Saturday, August 12, 2006

Wars Again

Back to wars again. Too much watching late-night TV news--it's on my mind. I'll bet I'm not the only one watching the news, shaking my head, trying to grasp what goes on in some people's heads.

My husband and I ended up philosophizing about war till after midnight. Whether Israel's invasion of Lebanon really qualifies as a war (more of a rampage, really, the point being destruction more than anything else), whether the "war on terror" is really a war or just an insane publicity stunt or maybe modernism's last gasp, unable to even comprehend its own death. Whether al Quaeda suiciders really believe in dying for a cause or whether they have their own reasons for not wanting to live anymore when they sign up to blow up planes.

We decided that war is a dumb word for it. We should just call it violence. War seems to legitimize these exercises. People should stop using that word -- it's so... twentieth century.

We also talked about the root causes of war. There may have been a time when war was war, armies marching under orders of a king, quarrels over territories and flags, one team against another team. But postmodern wars are not like those. Postmodern wars have causes very specific to our times. Here they are IOHO:

  1. Overpopulation: This planet cannot hold more than 1 billion people. We have six times that amount. This has to lead to violence.
  2. Environmental degradation: An inevitable by-product of overpopulation -- like bacteria in a test tube, we pollute ourselves.
  3. Corporations: Organizations with rights but no responsibilities, artificial humans whose "human" status cannot currently be revoked, and who therefore act with complete disregard for anything but themselves. Corporations are making a sorry mess of the planet.
  4. Unemployment: As a byproduct of all three of the above. Idle hands are hands of the devil.
  5. Oil: And the lack thereof.
But since you can't kill any of these with a gun or a bomb, we instead turn to the nearest people to blame and kill them. Someone has to be blamed (i.e., the global poor equate oil demands and corporate greed with the United States, hence their hatred of Americans).

But this is not war -- not one team versus another team. It's a global howling.


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