The Terrible Love of War

"Why do the nations rage so furiously together and the people imagine a vain thing?” That is Handel’s lyrical adaptation of Psalm 2:1. The anguished question is an ancient one, reflected in the mythology of the Greek and Roman gods of war, Ares and Mars. Tolstoy asks in his extensive study of war, “Why did millions of people begin to kill one another? Who told them to do it?” He concludes that because endless conjectures can be made, the causes are “innumerable.” Robert McNamara, who was secretary of defense during the Vietnam war, now understands war as “the failure of imagination.” The ancient question is ours also.

 

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