Why Do We Have Wars?

An imaginary letter from a ‘child martyr’ of the Syrian civil war.

“Look around me, everything is destroyed. My world is gone forever. My girlfriend and I have built a makeshift fireplace. I am gathering wood so we don’t freeze tonight. I do not know where my family is, they’re all gone. We’re alone and hungry. We’re not scared for there is nothing left to be scared about! No one is around to share anything with us. Why is this happening? It looks like it’s the end of the world. Why did people do this to us? What did we do to deserve this? There’s no one here to help us. I am too frightened and weak; we don’t know what to do, please someone help us.” – The Syrian girl with no name

Aren’t you sick of all these never ending wars? Why are we all immune to the bigotry spewed from the mouths of our hypocritical leaders? Why are the innocents and the weak always the fodder of war, why do we all stand idly while the war mongers get richer and more powerful? I wonder when will all this madness stop? I know it will once we all stand up and organize against the injustice and stop believing in all the lies that demean us and humiliate our fellow humans.

To set the tone of this blog on the ominous state of world affairs, I would like to start with a great quote by Ken O’Keefe, a former US Marine turned anti-war campaigner; “Psychopaths are running the world. All of these players, these politicians are nothing more than puppets, they don’t serve the people there is no real democracy, they serve the rich and powerful who run the world and that would be the bankers (financial elite) who control the money supply. The bankers make huge amounts of money, wars are great for them and ultimately they control the politicians.” Ken’s powerful indictment of this “crisis of endless wars” and its alleged perpetrators is most damaging by the simplicity of it’s language and economy of its words. It’s like poetry worthy of an enlightened fighter, who needs no swords for he has the Poet’s steel nib in his hand.

I have spent the last 30 years (since operation Desert Storm) mystified by all the ongoing conflicts that we and other nations are continuously engaged in. But we are brought up to believe that western democracy is different from other political systems, an exception in the world, uniquely moral; that we expand into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy. But if we were to look a little closer to history we know that this is not entirely true. How did our leaders usurp the right to wage war, and to do it against the common decency of our enlightened nations. How could this happen to the most advanced nations in the world? It is because we were lied to. Our good leaders are gone, the adults that help built the great western democracies are no longer minding our collective store.  Or as Gore Vidal once sardonically wrote: The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country and we haven’t seen them since.”


“Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war. Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It’s the industry of death.” – Pope Francis

So who do we believe?

The main reason that politicians are able to get away with all their lies and deceits is thanks to their deliberate use of Newspeak to communicate falsehoods to their gullible audience and thanks to all their media henchmen who help propagate their messages. It doesn’t matter who one listens to anymore, for most of our leaders here and abroad use Newspeak, a word Orwell coined to describe a political language used by politicians when they want to prevent people from knowing or thinking about the truth. Newspeak is responsible for words like “collateral damage”, “heightened interrogation techniques”, and many other words that are deliberately vague and bland to stop you from really thinking about what is really happening. This practice is ubiquitous, and no one takes notice, or even cares to dig enough below the surface to find out what is really being said, except investigative journalists, and we all know this is not an envied profession these days. If there is are any champions of truth and justice nowadays it is those courageous investigative, journalists, thinkers and humanists that act as a bulwark against all the Machiavellian machinations of the masters of the universe.

Why don’t we question what we’ve been told?

As Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “Convictions are more enemies of truth than lies, here the ways of men divide. If you wish to strive for happiness, then believe. If you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.” And since our mantra is the pursuit of happiness at any cost, the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of our freedoms and our environment, why should we take the trouble of inquiring when believing what we’re told is the easiest, and least upsetting way out. Why should we make it harder on ourselves, isn’t the world a tough enough place to live as it is? Which brings me to my last point; Chris Hedges could not have said it any better when he wrote: “Our country is divided. On one side is a minority that lives in a literate world, able to discern deception from truth. On the other is a detached majority, coasting on the distractions of celebrity, spectacle and simplistic thinking.”

Taking heed of Mr Hedges, the real question one should ask oneself (and in all honesty is); am I a part of the majority, or part of the minority?


“To understand the nature of the present war – for in spite of the regrouping which occurs every few years, it is always the same war – one must realize in the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive.” – George Orwell

Going to war should be our last resort.

I am startled at why so many decent people nowadays have lost their interest in questioning the legitimacy of some of the wars our leaders wage, and why we allow those in power to send our men and women to fight and sometimes die in them. War solves no fundamental problems and only leads to more wars. The entire world’s war economy and costly military systems are unsustainable, plus many western democracies are racking up economic deficits that are caused by war appropriations that they will never repay. War poisons the minds of soldiers, leads them to kill and torture, and poisons the soul of the nation. With millions of our citizens living in poverty or “near poverty” and a permanent underclass trapped by real unemployment, we must be vocal in our support and take popular action to prevent the weak among us from being further impoverished. There is ample tinder for internal combustion, if we do not undertake a dramatic reversal soon.

In a recent message about the reality of war the Dalai Lama had this to say; “War and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.” No one can deny the truth in what’s being said here, the Dalai’s message, coming from an individual of his stature and authority should be enough to convince even the most hardened war enthusiast of the very real and true meaning and consequences of war and aggression.

I would like to wrap up on a positive note with this famous statement by Nobel Laureates on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Nobel Prize released on December 11, 2001.


The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world’s dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most. Their situation will be desperate, and manifestly unjust.

It cannot be expected, therefore, that in all cases they will be content to await the beneficence of the rich. If, then, we permit the devastating power of modern weaponry to spread through this combustible human landscape, we invite a conflagration that can engulf both rich and poor. The only hope for the future lies in co-operative international action, legitimized by democracy.

It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead we must persist in the quest for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world.

These twin goals will constitute vital components of stability as we move toward the wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope of peace.

Some of the needed legal instruments are already at hand, such as the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the Convention on Climate Change, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START), and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As concerned citizens we urge all governments to commit to these goals which constitute steps on the way to the replacement of war by law.

To survive in the world we have transformed we must learn to think in a new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all.

Featured Image: Image by Welcome to All ! ツ from Pixabay
Featured Image: Syrian Girl Photograph Courtesy: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty
Why do We have Wars? Photograph Courtesy of h/t flash at The Burning Platform
Why do We have Wars? Photograph Courtesy Gransnet Forums

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