Tag Archives: War

“War.

War never changes.”

Iconic words from a game series almost as old as I am.  And yet, they seem blatantly untrue.  Wars were once fought with swords, with bows.  Now wars can be fought entirely from behind screens, with soldiers of one faction never actually seeing the soldiers of the other faction.

Today, as I ponder yet another unproductive online discussion, I realize how true these words are.   It was posited to me that the advancement of 3D printing and Artificial Intelligence would soon render human labor unnecessary, that all the world would have to embrace socialism, which would end poverty, which would, in turn, end war.

At face value, this seems like a reasonable hypothesis.  If the value of labor falls to almost nothing, and all humans can just kick back and relax, reaping the benefit of automated labor, why would we keep fighting?

Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world.  Even if labor has no value, even if every country embraces socialism and the income inequality vanishes, there will still be reasons to fight.

For an immediate example, take the war in the Middle East.  Not just the current operations, but the entire period of conflict in that region, going all the way back to the 1990’s.  Without trying to argue any of the theories of exactly why we were involved, we can still get a good grasp of the motivating factors.

First, natural resources.  There is oil in the Middle East, and oil is the lifeblood of modern industry.  Even in this hypothetical perfect world, the oil will still only be where it currently is, and there will still be those who want it badly enough to fight for it.

Second, ideologies.  Whether you believe that the Muslim terror organizations are extremists distorting their holy scriptures or stalwart fundamentalists doing exactly what the Koran tells them to, the fact remains that there are Muslim terror organizations, and they are using the Koran to spur their followers into a war that they consider holy.  No amount of economic change or political shift will stop people intent on inflicting harm on others purely because they believe it to be the right thing to do.

Third, vendettas.  Personal or national, there are some hatreds that run deeper than circumstance.  Sometimes irrational, sometimes misplaced, but nonetheless real, hatred will always exist, and will always drive man against his fellows,  The Muslim terror organizations, particularly those involved in the conflict in the Gaza Strip, hate the nation of Israel.  There can be no peace brokered between two parties, when the only goal of one party is the utter eradication of the other.

This is another idea that sounds utopian on paper, but which would not survive contact with humanity.  Human beings, whether you believe them to be inherently good or inherently evil, are undeniably flawed.  Greed and pride and wrath will always bring about conflict, even in a perfect world where machines give humanity everything it could want.  When there is no logical reason to fight, someone will find an illogical reason.

Because war… war never changes.

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Filed under Non-Writing Related, Politics

Thoughts On the Middle East

I wasn’t going to post anything for 9/11.  Really, I wasn’t.  But I’ve seen this day of rememberance used to launch such a powerful torrent of anti-war sentiment in relation to the Syria situation, on every social media platform I use, that I felt the need to offer an opposing opinion.

Before I go into detail, I want to clarify something.  This is not a matter of hating someone for being a particular race, or blaming an entire group for the actions of a few radicals, or getting revenge for the deaths of Americans.  I don’t hate anyone, largely because they don’t matter to me enough to waste energy hating.  All of my opinions come from observations and logic, and are aimed at restoring America to the position of power she had post-WWII.

Now.  The Syria situation.  To strike, or not to strike?  Well, if we’re going to throw a couple of missiles at them, maybe some aircraft, I’d say don’t bother.  But there is another option.  War.  Total war.  Not an intervention to help one side of the civil war or the other, especially given that they hate us both equally.  War against both sides.

As a general rule, the United States has been a pro-war country. It takes us a while to get started, sure. But once we commit to a war, we commit hard. This country was born out of a war. We finally decided we’d had enough from Britain and told them to shove off. When they refused, we fought them. Everyone fought them. The country, not just the military, went to war.

The same thing happened in World War I.  We didn’t want to get involved.  It wasn’t our problem.  But, with the discovery of the Zimmerman telegram, the country, not the military, decided to go to war.  World War II was the same.  Only when we were directly struck did we make a move.  The entire country went to war, pulling itself out of a depression with wartime industry to make America the most powerful country in the world.

