As If We Needed a Reminder
Posted by PintofStout on February 13, 2007
I’ve stated in the past – repeated, really – that individuals don’t wage wars, states do. I’ve also written how the state carves out exceptions for itself in an egregious manner, like punishing people for the crime of murder while carrying out murder on an unimaginable scale with impunity as long as it is called “war.” The word “war” glosses over so many particular details and softens the hard reality of it. Most people know that war is horrible, but many of those same people also think it honorable to participate. It’s easy to think like that when talking of war, some vaguely bad and destructive thing nobody but bad people (and those good who oppose them) have control of. That view would be harder to swallow if one were participating in the destruction of people and property on a mass scale, murder face-to-face, murder from afar, dehumanization of entire races in order to justify exterminating them like dogs, and carnage that makes death a blessing.
In the last and most popular war for global markets and industry, World War II, on this day in 1945 the “good” guys started fire-bombing Dresden. I was made aware of this grim anniversary by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. It was mentioned there because of a favorite author of mine who was in Dresden while it and its inhabitants burned: Kurt Vonnegut. According to the Writer’s Almanac estimates of the death toll can range from 35,000 to 135,000 people. People! A gigantic herd of people slaughtered wantonly by a bunch of animals, monsters. No wonder Churchill was drunk so often; he was too big a coward to actually kill himself!
The bombing took place over three days and was really just a side note on an already-tragic deathfest that had been going on for several years at this point. This attack stands out from all the others, though. That is why I am using it as an example today, lest we forget about the distant news of bombs and insurgents; surges and collateral damage; sectarian violence and sacrifice. Current wars are just a side note to our everyday lives. They cost us money and it costs a devastated few middle and lower class families sons and daughters, fathers and brothers. It costs us many human lives of people who don’t look, worship, or live like we do. It costs all of humankind any shred of dignity and honor.