An End to War, or an End to Humanity: an Optimistic Solution
War is so fucking stupid.
There could hardly be a more obvious statement in English or any other language, yet war has been a relative constant of human existence. Apart from being horrible, criminal, and cruel, war is dumb. So fucking dumb. There is hardly anything left of true value to gain from wars and literally everything to lose.
Wars have been fought for many reasons, but the common core of most wars is ego and avarice. Someone, or a group of someones, want the resources that someone else has, so they enlist all the someones they can to fight for their side and take the resources from the aforementioned someone elses.
There’s often something in it for the people that do the actual dirty work of the warring, but often just a pittance, because the avaricious bastards at the top who instigate the wars, by nature of their rabid avariciousness, want the best and most stuff for themselves. Even in the olden times, when warriors were guaranteed a decent share of the spoils for raiding and warring, they still had to kick up to the leader, ensure the egomaniac leading them got the biggest piece of the pie.
These days, with wars being so large, impersonal, and mechanized, the spoils portioned out to the fighters of the wars are pathetic. Part of that is because there are some rules to wars these days; soldiers are generally discouraged from looting personal goods from civilians and making slaves of them, at least by some governments. But more than that it’s the insatiable greed of the people behind the wars’ inception. They rake in billions from weapons sales and contracts to set up businesses pillaging the resources of the conquered nations, and then shell out maybe a couple-hundred thousand to the fighters, who used some of those weapons and made financial colonization possible, for college tuition and an embarrassingly inadequate healthcare system.
Of course, many people are effectively tricked or forced into fighting in wars. That’s always been the case. Even in countries like the US, where military enlistment has been voluntary for roughly half a century, there is still not always a true choice in the matter. It’s primarily the poor that fight wars. Poor people and people of color make up a majority of US soldiers. Those who give the most to America’s wars get the least in compensation for them. And as for being tricked, the US oligarchy has been tricking people into fighting in its wars for every war after World War 2, and basically every war before that, and one could argue a case that many were tricked into fighting in WWII as well.
For whatever other faults Smedley Butler had, first among them being named Smedley, he was absolutely right: War is a racket.
More than being a racket, war has become insanely, inexcusably stupid. We are at a stage in history where multiple national militaries have the capabilities to literally destroy the world, some of us many times over. Even when militaries aren’t actively bombing, shooting, and otherwise murdering people, they’re still destroying the earth. The US military is one of the world's worst polluters, worse than many whole nations. All of it is ultimately accomplishing nothing and guaranteeing the inevitability of societal collapse and eventual human extinction.
This is all not to say that war is never justified. If someone else instigates a war against you, you have all the right in the world to war back at them. Self-defense is valid. Stopping atrocities is valid. If, for example, a military is murdering people, another military would not be unjustified in attacking them in defense of the people being murdered.
What we need, as a global society, is a pact the likes of which is too good and altruistic to have ever been considered before. It is, nevertheless, a simple one: don’t start a war, or die. Essentially, what this would mean is that no nation that instigates war may be provided aid or share alliances of any kind. Instead, every other nation will band together to obliterate that instigating nation. No government, military, or militia would be able to start a war for fear of everyone else immediately killing the shit out of them. We’ll all put politics aside and agree that an attack on any one of us will mean being attacked by all of us. Yes, it will be a hell of a hurdle to make that agreement, but the result will be peace. Actual, accountable, sustainable peace. Then we’ll be able to focus on fixing the other ways that we’re stupidly killing ourselves.