War is destructive, not only of people and property, but also of common decency. Although wars may arguably be necessary in some unimaginable circumstances, even then they must be made gentler and nicer. The facts are beyond dispute (hence no citations to authority are needed), and to assert positions contrary to those set forth here constitutes a crime against humanity.
Way back when, in Man's more primitive environment, people who fought in wars were paid by the grant of rape and pillage privileges. Prisoners of War (mainly high ranking ones, some of whom actually fought in those days) were held for ransom. Rape and pillage were seen as good things; they reduced the costs of wars borne by those demanding them and, if successful, demoralized the enemy. And, of course, the people raping and pillaging enjoyed those activities and had no immediate need to engage in them closer to home.
These things are no longer done by civilized nations and don't seem to cause much concern amongst the civilized when done by the uncivilized; those raped, pillaged and held for ransom are generally well accustomed to these things and don't seem to mind very much. Had they themselves been able to rape, pillage and hold their opponents for ransom, they would doubtless mind even less.
But perhaps I digress. How can we have nicer wars in circumstances where one or more of the combatant nations or groups is civilized? That is the question. Clearly, some fundamental changes must be made, and perhaps the most important change for which we can hope and in which we can believe is that civilized combatant nations will cease to portray their opponents in ways which dehumanize them.
Even after rape and pillage was no longer accepted, it was still thought appropriate to encourage soldiers to think bad thoughts about combatants on the opposing side(s). Hence, during World War II, the Germans were called bad names — Dirty Hun! — and depicted as doing all manner of evil. Outrageous libels concerning the alleged Holocaust were viciously spread to this end. The Japanese were called "Japs," and ridiculous stories about their allegedly indecent treatment of prisoners of war were rampant. During the Korean Conflict, the peace-loving troops of North Korea — who sought only to provide the indisputable benefits of benign socialism to their misguided brothers to the south — were slanderously referred to as "Gooks*" and said to engage in acts of extreme brutality. The purpose of these terrible lies and distortions was to condition soldiers on our side to view their opponents as less than human and therefore deserving of death. There must be a way to make this travesty stop. Fortunately for humanity, I have given this matter much profound thought, and now offer the following solution:
1. All of the U.S. military services have corps of chaplains, whose function is to provide moral and spiritual guidance to the troops. The chaplains are a great source of comfort to our troops, but they must do a lot more to make war nicer. Therefore, when it appears that a conflict is brewing, all military chaplains must be required to undergo sensitivity training in which the virtues of the alleged potential enemy are presented and absorbed. For example, when WWII was brewing, all chaplains should have been trained to respect Germanic precision, scientific advances, notable philosophers and artists, and the common humanity and, indeed, humility for which Germany was then well known. They should have been instructed in Japanese origami, poetry and humane sensitivity to others. To be graduated from these sensitivity courses, lamentably lacking in the past, chaplains must learn fully to respect the humanity of the alleged potential enemy.
2. When troops are mobilized, they must be instructed by chaplains (previously enlightened as provided in Para. 1, supra) on such matters, and urged to accept the truth that killing and injuring opponents is always evil. Chaplains already are noted for the success of their lectures on the evils of venereal disease, loose women, and on the beneficial use of condoms when temptation is unavoidable. There is no apparent reason why the success of such instruction would not carry over to anti-dehumanization lectures.
3. Peace demonstrators must be commissioned in a newly created Peace Corps ("PC"), as auxiliary political and spiritual advisers to the troops, and encouraged to present their views to our combat troops.
4. All troops and their commanding officers must be instructed in the gentle arts of persuasion, to the end that they are enabled to convince the enemy of its wrongheaded ways; unless, of course, they personally feel that the ways of the enemy are not wrongheaded. In the latter case, where the efforts of the PC officers proved to be successful, they must be instructed on techniques of persuasion likely to be effective in enlightening their own comrades in arms.
5. All weapons which might otherwise be used by troops to kill or injure opposing soldiers must be locked up and issued only at the command of at least two senior officers (at least one of whom must be of flag rank), with the advice and consent of one or more of the PC officers mentioned in Para. 3, supra. These PC officers would, unfortunately, have to be physically present on the battlefield. The command to unlock and issue weapons would be given only when the techniques of peaceful persuasion have been shown conclusively not to have worked, and to be fruitless if continued.
6. Troops in combat situations are now granted R&R (Rest and Relaxation) breaks, during which they engage in I&I (Intercourse and Intoxication) activities. These respites from the horrors of the battlefield will no longer be necessary, and must be replaced with suitable sensitivity training breaks under the auspices of well trained chaplains and PC officers.
7. Studies must be undertaken to determine whether limiting combat troops to a vegetarian diet would, as commonly believed, render them more pacific and therefore more amenable to the teachings of their chaplains and PC officers. Should the studies result in findings that confirm this belief, they should be acted upon promptly.
These modest steps must be taken immediately. The results will clearly be beneficial, and the outpouring of love, not only from our sworn enemies, but also from such respected international organizations as the United Nations, will quickly persuade all who would take up arms against us to reconsider their perhaps wicked ways. True peace will immediately break out, and the incredible resources now devoted to killing each other will be devoted instead to making the seas cease to rise, making illness and poverty things of an ill-remembered past, and to obtaining a permanent majority in the Congress.
*So, of course, were the running-dog lackeys in South Korea, but that is a different matter entirely.Powered by Sidelines