War, what is it good for?

Like a lot of boys, well kids, I played with toy soldiers (green and grey plastic army men), cowboys and Indians and had toy guns. I had a lot of toy guns haha. I also had GI joes, stars wars toys, He-Man and matchbox cars.

I even had a little posse of mates called the Rat Pack. I was the leader, of course my house my guns my rules dammit!!

I called myself Sergeant Jake Junglerat haha.

My right hand man was Corporal Hicks.

Then there was:

Private Hawkins

Mad Max

and Stomper who later became Duke Bazooka (long story)

We camped out and shot at invisible bad guys.

So as you can see I took playing army very seriously.

Then one evening my Dad allowed me to watch Platoon to teach me that War was hell.

Dont get me wrong he was fine with me playing War but as I grew older he felt it was important to teach me what War really was/is.

It was a good lesson and good for me to have my eyes opened.

Since then I’ve always been intrigued by War and with our long history of it. I’m particularly fascinated with the US Civil war and WW1 and 2.

You may call it a contradiction but even though I enjoy reading about war and watching documentaries on War I struggle to see why, especially in this day and age, we resort to war/violence. It’s an age old discussion of course but one I find I debate in my own head on a regular basis.

I don’t pretend to have the answers as to why we go to war and why we shouldn’t but some of the questions I raise in my own head are…

Is revenge good for anyone?

To me the simple answer is no it’s not. Then I bring it down to a more personal level and I think well yes it is. Maybe?? For instance I teach my kids that if someone hits them they should hit them back. If they run to the teacher nothing is resolved and the bullying continues. It’s what I was taught and I took it quite seriously. Looking back I see that it worked a treat. Also if someone hurt my family I would unleash hell.

After 911 the “dreamer/hippy” part of my brain thought instead of going to Afghanistan and blowing the place up maybe we should talk to them and say hey what the shit? Why did you do that to so many innocent people? However two very key things come to mind. 1. I didn’t lose anyone in 911 so who am I to say what’s right? 2. You can’t talk reason with fanatical or crazy.

Is it better to strike first before they do?

Now I don’t know too much about what’s going on with North Korea and the US. I only know what the “western world” media tells me. In my uneducated opinion I think two bullies rubbing each other up the wrong way will result in certain doom. In a way, a very sad way, it comes down to which bully should we side with?

Again, on a personal level, if someone was about to hurt my family I would unleash hell. So better to strike first yeah? However, what if I got it wrong and I hurt someone really bad and went to prison. Gulp. I’m too pretty for prison haha.

Is it our duty to get involved in someone else’s problems?

This is an interesting one because I am very much the type of person to go to someone’s aid. Be it a flat tyre or someone who has just been pistol whipped and robbed, that’s a story for another time.  I think people don’t get involved enough to be honest. How many times do we hear about someone being victimised on public transport and onlookers just video it on their phones?! I can understand why some people would be too frail, too young and even too scared but when NO ONE does anything it leaves me scratching my head and kind of pissed off.

So what about on a bigger scale? If genocide is happening should we send in troops to help? If a country believes women should be stoned to death for having an affair should be get involved.

I think yes to both but then what about cultural differences? Would I want another country coming to my home and telling me it’s wrong to not believe in God and then punish me? No.

All these thoughts go through my head and I always end up coming to the following conclusions.

1. I will protect my family, my home and my country from threat.

2. I will always help anyone one in need. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re from.

3. War is hell but will always be a part of life and maybe, sometimes and sadly, it is the only answer.

4. War, what is it good for? Bringing my mates round for drinks and chips and a chance to play tabletop war games. 😉

I wrote this little poem a few years back…

Im just a man who does what he can

I make mistakes and I get things right

Im a dreamer and a lover but I know how to fight

I watch the children play and hope they never see

The six o’clock news and the global misery

I’m just a man who does what he can

Somethings in life I  will never quite understand



43 thoughts on “War, what is it good for?”

  1. Thoughtful post, but on a level that really works better for me in a face to face discussion rather than a small reply in the comments section of a blog. I do agree with very much of what you say and think, though I have different perspectives on a little bit of it as well. Not trying to be cryptic, but as I said, difficult to discuss in depth via some blog comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For your kids, the answer IS to tell the teacher and not retaliate. Do this a few times, like 3-4 times – then once they’ve essentially built up a record of doing the right thing, THEN they should retaliate. This builds them a case that helps them all the way up the food chain from their teachers to the principal to the other kids’ parents complaining to the school and means your guys are far less likely to be suspended, etc for fighting all the time, which is what will happen if they immediately retaliate and puts more pressure on the other kid.

    Retaliate immediately and it’s “he said, she said” as to “who started it” and both kids end up equally in the shit.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. UGH. Do not even get me started on US politics. Let me just say that most Americans are horrified at the thought of going to war with North Korea. The fact that our president and their president are sizing each other up and trying to see who’s bat shit craziest is nauseating.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. They can keep battling over Twitter so long as they keep their dirty fingers away from the nuclear buttons. (Even though it of course makes our country look horrible.) I don’t even know how to feel about this meeting between them that is supposed to happen. Obviously I hope for the best but I don’t have much confidence in them.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great sentiments and I fully understand the internal contradiction as it something I struggle with at times to.

