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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.



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