There’s mad and then there’s mad. And the latter, more in tune with the second graphic than the first, is very sexist, very chauvinistic, very macho, and very deadly. It is the madness that begets war upon war upon minor skirmish  upon police action upon humanitarian intervention upon air strike upon incursion upon boots on the ground upon strategic drone strikes and, most of all, upon the bodies of millions…indeed hundreds of millions….victims of this mentality.

This madness has inhabited men since time immemorial and its rancid legacy pervades the pages of our history books and perverts our national character and falsifies our self-image as a people.

The us I speak of is a collective of all the nations, all the religions, all the ethnic groups and any other formal or informal collaborations or subsets of human groupings that have ever acted as a single entity to spread violence and mayhem and spill blood and guts that uglify our planet’s natural beauty and warps and burns and crumbles the wood and glass and steel and bricks and mortar or even simple earth that form the constructs of great architects and simple tribesmen alike.

The only admirable residue of these infernal conflicts are the quotes that survive telling us how terrible war is but which have absolutely no influence or preventative or deterrent effect when another opportunity to fire when you see the whites of their eyes the quality of their oil or diamonds or gold or the vastness of their lands.

War is Hell–Sherman… War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men–Eisenhower… There was never a good war, or a bad peace–Franklin

I castigate the men who direct these actions but recognize that there are ample numbers of women capable of just as much disregard for the value and sanctity of human life as does any common serial killer.

Names such as Cleopatra and Catherine The Great and Margaret Thatcher come trippingly to the tongue as examples of distaff war mongers with the power to execute their blood lusts (and famously, on occasion, their carnal lusts, too).  But what about Queen Artemisia of Caria; Fu Hao; sisters Trung Trac and Trung Nhi; Boudicca; Joan of Arc; Laskarina Bouboulina; Juana Azurduy; Lakshmibai; Yaa Asantewaa; or Marina Raskova?

They are the 10 Hardcore Female Military Leaders From History  cited by Dan Wohl here.

Outnumbered to be sure by the Alexander The Greats, and Julius Caesars, and Hannibals, and our more modern versions of bellicose men like Lee and Grant and Sherman, and Kaisers, Fuehrers, Il Duces and Bushes more familiar to us in America.

Yet, by and large the fulminations of hostility and promulgations of justification for hostility reside in the psyches of men and the death wishes for the faceless enemy are carried out by men though women, not to mention children, the elderly, and any manner of bystander yield their lives to the inevitabilities of collateral damage and direct criminal mayhem that befall them due to their presence at the wrong place at the very worst of wrong times.

“But”, I hear the unconscientious objectors to this diatribe declare, “wars are just and wars are righteous and wars are for great causes”, all rationalizations adopted by one or more of the participants in any conflict. The maintenance of these rationalizations is often a mere cloak for the motivations of power and greed.

And before another objection is raised that I seem to be coating our proud troops or the rank and file Centurians and Mongols and Huns of the past with the patina of the immoral and wanton, let me remind you of my openly expressed admiration for some of this nation’s “heroes” here. And I’ve also explored the ultimate sacrifice here.

Is war natural? Is it a part of any man, whether he is aware of it or not. Is he prone to be at war regardless of clas or race or wealth or station in life? I would like to think not and evidence of this may lie in the fact that, before marching off to destroy lives in the flesh, they are subject to the indoctrination of dehumanizing their opponents to make the destruction of flesh more palatable.

Jap, Gook, Chink, Kraut, Camel Jockey, Redskin, Savage, Slope and many more epithets and pejorations are used to make firing that bullet between the eyes so much easier as are the terms used by the nationalities or groups identified as such in return. I’m sure the Macedonians employed like terms for their enemies and it’s simple to envision the Spartans doing likewise and the Crusaders were the original Islamaphobes.

This madness infuriates me. It enrages me. I employ my own set of epithets  to describe these Mad Men.

Would that they had ears to hear and sanity to understand.

p.s. As I was composing this Foo Fighters were on Letterman performing Black Sabbath’s War Pigs

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  • toadsly  On October 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Great post. But we are a violent species, and warfare is in our genes. Will that ever change? I doubt it. Though, love is patient, love is kind…love never fails.

    • Devildog  On October 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Lucky you!

  • Little_Minx  On October 14, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Testosterone poisoning.

  • MiniMe  On October 28, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    I would dispute you in the main based on the quotes you listed. One merely has to look at Chamberlain’s capitulation to see that there is such a thing as a bad peace. Moreover, to look at the great philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer, there comes a time when violence must be used. THis is not to say our recent application of the sword to any conflict is optimal. Indeed it is sub-optimal bordering on insanely bloodthirsty.

    We seem to go to war on moral ambiguities rather than moral certainties. While moral certainties are hard to find, they do exist. The problem is not the exercise of power but the reactive as opposed to circumspect application of force. Getting back to Bonhoeffer, even when he found a moral certainty, he was well aware this may not be shared by many. In this, the democratic process should be capable of guiding our national resolve. To be sure, we have reduced our morality to “We good, you bad”. In this atmosphere we are destined to have war after unending war amen.

    Can the dialog for morality be created? I’m not sure, but without an attempt we are in a temporal hell with no real escape.

    • umoc193  On October 28, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      You’re mistaking the rationale for initiating wars like Iraq with defending against horrors like Hitler. In the Iraq case it’s army was legitimately defending against alien invaders just as did Europeans in the WW II Nazi onslaught. But in both cases prior to the onstart of aggression there was peace, however uneasy.

      Do you really believe either war, or any other ever, was good?

      • MiniMe  On October 29, 2014 at 1:10 AM

        I would argue defending against invasion is as much open to moral judgement as going to war. I see no real quantitative difference. I suppose you think the Slovak people abandoned by Chamberlain felt empowered by that expression of peace? SO is it really true there is no such thing as a bad peace? Was the peace bought by two nuclear bombs at the end of WW II really peace or were so many dead merely a capitulation to the ultimate expression of racism?

  • Devildog  On October 28, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Well, I suppose we could have negotiated Commonwealth status albeit many years later.

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