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Thoughts on WAR πŸ”— 1439057917  

The real face of war

I recently watched an interesting Canadian documentary from 1983. Though it is lengthy (coming in at nearly seven hours) I was riveted. I honestly think that if this, (or something like it) were shown widely in the USA, the military would have a serious problem on their hands. Perhaps it is time for an addendum to be made, as it seems that war has not changed too much in the mean-time.

Part 1: The road to total war

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Good introduction to the last century's wars, and how folks thought of them at the time.

Part 2: Anybody's son will do

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I began to get the feeling that had many of my classmates seen this after we took the ASVAB, none of them would have joined. Military training, like public schooling, is simple operant conditioning -- but bent towards a different purpose. In public school, the purpose of conditioning is to make you a good little slave, and fill your head with lies about how the system works. However, it is not terribly effectual, as the primary purpose is actually to keep the kids out of the way while the adults work.

In the more extreme case of boot camp, the purpose is to turn you into a hardened killer temporarily; and into a person who will follow orders from "higher authority" (which we see what that is next chapter) unquestioningly.

Part 3: The Profession of War

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The job of the officer corps is made quite clear herein. The nature of modern war makes success and failure (and hence life and death) largely a matter of chance. This would make most rational people see no reason to follow leadership, as they would get the same results just rolling dice. It is rather humorous how closely art imitates life in this regard; success in D&D depends entirely on your equipment and luck.

In any case, such a collapse in discipline is anathema to the whole purpose of a warrior society, so officers are there to invent rationalizations and inspire confidence in the soldiery. However such is but a cruel joke on the soldiery, and the officers know it. They are fully aware of the grim reality; yet like those under them, they too are prisoners of their conditioning. The warrior society is a bizarre sort of Stockholm syndrome -- everyone grimly sets about doing things not a one of them want to do.

Part 4: The deadly game of Nations

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To me, this is the most important part of the series. It made me realize, as I have many times before that it is collectivism, and nothing else, that is the root cause of war. The true "tragedy of the commons" is that everybody has equal right to defend it against non-owners (e.g. other collectives/tribes/nations). It is an inevitability that one (or many) of these owners will be foolish enough to take said defense of their commons too far, which is how all war begins. Once it begins, war proves to be a cancer which is incurable for a civilization; as it either kills the patient when they lose, or enriches it to the point that it's various special interests' lust for conquest becomes insatiatable.

It was also quite informative as to Israel. I remember reading that Prussia was "but an army masquerading as a state" once. I have a feeling that the Israelis feel uncomfortably close to being the same thing; the angst they must feel realizing that peace with the Palestinians is likely only to come with measures NAZIs might have dreamed up must be troubling.

Part 5: Keeping the old game alive: conventional warfare

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Hammers home how woefully useless all the tanks, aircraft carriers and fighter jets would really be if it came to a shooting war with a party that could actually put up a fight. Soldiery is effectively obsolete as a profession, at least when used against nuclear powers.

This is why special ops and covert intelligence currently dominate the relationships between the great powers, and the military is relegated to pushing around those who have no meaningful ability to resist. It would seem that the consensus amongst the nations was to form a few cartels (NATO and SCO/Russia), and divide up the world in lieu of burning it in nuclear fire. They did not reckon on what would happen when they both want to take over some place, however.

Part 6: Notes on nuclear war

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Makes the horror or nuclear war pretty clear, and puts the lie to the notion that conventional warfare would not degenerate into nuclear war. Like most other things that discuss nuclear war, I suspect the fear-button pressing has an ulterior motive, and the next chapter does not disappoint.

Part 7: Goodbye War

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The conclusion of the documentary is that we should have global government as a solution to the risk of global nuclear war. However, the notion that this would stop war is foolish. The governments of the world will not willingly join a global government if it does not give them more power over their citizens; ergo, we must assume that rebellions against the resultant tyranny and slavery will occur quite frequently. There is no guarantee that nukes would not then be used as a tool of oppression rather than as a risk to all human civilization.

Some might consider that something of an improvement, as at least man would survive; but that will be little comfort to those living as slaves of the new world order. The real solution is not to have global collectivism, but to abolish the state and it's militarizes worldwide. Though the documentary said "the most unlikely conclusion must be true", they did not consider private property anarchy as the most "unlikely possibility"; however, they can be forgiven that, as it was not exactly a well known movement in 1983.

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