Love, War and Journalism

Okay, so just one of those. My schoolwork compels me to write about war. There was a long list of things in particular to take note of, but I'm just going to mull over the subject and meander as I go.

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, war at its base is the practice of sending two large and heavily armed contigents of men at each other to see who comes out on top. Of course, humanity being sophisticated and modern, we have taken it to far greater heights. As of the time of this writing, it involves devious espionage, constantly advancing weaponry, rifles that can kill from miles away, missiles that can kill ten times the people at five times the distance, chemical weapons and the atomic bomb. This is not taking into account the various methods of defeating a country without a moment spent on the battlefield, such as terrorism and the more and more likely prospect of cyber warfare. Modern war is devastating in its efficiency and efficient in its devastation.

There are many reasons countries go to war, all of which are pretty stupid. Most of them, one way or another, boil down to enough hostile sentiments between parties for them to declare war on each other. Sometimes, this is because one side straight-up intends to take over the other; sometimes, it comes down to a simple diplomatic fumble or insult; and unfortunately, most of the time it is caused by good old-fashioned hatred and paranoia. War tends to follow on the heels of chaos; when leaders fall, feelings run high and weapons are readily available, some kind of conflict is inevitable.

Young recruits are persuaded to enlist in armies in two ways: either by abusing their nationalistic pride through propaganda, or by forcibly conscripting them. The effect of propaganda on soldiers and their gradual disillusionment has led to two kinds of outlooks on war that have exhibited themselves throughout the ages: a sweeping, glorious epic, or a grimy, horrific tragedy. Both sides of the view can be seen in wartime literature and poetry; from the larger-than-life struggles of the Spartans at Marathon, to the cheery optimism of the pre-WWI poets, to the darkly matter-of-fact escapades of post-WWI and WWII.

War is a roiling bundle of emotions which is difficult to sum up in a single paragraph, but I'll try anyway. Pride, rage, disappointment, sadness, horror, serenity, revenge, victory, defeat, numbness, death, sympathy, coldness, warmth, friendship, brotherhood, distance, comedy, tragedy, consternation, injustice, finality, love, hatred, and homecoming are all part of war in one way or another. War is an experience. War isn't something a green-nosed kid can cover in his blog thoroughly enough to be worth salt.

That's what I think of war. Hope that's enough to nab a perfect score.