War or Peace
It is estimated that over 1 billion people have perished, in combat since the dawn of time (Hedges). War has been an ongoing theme, for the majority of recorded history and although most have preconceived notions on the ethicality of military pursuits, most lack knowledge of the irrational calculations that lurk behind the scope. As of right now, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and several other countries are in the midst of calamitous armed conflict. Human beings are being slaughtered at an exponential rate, like never before; the innocent, the guilty, the frightened, and everything in between, now fill shallow graves instead of fulfilling dreams.
We must learn to communicate as a society, to protect the lives of humanity, as well as the fate of our planet. This being said, War and worldwide disputes are unethical and lead to more division and destruction. To begin, although some argue the theoretical proposition of Social Darwinism, to justify the mass genocides that war produces, War affects more than just the human race. According to Catherine Lutz, a professor on war and its impact, “One of our first sensibilities to be discarded in war, is the protection of the environment” (Grant). Wars grotesque consequences include more than just human lives, ecosystems everywhere are being demolished at an alarming rate.
Military weapons, machinery, and explosives have caused unprecedented levels of deforestation and habitat destruction. This has resulted in a serious disruption of ecosystem services, including erosion control, water quality, and food production (Hedges). Not only this, but our world’s biodiversity, the amount of species in a given region, is now threatened–along with hundreds of beloved animals. During Mozambique’s bloody civil war for example, giraffe and elephant herds shrunk by over 90%, due to the fact that they were caught in the crossfire (Grant). Not to mention, the impact nuclear wars have on our planet’s makeup, is detrimental. When a nuclear bomb is detonated, the 1 megaton blast kills everything in a two mile radius.
The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic devastation in 1945 provide insight into thermonuclear detonation and how it affects the atmosphere. From the one atomic bomb, multiple bodys of water became contaminated, and forests mutated, which inevitably poisoned essential wildlife both above and below the surface. The argument that natural selection justifies the murder of any living thing, is simply preposterous. The environment isn’t being demolished because it is too weak to survive, but rather humanity is too naive to recognize that conflict goes beyond our own blood. We must acknowledge the fact that were are contributing to our own demise by dismissing the environments’.
It is also argued that war leads to cooperation within a society, however, in actuality, war causes unnecessary hatred and desensitizes a society. A good or not so good example of this, is child soldiers. As of right now, there are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers serving in over 20 different countries (summerfield).Children throughout the world are forced to fight on the front lines in battle, participate in suicide missions, act as spies, messengers, lookouts, or are even sold into sexual slavery. Often times these innocent kids are abducted, recruited with no choice, or join out of desperation, in search of survival.
It is disheartening to think of children being desensitized to a point where they choose to kill, however, this is the devastating reality of the modern world. Armed conflict unfortunately doesn’t solely desensitize people, but it harvests hatred–creating division with no purpose.Although the influence war has on a society isn’t always the focal point of news articles, the subliminal messaging of despising others is an important and devastating epidemic. Victims of war are often vengeful because of their “traumatisation” or “brutalisation” and promote new cycles of violence (summerfield).Meaning, because of the desensitization people experience from being surrounded by conflict, violence is romanticized and trickles down to further generations. Not only this, but hatred is also promoted, in battle as a motivating factor to kill the enemy.
Regardless of whether hatred yields cooperation in and outside of a society, promoting unnecessary violence to humanity creates a foundation of inevitable failure. Thus, another reason why war is damaging to our fragile society. Another reason why war is unacceptable, is that it creates a noticeable deficit and negatively impacts the United States economy.In a 2015 study, the New York Times concluded that “military spending is projected to account for 54% of all federal discretionary spending” which is a total of around 598 billion dollars (Hedges).War takes up the biggest fraction of the federal budget, to date. The United States spends more on the national defense than China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan combined (Blog).
Granted protecting our civilization is undeniably important, armed conflict is not only robbing us of our lives, but it is robbing us of our hard earned dollars. The real cost however, doesn’t lie in the federal budget, but rather in the quality of life of many american citizens and those affected from war. Military spending diverts resources from productive uses such as: consumption, and investment, which benefit the economy and the lives of many. Imagine a world where education was valued more than military grade weapons, might be challenging, but if we were to focus on intellect, our chances for worldwide peace could be something within grasp. This being said, war not only takes away from the majority of the federal budget, but it takes away from our potential progressive livelihood. The final reason war is unethical and poses a threat to society, is quite frankly the most obvious, war kills.
Despite the Just War Theory, from historical christian theology that justifies murder in combat, the senseless killing of another human being should always be forbidden. War has been playing in the background of our lives, for what seems like an eternity. Death, destruction, and devastation is seen as a deviance in the industrialized world, but in the confines of a battlefield, it is something much different. Even from the perspective of a soldier, savage murder is not taken lightly. In the words of Veteran Dante Sowell, “No matter if a person’s trying to come after you or not, you are still taking another person’s life.
If it’s someone’s son, it’s someone’s father, it’s someone’s friend.”(summerfield). The veteran suicide rate is about 30 people per 100,000 population per year, whereas the civilian rate is 14 (Hedges). Taking the life of another pulsating human being, whether rational or not, comes with an enormous guilt and loss of identity. However, war is built on the construct of death being reasonable.
We must note the fact that the ruthless bloodshed of any being, is morally and ethically wrong. War is psychologically tormenting, and is unecessarly morbid. In sum, war and worldwide disputes are unethical and lead to more division and destruction. Armed conflict contributes to the destruction of our ecosystem, psychological being, economy, and ultimately to the destruction of life as we know it. In past life, famine, decay, and death were social norms. War served the purpose of asserting dominance, whereas now war serves no purpose.
Times have changed and so must we. As a society, we must strive for peace, to create a better life and a life for every individual. Peace is attainable through deferential communication, no longer is it a dream surfing among the stars. Human beings invented war, and human beings should make it obsolete. War, like a disease, can in time be eradicated: and that’s what we must be working to achieve.
Works Cited Blog, Washington’s. “War Is Bad for the Economy .” Global Research , 14 Dec. 2014. Hedges, Chris. “‘What Every Person Should Know About War’.
” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 July 2011. Summerfield, Derek. “Ethics of War.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.
S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Nov. 2012. Grant, Andrea. “The Environmental Consequences of War.” Sierra Club of Canada – How to Be an Activist, 11 June 2015.