But what’s been going on in Iraq and Afghanistan is not a war.  It doesn’t fit in the same category as either World War, or the Revolutionary War.  War implies the possibility of defeat.  War implies a full mobilization of resources and a dedication of spirit.  The conflict in the Middle East is just that: conflict.  It doesn’t have public support.  It never really did.  It was always vague and surrounded by controversy.  Rather than thinking of it as a war, think of it as a catastrophe, much like the mishandling of the Vietnam conflict.

Syria, however.  Syria offers an opportunity for a real war.  Yes, they haven’t hit us.  Yet.  But who’s to say they won’t?  We didn’t think Kaiser Wilhelm would make a move on us during World War I.  We didn’t think the Axis would attack us in World War II.  But they did.  Waiting, in the middle of a depression, while a hostile nation violates the Geneva Protocols, is a mistake.  Nobody enjoys watching our people die in a war.  But is it any better to watch their people die while we wait for a war?  The world is stirred up over this.  Russia and China have flexed their metaphorical muscles, and the eyes of the world are on America.

We won the first World War.  We won the second.  If stopping Syria from slaughtering innocents with immoral and illegal weapons means starting a third World War, I say, bring it on.  If history is any indication, America will triumph once again over those who would do evil, and reclaim her place as the leader of the free world.

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Filed under Non-Writing Related, Politics

Bellum Omnium In Omnes

The title is Latin for ‘A war of all, against all.’ And yes, I did just make my title Latin because I think Latin sounds cool.

I’ve started a game of Risk by Facebook, in the same way that old people play chess by mail.  There are six players.  I will post updates on how this most epic war progresses, starting with this map of the territorial divisions at the beginning.

Hopefully, I will be able to quote the great Caesar: Veni, vidi, vici.

I came. I saw. I conquered.

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Demon Wars

Short story I wrote set in the same world as one of the Dreamer’s short stories, but this one is all mine. I have the weirdest feeling that I posted it already, but I can’t find it, so I’m posting it. So there.

The writhing darkness of the Shroud filled the horizon. As far as the eye could see, stretching out into the distance, the black cloud that marked the presence of the demon army spread, cloaking its unholy creators. On the fringes, the front lines of the demon forces could be seen. They were grunts, for the most part: low-ranking demons, still stronger and faster than any human, but lacking intelligence, driven by sheer ferocity.

Here and there among the milling beasts stood higher-ranking demons, classified as Beast-masters. Beast-masters existed to direct the savage grunts, to keep them from retreating and throw them in powerful waves where the demon offensive needed them most.

Just over a mile off, atop a broad, flat hill, there stood a sprawling, though ragged, camp. Tents of every shape and size had been organized into rows and columns, those these had since fallen into disarray; when your army is outnumbered fifty to one, and one of the enemy can kill five of your men, you don’t worry much about making sure your tents are in a line.

Even the tents themselves showed evidence of the worn condition of the army. Once a uniform white, they now ranged in shade from an off-white color to almost totally black, stained by the constant dust storm that blew, whipping up the scorched earth in the faces of the soldiers and against the sides of their tents.

This setting, then, is what the wanderer beheld when he topped the hill. The last of humanity, gathered on this hill, just as barren and hopeless as any other, against an enemy they could not possibly defeat. Sure, they had won seemingly hopeless battles before, but not like this.

The wanderer walked into the camp, unchallenged. No sentries demanded identification, or even noticed him. He slowly made his way to the command tent, noting the emptiness of the sprawling camp. Tents that were designed to hold eight or twelve soldiers housed only two or three; where there should have been a campfire between every three or four tents, the wanderer saw only half a dozen fires among the fifty tents he walked past.

He pushed into the command tent, marveling at the lack of guards. Only when he approached the planning table itself did anyone notice him, and even then only the commander raised his head.

“Who are you? What are you doing in my command tent?”

“I’m just a wanderer. You boys looked like you could use some help.” He looked at the war plans on the table. “A lot of help.”

