people are born imperfect and grow up stupid enough to fire projectiles at each other?”

Mark 13:7 says that wars must happen.  Judaism and Islam have been hurling grenades at one another for centuries.  Hinduism even has a goddess, Kali, dedicated to destruction, and Taoism doesn’t really care one way or the other.  It should surprise no one, therefore, that most of the people recruiting for war, speaking in favor of war, and doing the actual killing practice religion.  War benefits religions by holding them accountable, and by accomplishing the following:

War eliminates the fighters from religious congregations, leaving only the lovers.

War forces religious leaders to answer in detail the most treacherous, and imperative, mysteries of life.

War allows believers to emphasize their belief in heaven by martyring themselves, an otherwise impossible task in the modern era.

‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ is not an argument against atheism — it’s an argument against foxholes,” says James Morrow.  Indeed, nobody wants a godless heathen in the trenches defending America.  What would that say about us here at home?

Warriors of anti-aircraft fire and theosophical debate, may your barbs fly true!

VIII. War Destroys Warfarers

“We have to face the fact that either we are going to die together or live together and if we are going to live together then we are going to have to [die together anyway].”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Having covered all the aforementioned benefits of war, it remains to note that even if war could be disparaged (not bloody likely) enemies of this most honorable practice would have nothing to fear, because war primarily destroys warfarers. Collateral damages aside, and the odd woman-and-child combination notwithstanding, most victims of war who die with bullets in their chests die also with guns in their hands.

War, then, is a cancer-eating cancer. Who can fear an innocuous thing like that?

Like Romeo and Juliet, war loves war, and war kills war.

IX. War Expedites Evolution

“Violence is the last refuge of the [guy who should have tried violence sooner].”

— Isaac Asimov

The human race has war to thank for much of its enduring success and happiness, but natural selection continues. Having developed foresight, as well as a prototypical reasoning faculty, humans owe it to themselves to help speed evolution along, rather than sluggishly floating through stages of development like flotsam on a wave.

Since evolution depends on the deaths of as many would-be parents as possible, war hurries genetic development exponentially. Millions of heroic, conscientious warmongers with an earnest desire to kill opt out of parenthood, and thereby hurry the filtration process. In addition to these purposeful patriots, millions eject themselves from the gene pool by enlisting under dubious pretenses also, including (though fortunately not limited to) the overemotional, the desperate, the directionless, the uneducated, the unassuming, the weak-willed, and the easily-convinced. With all these excellent specimens volunteering their progeny for oblivion, homo sapien version 2.0 might just be released millions of years ahead of schedule.

One never knows which genetic mutation will prove most useful to the next line of humans, but one thing is certain: war finds those beneficial mutations quickly — much faster than waiting for rest homes to empty does.

Evolution at the speed of boom

With so much to thank war for, how can we continue to castigate this most-precious of traditions? There’s so little the world can agree on! And yet, everyone admires the silent nobility of a rusted, burned-out tank half-hidden in tall, green grass. Everybody can appreciate the natural beauty of an antiquated minefield, the subtle majesty of barbed wire silhouetted against the sunrise, its coils spiraling along the horizon like glittering ivy.

Why must we as a civilized people rebel against our most fundamental natures? Let us enjoin our destinies hand-in-hand, staring boldly, proudly down the rifled barrels of our mutual obliteration. Let us not come to regard our beatific invasions as clumsy mistakes, but as the measured, artful strokes of a virtuoso violinist crafting a concerto.

There’s nothing sick or evil about death. Death, so-called, does not even truly exist except as the briefest juncture between shapes of life, a nurturing moment in the infinite infancy of existence. Let us not stay the hand of the reaper, but take up our plows and sow our seeds in preparation for Death’s gentle harvest.

We did not invent war. We are war.

So stand down the picket signs and snatch up the weaponry, salute the Commander In-Chief and strut stolidly to doom. Our splendor and sublimity await!

With Much Love and Many Rockets,

-BothEyesShut

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32 Comments

  1. this sites great!! what i want to know is do you realy believe some of this stuff or all of it, or none of it or what? fucking funny pic of that philosopher

    • Dear Jay,

      I have neither faith nor belief, in neither faith, nor belief.

      Thanks for laughing, man. I consider it all rather silly, myself.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  2. You are writing on a wide range of subjects. But what are remarkable are the original witty observations that illuminate your prose. I am specially attracted by your ideas on art and popularity. The way you use images (of great quality) to compliment your words is also well thought. Above all, your blog stands out for its pristine look. A superb site..

    • Dear Solitude,

      I sometimes wish I were not writing on such a broad spectrum of topics, but I’m not the master of this place — I’m a masochistic victim of it.

      You say very nice things, and I’m humbled by them. Thank you very, very much.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  3. A great and stylish blog. The opinions expressed are not always mine, but that doesn’t matter at all to me, because they are interesting and well written. Good job! Added to reader and I will return..

