Friday, 23 February 2018

Why aren't Wars Run Properly?

Watching the latest set of horrors unfold in Syria and the way it is reported I’m intrigued by how people view warfare in modern times. In the various Geneva Conventions worthy attempts were made to protect POWs and civilians from the worst excesses but they are only attempts and don’t always succeed in the ghastly chaos of war. One gets the impression now that when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear over the horizon we expect them to wage the best possible war they can wage, to have stickers on the rumps of their horses saying, “How do you like my conduct of the war?” to adhere to the highest possible European industry standards and, as they quit the battlefield, to distribute feedback forms asking observers to put ticks against smiley faces if they feel the combatants have lived up to expectations. If anyone falls short of ‘the standards we deserve in the 21st century’ or if anyone’s rights were infringed we expect a public inquiry at the very least. Why, oh why can’t carnage and mayhem conform to the rules of etiquette we drew up so carefully in advance of such eventualities? Why don’t combatants take notice of our fussy attempts to control and micro-manage reality, keeping it within ‘safe’ bounds? Why isn’t War better behaved? Can it be that our precious mental exertions aren’t THAT important in these situations?

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