Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So I've been thinking...

Why does war happen? Specifically, why did WWI and WWII happen?
There are many theories about war motivations. Some are quite compelling. The Youth Bulge theory is one such and warns of the perils of hypergamy and waithood.

Why then do people fight?
The armed forces are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence. The British Army however is considered constitutionally the army of parliament not the monarch, this is a result of the civil war and was affirmed in the 1689 Bill of Rights.

What if there were no Bill of Rights, what if the Army was still directed by the Queen? Would we still have gone to war in Iraq or Afghanistan? Would we have been Allied during WWII, given the German-descent of the Royal lineage?

Also, what makes us a National? If I had to fight for my country, am I protecting my President/Monarch, my land, my traditions and history, my future, my family, my liberty, ...?

If I see another human wearing a differing uniform, with another language spilling from his lips, do I kill him for his potential threat to my life, or for the actual immediate threat? If he has no gun to kill me, but might run back and help win a war that will vastly change my life do I shoot first? Do I engage in gunfire to prevent my demise (which I could have prevented by staying home out of the War), or to prevent the demise of my life/my current living experience? How much of a demise is worth killing others for? A victorious enemy may stop our supply of oil/water/uranium, but how likely that is and how much it affects me, my family, my town, my future, my descendants, is difficult to estimate. But estimate we must - otherwise we engage in battle based on orders/instructions and we must trust those making decisions that they are trying to do the best for me (or for the most if Utilitarian), or for everyone, rather than for themselves.

Surprisingly Wikipedia couldn't provide the list I was seeking, so a helpful website called Akorra.com did so instead. The top 10 longest wars are an interesting read - some are religious in origin, others are about land-greed, empire desires, racism and xenophobia.

Band of Brothers was based on various stories: the Niland brothers, the Sullivan Brothers, etc.
Father Francis Sampson was charged with fetching the 4th Niland brother, Francis 'Fritz' home after his three brothers were KIA. Another brother was later found to be alive in a Japanese POW camp in Burma. See Wiki. The 5 Sullivan Brothers were on a Navy ship and went to war to avenge their sister's beau, Bill's, death. A school was named in their honour in Japan, plus a park on the site of their old home in their home town. After this the US introduced the Sole Survivor Policy and this was copied globally.

Also A.Lincoln's (or maybe his secretary's J.Hay's) letter to Mrs Bixby over the deaths of her five sons (who were fighting for the Confederacy, actually). This missive is read out in a scene from BoB. Unfortunately, the original document has been lost. The belief that Hay wrote the letter is based on the use of 'beguiled' which Lincoln only used once in all his writings/speeches, but Hay used innumerable times.

If you want more information on WWII, I recommend WWII in HD a History Channel series of ten episodes. The first can be found here.

Further there are some other movies for your edification.

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