    Sadly I have watched two mates die, one on the battlefield and one from a terrible disease in their hospital bed. Both were such futile losses.

    It has taught me to savor the moment and if that moment is gaming with your mates then savor it with gusto.

    One day my wife came into the games room and commented that we didn’t seem to have done much gaming when one of my mates quipped “Friday night gaming is just the excuse to get together with life long friends, have some fun, drink some grog, and talk BS”.

    I love those moments.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Very intriguing and thoughtful post! It often crosses my mind that “playing” wargames is contradictory to the nature of war, beeing a terrible affair,…who would want to play “killing people”..but on the tabletop it’s just a disguise for a conflict settled with artfully crafted miniatures,..and hey^^ chess is a wargame,too! Don’t think those pieces are just pushing each other from the grid….well,.. too early to get my writing aligned to my thoughts! haha

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Bit of a can of worms there IRO. Overall I’m with Azazel on this one. I have a lot to say but I’d be here all day typing and still wouldn’t cover it all. When you’ve finished work pop round and we’ll have a few beers! The answer to your question lies in the second line of the song … “absolutely nothing!”. If it were up to me I would introduce Rollerball (remember the film with James Caan?) only the participants would be the politicians. Easy to be tough behind a desk or a keyboard. Some wars I get. No choice but to fight the nutters like Hitler and slavery had to go too but others are just politicians egos for which young men, and women too now, die. With a population of 7 billion and natural resources running out more war seems enevitable thoigh unfortunately. Family and kids is a slightly different matter and you fight to protect your own. Has always been that way and always will be. There is more than one way to fight though.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Phew, that’s a big set of subjects there mate! I suppose we’re evolved to be aggressive in defence of ‘the tribe’ for good reason – war is really a question of scale in defining ones tribe (family, neighbourhood, footy team, county, state, country, ‘the West’, Islam, etc etc!) As with many things, it’s a case of advantageous evolutionary traits not working so well at the scale necessary in the modern world. As for people not helping – look into ‘bystander theory’ for an explanation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well said Alex. It’s a complex issue and one I don’t think I’ll really have any final conclusions with but I think it’s good to assess and re-assess my thoughts on big subjects. I’ll look up bystander theory.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahah ahahaha. Well I did punch a few people at school and I have absolutely no regrets about it! If I saw them again, some twenty years later, I wouldn’t punch them but I’d remind them that I did punch them. I know this makes me sound like an arsehole but they were bigger arseholes. Bullies of the worse kind.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I can see you points, do I agree with all of them.. well no, but most I do.

    I think it’s a great shame that real wars can’t be resolved around a table with some snacks , dice and little toy soldiers.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Very thought-provoking post. 🙂 I like the poem you included at the end.
    You’re so right about how so many people just turn a blind eye when they see someone being victimized. It brought to mind how many times I’ve heard as a woman that if someone were to assault you, yell “FIRE!” instead of “Rape!” because people are more likely to come running if they think there is a fire than they would be to get involved in a struggle like sexual assault. It’s sickening, and what that says about our society is just sad all the way around. People should be lifting each other up and helping one another instead of hurting and tearing one another down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Too true Miss Moth. I remember a teacher telling me the fire/rape thing and I was astonished. The only reason I wouldn’t go running would be if someone shouted “free celery”. Otherwise I’d help anyone in any kind of bad situation.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Nice thoughts man. What gets me is our governments tell us there is no money for education, health and social care but we can spend a million pounds a missile blowing peoples houses up halfway round the globe. I get that we need defence, and that some wars are necessary, but when people are sent to fight and die for ego and politics that is unacceptable by any standard.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Whew, that’s a deep one! Your Dad is lucky that watching Platoon didn’t back fire. Or maybe it did? Sometimes when you try to point out how wrong something is, it has the opposite effect and kids will think it’s “cool!”. I’m actually struggling with that a lot with our toddler right now, she seems to want to do the exact opposite of anything we want her to. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think it was Frankie Goes To Hollywood that sang, “When Two Tribes Go To War – One Is All You Can Score”. Very thought provoking, IRO

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting, and a lot to respond to if I tried. I am very lucky not to have had my country devolve into war as Syria has, and but for the grace of God any of us could have been born there instead of here. I would respond to say as regards your comment I have copied below, the instinct to help is correct (though it must be weighed up as to what the actual result of intervention would be) but don’t fall into the trap of postmodernism/relativism. For those of us who believe in morality whether secular or religious we should have the courage to apply that universally (though I am aware it goes both ways).

    “I think yes to both but then what about cultural differences? Would I want another country coming to my home and telling me it’s wrong to not believe in God and then punish me? No.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thoughtful post. Agree with above this comments section is not a great venue to solve differences. I still believe the (I believe) Clausewitzian adage, “war is politics as by other means”. Also, only the dead have seen the end of war.

    As a USMA graduate, I have a different perspective perhaps. Still, liberty and freedom are by no means free.

    Best, Mark

    Liked by 1 person

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