Americans need to remember that war is the worst thing in the world. War is hell. War is this blood-spattered little girl screaming because her parents have just been shot dead by mistake at a checkpoint. War represents the complete defeat of the human spirit. Wars must never be fought unless absolutely necessary. Never. Never.
We need to remember this. For America’s wars have become weightless. They are fought by other people’s children, or by mercenaries, or by functionaries sitting inside mountains pushing buttons that launch missiles. They are no longer real. The way the Iraq War is ending, not with a bang but a barely audible whimper, is the way we make war now. The line between war and peace has disappeared. We are in a permanent state of quasi-war.
This is spiritually deadening. It is also dangerous. The unbearable lightness of war allows ideologues and fools to kill casually in our national name, without anyone paying attention. Since Iraq never happened, another Iraq is possible. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Photo by Chris Hondros (1970-2011): TAL AFAR, IRAQ – JANUARY 18, 2005: An Iraqi girl screams after her parents were killed when U.S. Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division out of Ft. Lewis, Washington, fired on their car when it failed to stop and came toward soldiers, despite warning shots, during a dusk patrol January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. The car held an Iraqi family of which the mother and father were killed. According to the U.S. Army, six children in the in the car survived, one with a non-life threatening flesh wound. U.S. military said they are is investigating the incident.