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War is a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between two or more political units; it is usually fought by a militia but can and has been fought by civilians (“War”). Sometimes a war can turn into total war; this involves everybody and everything; a war in which countries or nations use all of their resources to destroy another organized country’s or nation’s ability to engage in war.
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Historians have been investigating the reasons for war since the beginning of written history; most cases have concluded that the single most important factor for the outbreak of war is misperception. It is because of a leader’s power over his citizens is so large that he is always blamed for war. It can be the leader’s distortion of the facts that can lead to such an abrupt eruption. Causes may include the leader’s image of himself, a leader’s view of his enemy’s character, a leader’s view of his enemy’s intentions toward himself, a leader’s view of his enemy’s capabilities and power (Stoessinger 223) and Ethnocentrism, being centered on one’s own culture. A society’s ego can make them have assumptions about other people’s culture without actually knowing the facts. People are Ethnocentric when they generalize about another culture, stereotyping (Ethnocentrism). Our misconceptions lead us to believe the non truths leading us into war. If people all over the world would go out and see the truths about it there would be fewer misconceptions about who people are and why they do things differently, but in America, in 2004, only 4 percent of Americans carry a passport. One thing that you can insure is that many Americans don’t want to know beyond their world; many nations around the world are like this and we need to come together and unite otherwise war will never seize.
Sometimes war is caused because one nation is in lack of a certain resource and another nation is content on getting what it needs or wants; however, many of the wars in the most recent past have been for a humanitarian effort, to liberate the people of a nation from a government that is unreasonable to the liberators. War is also caused by sovereignty which is every independent government; that is, a government that recognizes no authority over its own. War is always possible as long as states stay sovereign (Hamilton). Although war can promote peace or just change, realists are more concerned with war preserving the state (Nardin 58). David Grene put it as, “in the greatness of the thing created, the [Athenian] empire, there is a quality different from the qualities that created it; it is great in itself and for itself (Nardin 69). Once there is an international society theory suggests that there will be less reason for war because humans we will be working with each other instead of against ourselves.
There are two more major reasons of war left and that is political beliefs and religious beliefs. These factors sometimes pressure the general public of a nation to fight for their rights and their beliefs. Wars have occurred in history because other countries are not in agreement with one’s political or religious beliefs. Political leaders use war as a means to prove a point, defend the people, and change their rivals’ government because they are too different from their own. Religious beliefs however affect the heart to a much greater degree; therefore, people are much more willing to fight for them. In Jewish biblical the Hebrew word for peace is shalom. Their derivation suggests that a war is only to be fought for the sake of ultimate peace. There is also what is known as an obligatory war which can refer to “deliver Israel from an enemy that attacks them” (Nardin 96, 124). In Christianity it focuses on the need for Christians to live and act on Christian standards. It focuses on creating a new society, made up of believers who are committed to governing their lives together by those standards. Christians have a common purpose and that is to convert non believers in Jesus in to Christians (Nardin 170). Trying to convert non believers has caused many wars and millions of persecutions. In the Islam tradition it is a system of obligations derived from divine revelation and based on the belief that human knowledge can never be adequate. In Islam there any war against unbelievers, whatever its immediate ground, is morally justified. (Nardin 128, 131). Because their belief says it is their moral duty to wage war against non believers war is possible. The sad truth is, is that religion is one of the most dangerous factors in the world. It puts man against man to fight for a God that is only a theory. Mankind needs to learn to accept each others differences as a positive not a negative to extinguish war from future history books.
War has changed significantly since its first written account; this is what makes the soldier, who has remained unchanged, so remarkable. The soldier was one of the first inventions of civilization, yet he is one of the only characteristics of war that has made little change over the ten thousand years or so that armies have existed. Modern soldiers do not behave any more ruthlessly than their ancestors; they have all killed to protect what they’re fighting for. Primitive warfare is a ritual practiced for its own sake it has been a pattern of political instruments. Perhaps the most striking difference between truly primitive and truly modern warfare is that the past was not normally fought for the materialistic interests but rather for one’s honor and the honor of past generations. “Honor can be preserved only by demonstrating one’s readiness to avenge wrongs; we may refer to this self-reinforcing complex of motives for war- revenge and prestige, honor and glory- as the ‘material value’” (The Origins). The present technology, organization, and resources that societies now possess have inflated war to the point that it threatens to destroy us all; total war is now the most recognized war form. In the beginning war was a healthy way for mankind to express itself as independents and to protect themselves; but as humans’ technological skills become more advanced war is a way for mankind to destroy itself, especially with the hundreds of nuclear weapons available. It used to be that war had little organization; a leader of a sovereign state would call his soldiers to war and so his soldiers fought. But as technology advanced and organization improved to where there are armies, navies, marines, air force, and seals; there is a different organization of soldiers for every possible battle form that could be fought. The resources available for war also significantly increased. Now that the technology is available to make destructive products from the resources humans have always had, destruction of the world creeps closer (Dyer 1-5). “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity” (Albert Einstein). Many people around the world in nations alike and unlike continue to think this, yet the only thing standing in our way of destroying our most dangerous technologies is the fear we have for ourselves.
If humans should succeed over the next few generations in transforming the world of independent states in which they live into some sort of international community, however quarrelsome, discontent, and full of injustice it will be, then they shall effectively have abolished the ancient institution of warfare, in theory. Humans have many emotions when it comes to ethnocentrism, politics, and religion and as long as people feel the need to fight for their beliefs they will. Though the Crusades have been over for the past 900 years, the holy war has never actually come to an end. Today it still continues, and if it goes too far, mankind will not have a place to hold a war, for there will be no world; we have destroyed ourselves, the one thing people have always feared has come true (Dyer 265).
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