Observations of an ordinary man

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Remembrance Day 2014

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Well, Remembrance Day is here again and the world still fails to learn from the past. The “traditional” war seems a thing of the past and we are now gripped by terror attacks from the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram. I think we have very short memories. I’m not sure there has ever been a traditional war. In biblical times, populations were wiped out, man woman and child, very much what ISIS is doing to those that don’t share their theology. The Vikings raided, raped and pillaged. The Romans conducted wholesale slaughter to subdue and annex a nation and even they met with different types of war when they met the Scots. Napoleon has similar issues when encountering the guerrilla tactics of the Spanish. WWI introduced us to the massive casualties associated with artillery and trench warfare. WWII took that up a notch with the advent of aerial bombing and developed a bomb that destroyed entire cities. Now it is possible to conduct a war sitting in another country controlling unmanned drones dropping bomb on an enemy half a world away.

I don’t think there is such a thing as traditional warfare, and I don’t think there ever was. We accuse the aggressors of  using unfair and evil tactics if their ideology disagrees with ours. If they do agree with ours then we can justify any tactic that achieves the desired goals. In every war thousands die, men, women, children, sons, daughters, mother and fathers. War is an atrocity, plain and simple. It’s ugly, cruel and selfish. It brings out the worst in people. What sane person should ever be cheering for the death of another just because we don’t like the way they think? War is nothing to be glorified. It is something to be avoided and shunned.

But every war is fought by people that believe in their cause, be it the aggressor or the defender. Today is a day to put aside the who was right and and who was wrong. Today is the day that we remember those that fought and paid the ultimate price in defending us. A day to reflect. I’m sure the people on the other side also have their day to reflect. Maybe one day we will be able to see their side and they ours and we can look forward to a future where people don’t need to die just because we disagree with each other

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