    • Dear Adam,

      The opinions expressed are not always mine, either, as a matter of fact. I try to apply whichever philosophies or ideas seem applicable to what I’m talking about, and sometimes my personal preferences lean towards something less defensible than what I know ought to be explained, so this place is more about openly working on puzzles than didactically sermonizing my own paradigm.

      If that seems dishonest, please consider that my own paradigm shifts dramatically upon each new discovery, each new possibility, kinda like discovering a hidden room in your apartment and calling that space yours.

      Thank you very much for the nice things you’ve said, especially that bit about stylish. I think style is more important in literature than anything in the world.

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyes

  4. Dear BothEyesShut,

    Thank you for your interesting opinions. I do not share your perspectives, or what I think are your perspectives… but I do like the way you say them, and I’m happy you’re here to do so. Thanks,

    H.

    • Dear Mrs. Haversham,

      There’s nothing like a Dickensian allusion for a moniker, is there?

      It’s a beautiful thing when I see an argument that I do not agree with, but which I value for its qualities, whether they be of presentation, logic, etiquette, or any other fine attribute. It’s even more wonderful to receive heartfelt pleasantries from a would-be detractor, and I must say I’m flattered.

      Thank you very much for taking time to write me.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  5. surely you have opened many more detours and as much as I’d like to be part of this art, philosophy etc. I still stand on the wired fence just being an observer – commendable writing though

    • Dear Americanising Desi,

      I wonder if merely observing were actually possible? I have an inclination to consider mere observers the wiser of us all.

      My father might have added, “It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch,” also. It’s not the person seated front-row, center, asking questions and making poignant arguments who intrigues me most, but rather the person silhouetted at the rear, quietly setting the amphitheatre on fire.

      Thanks for the nice compliments, very much.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  6. As a former Air(wo)men in the Air Force, I can back point one of your blog. Never was I more social than when I was in the military, and it is the only aspect of the entire war organization that I miss. Being forced to do things with strangers quickly turns those unknown faces into the mugs you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

    • Dear Lel,

      Having never possessed a desire to pledge allegiance to anybody’s flag, let alone kill or die for it, I have not had the pleasure of being as social as you describe. I definitely believe what I wrote there, though. I’ve always felt that war veterans, particularly elderly fighters, must be the loneliest fellows in the world, thinking about old so-and-so and that one guy, what’s-his-face, and never being able to go back to that time when their boon companions tromped with them over hill and under hill, as Tolkien put it.

      Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and thank you very much for taking time to write.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  7. One of the things I admire about this blog is each subject, wholly distinguishable from one another, has been greatly cared for. Evidence in minor details and the humor denote that nothing here is random. Well-done, sir!

    Keep ’em shut.

    • Dear Both Arms Crossed,

      Have we met?

      You can count on my having taken care to craft each post as carefully as I can on a deadline (I try to publish one per week). There’s nothing worse than a careless, flippant author. How can an actor play a character well unless he has sympathy for the character’s plight? Likewise, how can an author expect readers to care for a piece he has not cared for, perhaps much more so than the reader does? The more fun I have writing a piece, the more popular it turns out to be, in fact. The ratio is almost exactly 1:1.

      Thanks for the nice things you’ve said, and thanks for taking the time to say them.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  8. Speaking as someone who has been to war, I have to say I disagree with most of what you have written, indeed I find a lot of it quite irritating…

    However, it is very well written, well presented and interesting.

    One thing I do agree with … your right to your opinion :-)

    • Dear Glen,

      Indeed, Sir? I envy your experience! It must have been a delightful time, romping around with brave, fine fellows and seeing the world as the recruitment posters advertise. I have often considered taking advantage of the fantastic opportunity that is the American pastime of desert warfare. I fear now that I will have procrastinated too long, and that they will consider me too old to blow foreign people up for them. What regret I’ll have to live with.

      Hope remains, however! My country finds reason to engage new enemies on a fairly regular basis (I’m pulling for a Chinese campaign, personally. I hear the grasslands of the Huang valley are breathtaking!).

      Thank you for the nice things you said, Sir. I remain,

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyesShut

  9. Gosh, I must say this is one of the most interesting and well thought out blog posts I’ve ever had the chance to visit. Not that I agree with you 100% on many of the notions you postulate about war but then again, I don’t think that was really the point of this particular essay. War is something no one (well, alright I figure it’s more like 93% of people) ‘likes’ per se but it is, sadly, something that happens and we must deal with it. Likewise, what good would war be if it did not in some way help to move us forward?

    At least that’s how I like to look at it. Maybe I’m too much of an optimist but it gives me solace to believe that something good will come out of such chaos. I’ve always thought it interesting how we all want peace but somehow it seems we haven’t quite figured out what to do with it when we get it. Good post. I look forward to reading more from you!

    Avery

    • Dear Avery,

      Chaos is a many-splendored thing, to be sure. It is why the patternless stars beckon to us, why snowflakes deserve close examination, and why the swirl of a flushed toilet mesmerizes my cat.