“Look, no one asked you.” The commander’s hand rested on the butt of his pistol. “Now I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

The wanderer ignored the threat, walking slowly around the table. “You’re outmatched. One demon can handle an entire squad, as wearied as your army is, and you’re outnumbered fifty-three to one.”

“How do you know it’s fifty-three?”

“I know exactly how many demons there are. And I know that, the way you lead these men, you lead them into death.”

The commander stared at the newcomer. “The way I lead them?”

“Praying for strength. No amount of strength can give you victory here.”

“And I suppose you have a better plan?”

“Yes.” The wanderer walked out of the tent, striding across the barren plain towards the demon horde, and the dark Shroud that covered them.

After opening and closing his mouth a few times, the commander rushed up to the observation tower, snatching the scout’s binoculars and watching the odd man in white armor.

He approached the darkness without slowing, quoting Scripture in a loud voice. The demons recoiled from him, giving him a clean path through their ranks. Even the Shroud grew weaker as he passed through it, revealing more and more of the demon horde.

The commander let out a low whistle. On a good day, a demon army would be about fifty percent grunts. This army had next to none, aside from the cannon fodder in the front. It had demons he had never even seen before, only heard about; even they recoiled, drawing back from the stranger in white as he continued steadily walking deeper into the demon army, reciting Scripture.

A massive wheeled throne gradually came into view as the Shroud faded, and the huge demon on it glared down at the wanderer. “You… I know you…”

“And I know you, dark one. You are no longer permitted on this world.”

The demon’s laugh could be heard by the commander, a mile away. “You cannot command me.”

“I don’t have to.” The wanderer raised his hands, crying out, “God Almighty, Creator of all that has been or will be, let thy will be done!”

A blinding beam of light roared down from the heavens, driving the wanderer to his knees, arms still outstretched. Light washed outwards in waves, completely dispelling the Shroud, exposing the demon horde.

The horde cowered, roaring in agony as the Light seared them, their flesh boiling. Their master staggered to his feet, trying to crush the wanderer and blot out the Light. “Damn you!”

“Begone, dark one!” He threw his hands outward, and the Light exploded into a single, all-consuming shockwave. Demons fled in all directions, but the Light overtook them, shattering them. As it washed over the barren earth, which had not held a single growing thing for years, burst into life.

Grass sprouted, lush and alive; the clouds, which had shrouded the planet since the beginning of the invasion, opened up, pouring life-giving water into the earth, and parted, allowing natural, undimmed sunlight to fall on the faces of the soldiers who stared in awe at the white-garbed man who still knelt in the center of the regenerative wave.

He lifted his eyes toward heaven, a smile on his lips.

“Thank you.”

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, My Stories, Short Stories, Writing

A Short War Story

World War III.  One of the most surprising fronts: UK vs. US.

 

Gunfire rattled off to his left, muffled by distance and obstacles.  He pressed his back against the wall of a building that had somehow escaped the artillery fire that had raked the city.  The distinctive sound of many booted feet running towards him made him force open the door and duck inside.  As the enemy soldiers moved past, he peered through one of the broken windows out at them.

Never thought the day would come when we’d be at war with the United Kingdoms.  He shrugged.  Ah, well.  Such is life.

With that morose thought, he pushed himself up and crept back out onto the street, creeping towards the British camp while staying as low as possible.  No one challenged him, because no one saw him.  One does not get a reputation for being the best soldier in Special Forces unless one truly is the best soldier in Special Forces.

When he reached his destination, a small, unassuming brick building that seemed to hide from the American shells behind a pockmarked apartment building, he paused to gather himself.  His orders were simple: get in, kidnap the British general if possible, kill him if not, and then get out.  He drew his MP7 and checked the clip.

Perfect.  He briefly allowed himself to gloat about the higher quality of his weapons over those of his compatriots.  Personally caring for your own weapons is the only way to ensure that they won’t fail you.

