Definition of War: Sherman¹s Hell
The term ³war² is one that most competent English speaking people are
familiar with, and it is one that most of those same people could
attempt to define. The only problem lies in the definition that one
would receive. War is so complex and multifaceted that it is truly
understood by only a few people. Wars date far back into history, and
they have been fought for more reasons than could be listed. It seems
strange, but untimalely, they are fought for one reason. Freedom has
been the issue of every war since the beginning of time, and whenever
a group of individuals feels that their freedom has been infringed
upon, war is always possibility.
It is only logical that in a war there must be some form of a
protagonist as well as an antagonist, but in many cases it is unclear
who gets which label. The American Civil War is a perfect example. The
South wanted the freedom to make decisions that benefited a largely
agricultural society, and when that freedom was denied they withdrew
from the Union. The Union, on the other hand, viewed the South as a
group of radicals making an attempt to dissolve the unity of states
that their ancestors had worked so hard to create. As a result they
felt their freedom of unity and nationhood had been taken away. It is
difficult to say who was in the right, but when all of the
negotiations had been exhausted, war was the result. In this case
there was no other option because both sides believed in their cause.
Gen. William T. Sherman said ³War is Hell², and that quote has
remained famous because even though simple, it is accurate. American
men spent weeks at a time in rat infested trenches with lice all over
their bodies in both World War One and Two. There are countless
examples of horrible war crimes, biological weapons, napalm strikes,
and of course nuclear weapons. War has claimed millions of lives
throughout history. War is glorified by many, but the people who know
see no glory in it, yet they do it for freedom, and most if asked
would say that they would do it again. In all of these wars, the
soldiers believed they were fighting for their own personal freedom,
or the freedom of some other group of individuals. Had they not
believed this, they would not have risked their lives.
War it a last resort. Generally speaking, people do not like war, and
want to avoid it at all costs. It is believed that a large part of why
America went to Vietnam was for monetary reasons. Companies have to
make all of the ships, helicopters, airplanes, and supplies. As a
result, jobs are created and the economy in stimulated, but the U.S.
government could never tell that to the public. It is very possible
that these were ulterior reasons for the Vietnam war, but the
government simply turned it into an issue of freedom. As a result the
public was told that after trying to make peace with North Vietnam,
the U.S. Navy was continually being assaulted and that there was no
option but to go to war. At that point Americans had the option to
believe that they were involved for noble and acceptable reasons.
Even though freedom of some type is directly related to all major
conflicts, it is not necessarily the freedom of all those involved.
Operation Desert Storm is a good example. Though it was technically
not a war, in had many of the characteristics attributed to war. The
United States was involved because of Iraq¹s blatant disregard for the
freedom of the people of Kuwait. There have been countless arguments
about whether the United States should be the ³policeman² to the
world, but a final decision will never made because there is answer.
War is about freedom. The cynics will tell you that Americans go to
war for ulterior reasons like money, and there may be some truth to
that. The argument has been made Operation Desert Storm would never
have occurred had it not been for oil. It is possible that this is
true, but if it was not for the oil, Kuwait would seem to powerful
countries as much more distant place. The fact is, Kuwait does have
oil, and as a result the U.S. deals with Kuwait on a very close and
personal level. With this kind of relationship, it is only natural
that we would protect Kuwait if their freedom was threatened. War is
painful, bloody, and terrible, but as long as people want freedom, it
will be a way of life.