Definition of War: Sherman¹s Hell
The term ³war² is one that most competent English speaking people are familiar with, and it is one that most of those same people could attempt to define. The only problem lies in the definition that one would receive. War is so complex and multifaceted that it is truly understood by only a few people. Wars date far back into history, and they have been fought for more reasons than could be listed. It seems strange, but untimalely, they are fought for one reason. Freedom has been the issue of every war since the beginning of time, and whenever a group of individuals feels that their freedom has been infringed upon, war is always possibility. It is only logical that in a war there must be some form of a protagonist as well as an antagonist, but in many cases it is unclear who gets which label. The American Civil War is a perfect example. The South wanted the freedom to make decisions that benefited a largely agricultural society, and when that freedom was denied they withdrew from the Union. The Union, on the other hand, viewed the South as a group of radicals making an attempt to dissolve the unity of states that their ancestors had worked so hard to create. As a result they felt their freedom of unity and nationhood had been taken away. It is difficult to say who was in the right, but when all of the negotiations had been exhausted, war was the result. In this case there was no other option because both sides believed in their cause. Gen. William T. Sherman said ³War is Hell², and that quote has remained famous because even though simple, it is accurate. American men spent weeks at a time in rat infested trenches with lice all over their bodies in both World War One and Two. There are countless examples of horrible war crimes, biological weapons, napalm strikes, and of course nuclear weapons. War has claimed millions of lives throughout history. War is glorified by many, but the people who know see no glory in it, yet they do it for freedom, and most if asked would say that they would do it again. In all of these wars, the soldiers believed they were fighting for their own personal freedom, or the freedom of some other group of individuals. Had they not believed this, they would not have risked their lives. War it a last resort. Generally speaking, people do not like war, and want to avoid it at all costs. It is believed that a large part of why America went to Vietnam was for monetary reasons. Companies have to make all of the ships, helicopters, airplanes, and supplies. As a result, jobs are created and the economy in stimulated, but the U.S. government could never tell that to the public. It is very possible that these were ulterior reasons for the Vietnam war, but the government simply turned it into an issue of freedom. As a result the public was told that after trying to make peace with North Vietnam, the U.S. Navy was continually being assaulted and that there was no option but to go to war. At that point Americans had the option to believe that they were involved for noble and acceptable reasons. Even though freedom of some type is directly related to all major conflicts, it is not necessarily the freedom of all those involved. Operation Desert Storm is a good example. Though it was technically not a war, in had many of the characteristics attributed to war. The United States was involved because of Iraq¹s blatant disregard for the freedom of the people of Kuwait. There have been countless arguments about whether the United States should be the ³policeman² to the world, but a final decision will never made because there is answer. War is about freedom. The cynics will tell you that Americans go to war for ulterior reasons like money, and there may be some truth to that. The argument has been made Operation Desert Storm would never have occurred had it not been for oil. It is possible that this is true, but if it was not for the oil, Kuwait would seem to powerful countries as much more distant place. The fact is, Kuwait does have oil, and as a result the U.S. deals with Kuwait on a very close and personal level. With this kind of relationship, it is only natural that we would protect Kuwait if their freedom was threatened. War is painful, bloody, and terrible, but as long as people want freedom, it will be a way of life.