The small lock on the door to the headquarters yielded to his first attempt to pick it.  He slipped inside, wondering at the lack of occupants.  Not one to reject good fortune, he made his way straight to the room that their floor plans said the general occupied.  This door proved to be much more resistant to his attempted entry.  After his lockpick broke off in the lock, he decided he’d had enough.

If at first you don’t succeed…  Use a bigger hammer.

He kicked the door as hard as he could.  The lock remained in place, but the rest of the door flew inward, smashing against the wall.  Before the man in the room could move from where he sat behind a desk, the American had taken a step into the room and aimed his submachine gun at the general’s chest.

“I would really rather not have to shoot you, so keep your hands where I can see them and don’t make any sudden movements.”

The general froze, and he slowly raised his hands over his head.  “You got me.  What do you want?”

“You.  Either you will come with me back to the American lines, or I kill you.  The choice is yours.”  The soldier’s eyes showed no pity, only a hard determination.  There would be no negotiating with the person those eyes showed.

“All right.  I’ll come quietly.”  The general stood slowly and started to walk out from behind the desk.

A sharp female voice startled them both.  “Freeze, Yankee!  You turn around and I’ll blow your head off.”  He looked to the doorway and saw his adjutant, a fiery redhead whose name escaped him at the moment, holding a pistol on the intruder.

To the general’s astonishment, the American smiled, but his eyes filled with such sorrow that the general could not help but pity him for whatever caused it.

“It’s been twelve years, six months, two weeks and a day since I last heard your voice, milady, but I’d know it anywhere.”  The American slowly turned to face her, lowering his gun.

She gasped, and the gun wavered but did not fall.  “You?  Here?  But… how?”

“I would say it’s an amazing coincidence, but I don’t believe in that.”  One corner of his mouth turned up in a half smile.  “Are you going to kill me now, milady?”

Tears came to her eyes, but she dashed them away with one hand, doing her best to keep the gun steady.  “I told you I would, if it came to this.  My loyalty is to my country.”

“As is my loyalty to mine.  This leaves me, however in a bit of a tough spot.  I can’t abandon my mission, and I can’t kill you.  The way I see it, there’s only one option.”

She frowned, unsure of what he meant.  “What are you talking about?  What option?”

“Come with me.  Be taken as a prisoner of war.”

“I can’t do that!  That’s treason!”

“Then kill me.”

“I…”  She let out a sigh.  “Can’t you just leave?  Please?  For old times’ sake?”

He sighed as well.  “Of all the people who could use that, you’re the only one it actually carries weight with.”

The general watched this byplay, perplexed.  He didn’t dare try anything, for he had seen the hard steel in the American’s eyes, but it seemed, in a strange happenstance, that his adjutant had been… what?  A lover?  A confidant?  An accomplice?  Whatever she had been, she seemed to have some control over him.  He waited with bated breath to see what the outcome would be.

“You want to serve you country, yes?” the soldier asked.

The adjutant slowly nodded, again unsure of his point.

“Then let me take you in the general’s place.”

Her eyes widened.  “You would do that?”

He nodded.

She stood still for a moment, thinking this through.

The general saw her indecision and in it, his chance to tip the scales.  “I’ll put in my report that you saved me, and were taken hostage.”

“All right…” she said, slowly lowering her weapon.

The American stepped forward and took it from her.  “Come, we need to move quickly.”  He stepped through the doorway over the splinters he had made.

She followed him, not once looking back.  As soon as they crossed the threshold, gunfire broke out as the British soldiers started shooting at the American.  They managed to get into a mostly intact building and start working their way to the American lines.

Before they got near it, however, tragedy struck.  One of the American snipers, only seeing a glimpse of a British uniform, fired on them.  The woman gasped as something hit her, feeling as though she had been punched.

The American escorting her whirled, then froze when he saw the bullet wound.  “No…”  He caught her as she staggered and fell, holding her against himself.  “No, no, no…  Not now…”

She looked up at him, choking as blood filled her lungs.  Shaking, she reached up and touched his face.  “I’m… sorry…  God… bless you…”  Her eyes closed.  They never opened again.

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Filed under Short Stories