photo by nacrowe
i always found it interesting when watching films related to warfare that seemingly 99% of them portray such as a glamorous activity. dont get me wrong, i understand the necessity for armed conflict and i am fully aware that there is a sense of camaraderie that comes from it. i also understand the potential for honor and valor in safeguarding your fellow soldier and the importance of securing specific mission objectives. i get all that. but on a fundamental level, the act of organized destruction by state actors is something to be avoided, not celebrated. if only for the suffering and death that follows, most often for those to whom only unfortunate circumstance has rendered them culpable. i've seen the repercussions of such in locales such as KOSOVO, CAMBODIA, NIGERIA, BOSNIA, CYPRUS, VIETNAM and elsewhere and the consequences are the same. nothing good comes from wanton suffering.
and that is why on some foundational level, famed 20th century REALIST writer ERNEST HEMINGWAY understood such and incorporated it into his famed WWI novel A FAREWELL TO ARMS (SCRIBNER, 1929). this novel is centered around the love affair between an ambulance driver and a nurse who meet and ultimately fall in love during his recuperation. in typical biographical fashion, this scenario plays on a similar experience HEMINGWAY himself experience during WWI in ITALY. spoiler alert: the nurse and her child pass away at the close of the book and the driver is isolated, both in terms of the physical loss of his potential family, but also emotionally and spiritually depleted. its a great metaphor for the real consequences of war, as there are never real winners. war is inherently pyrrhic by nature as it leaves everyone morally and spiritually barren.
and i cant think of an exception. i cant come up with an armed conflict that has not extracted a severe cost in capital and the more precious commodity of human suffering. maybe someone out there can? for me A FAREWELL TO ARMS is a seminal expression of that primal understanding that armed conflict is a necessary yet consequential activity that deserves a respect not paid when seen through the rose-colored lenses of warmongers and profiteers who perpetuate propaganda in the films we watch and news we consume. deciding on conflict as a course of corrective action is a sacred decision that leaves no one unblemished and ennobled. by falling into it we descend into its own deceptive logic and nobody is the better for it.
stating anything else would be a deception. a lie and a big one at that. and us AMERICANS, we love our big lies.