Why War Is Stupid: Part Deux

7 Oct

Why War Is Stupid: Part Deux


During Desert Storm, the first war in Iraq, a student in my class raised his hand and asked me a question.

“Hey, Mr. Picone, did you see that general on TV who was showing the video where a cruise missile tracks down an Iraqi truck and blows it up right there on a bridge?”

“Yes, I replied. I did.”

“Well, continued the student, how much do you think that old Iraqi truck was worth?”

“Oh about 20 to 30 thousand dollars,” I guessed

“And that bomb with the camera inside that tracked it down and blew it up. That cost a few hundred million didn’t it?”

“Yes, I think you’re right.” I said.

“So my question is, said the student who was about to give me something very interesting to think about, If our country is Spending 200 million dollars to blow up a 20,000 dollar truck how long can we keep that up before going broke?”

He asked me that question in 1992 and although I had no answer for him then, apparently my answer should have been, “Oh, I’d say about 16 years!” War is stupid because eventually we all go broke. You can bet money on it! Just ask Egypt and Greece and Rome and Persia and Spain and England and France and the Soviet Union and…US.!

All civilizations eventually either spend all of their money on feeding the wealthy’s appetite for more wealth or on war, neither of which is an ingredient in any recipe for the prosperity and growth of a civilization and its people. Education however, no matter how expensive it may be for a civilization’s inhabitants to fund, sustain and expand never leads to the end of anyone’s civilization. When will we ever learn that?


7 Responses to “Why War Is Stupid: Part Deux”

  1. trinward October 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Excellent column. I would recommend a book called “Why Peace” as an overview of 78 writers speaking out on this very topic, ranging from POW survivors o former generals to ex-Pentagon officials to ordinary folks from all over the world. I copy-edited and did production on the book, and have an essay of my own in it as well. Why Peace: http://www.Why-Peace.com

    • gpicone October 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      Sounds great! Thanks, I will check it out.

  2. momshieb October 8, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Very well said! When WILL we ever learn?

  3. exladyprof October 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Bravo! Just Bravo!

  4. missriete October 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Right from my heart!! Excellent!

  5. Karron October 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    War may be stupid, but it has always been part of mankind. From the early cave dwellers right up to our era, war is part of what men do. Even football is a form of war, and people get on both sides of the teams (warriors), form up and support them (fan shirts, doo dads, and geegaws that proclaim their undying affiliation with a certain team). The two teams go to war on a field of battle, for the honor of hanging on to a pigskin football. Men get hurt, trampled, and throw out of the battle, while the crowd cheers and screams in support. Heck, even the spectators get into it sometimes (political damage control). At the end of the war, one team wins, and then goes on to fight another battle the next weekend. Why? Oh we call it sports, but is it really any different than the Roman gladiators? Except men don’t die, generally, while playing sports. Generally.

    Because like all creatures, mankind is territorial, wants to protect what is theirs, and wants to be seen as strong and powerful. When two powerful people run into each other, neither one wants to give up what he or she has, or show weakness. A fight ensues, a battle follows and before you know it, there is war. The exception to that is when people are being killed for no reason other than someone wants to kill them. Polpot, Saddam, Hitler, Napoleon, history is filled with folks who were brutal killers of innocent people. Those madmen needed to die. The only way to stop them was to kill them. And that can and does take warfare as they tend to surround themselves with armies. (I freely admit, I cheered when Saddam and bin Laden were killed. Wish it would have happened earlier.)

    I come form a family of warriors. In every conflict since the Revolutionary war, men and women in my family have fought to protect the freedom of our country and Constitution. Today my nephew is a Captain in the US Army, his brother is an Army Chaplin. My grandson is a US Marine. My son, brother, uncles, father, and cousins have all served in the military. Without them, without the might the United States USED to have – deminished by our current cowardly president, we would all be speaking a much different language than we do now.

    War is genetically encoded into our genes. Peace would be wonderful, but until mankind is willing to let others have dominion over them forever, war is inevitable.

    • gpicone October 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      May I ask what the president has done to have you consider him to be a coward?

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