      War is the great father of, and unappreciated solution to, global chaos, and does not receive enough ovation to stand on its many merits. I have here attempted to elucidate some of what must be the reasons people die and kill one another for flags, et cetera, but I believe the real reasons are not likely to be understood by anyone but very entrenched heads of state. Perhaps if they gave these reasons openly, the dogs of war would enlist more readily?

      I whole-heartedly appreciate your optimism, Ma’am. It seems so rare in this modern era of cynicism and sarcasm.

      Thank you very much for your time. I am,

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  10. An interesting array of comments, almost as readable as the post. As an ex-military with combat experience I can say that never have I been so social as in the forces, however, there were times for romp and occasions for tears and vomiting. I saw death at 19, I have seen it since, but it was never as horrific. The philosophies behind your post are hard to refute and as they were well written and readable, entertaining in their uniqueness. I have never seen war written as such before; well, I have, but not assembled under one cover.

    It does give one food for thought, albeit a tad warped which is what inveigles itself into ones mind.

    AV

    • Dear Mr. Vulgaris,

      Thank you for the nice things you’ve said.

      Having no combat experience, myself, I can only imagine that my piece would read somewhat differently had I seen and heard (and smelled) what you, as well as Mr. Glen, have. What I present here remains a collezione of ideas taken from many other, more venerable and more experienced, people. War supporters here in Southern California seem largely unrepresented among intellectual circles, and when they do speak out, they do not argue many of their strongest reasons.

      Personally, I find bionic spy sharks strong enough justification for urban assault.

      Just a humble civilian trying to do my part.

      Thank you again for your eloquent and gentlemanly response, Sir.

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyes

  11. Well, I enjoyed that anyway…

    • Dear Mr. Blanchard,

      I’m pleased you found this piece amusing. It’s been, castigated, you know. Thanks for taking time. I realize I’m not a brief man.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

    • Dear Mr. Blanchard,

      Why, thank you. I enjoyed writing it in spite of […] as well.

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyes

  12. The subject is fully clear but why does the text lack clarity? But in general your blog is great.

    • Dear Gualetar,

      The clarity is clearly text, but why does your comment lack fully? But in greatness your text is general.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both

  13. У меня у самого есть несколько блогов и поэтому точно скажу, этот блог сделан для людей.

    • Дорогой Awmobile,

      Спасибо за ваш комплимент, друг! Этот blog – для людей очень, и я думаю это вы тоже, и я тоже. Хорошо согласиться с братом от пока далеко.

      Приветствия к Вам, и людям!

      Искренне Ваш,

      -BothEyesShut

      P.S. – an English translation follows.

      (From Awmobile:

      Really, in me there are several [ideas] and therefore accurately I will say, this blog is made for the people.

      My Reply:

      Dear Awmobile,

      Thank you for your compliment, friend! This blog is for the people very much, and I think that so are you, and so am I. It is good to agree with a brother from so far away.

      Cheers to you, and to the people!

      Yours Truly,

      -Both)

  14. I wonder how many aren’t in-tuned to the sincerity of your facetious wit. Maybe they all are. It seems conspicuous enough to me, though, that may be because I know you. I don’t understand what there is to disagree with, idealistically. War is universally a bad thing. I wish the Veterans whom are displeased or disagree with specific points would say what and why. I would be very interested in reading… again, from an idealistic point of view.

    The significance of the idealism is necessary for me on this topic because I believe cross-cultural communication leaves too many misunderstandings misunderstood. Thus, war happens. Similarly: sh!t.

    • Dear Athair,

      Thank you for taking time to read my work. It’s a fine compliment.

      Actually, some very fine, intelligent fellows have here been misled. I prefer to think, however, that they would rather obligingly presume the author of this post too eloquent for sarcasm, rather than think me the crass, caustic writer I actually am.

      I have to admit, though, the bionic shark argument seems heavy-handed enough to remove all doubt as to my lack of sincerity, doesn’t it? Ha ha!

      Yours Truly,

      -BothEyes

  15. I can agree or disagree, this is not the point. I just listen to someone else’s perspective and it brings to light another perspective of myself. Your blog is elegantly written and pushes the reader out of the comfort zone and social consensus. Thank you, it’s refreshing.

    Steve

    • Dear Steve,

      Thank you for taking time to say such nice things about my writing. It’s very cordial of you.

      Conversationalists often feel compelled to mention whether they agree or disagree with every point brought to the table, and I, for one, find this mode of talk extremely boring. It is not unlike the inevitable moment after having seen a film at the cinema with friends, when everyone turns to the person walking beside him or her and asks, “Did you like it?”

      I believe that the purpose of art is to elicit emotion, to educate, or to entertain. To use art, whether written, visual, or otherwise, as a sounding board from which to describe to others what one likes or doesn’t like, agrees or disagrees with, seems terribly pedestrian. The ability to judge a piece solely on its artistic merit, without feeling obligated to articulate one’s own point of view, strikes me as classy, and debonair.

      It is a skill I shall have to cultivate sometime.

      Thanks for taking time, Sir.

      Yours Truly,

      -Both


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