Monday, December 12, 2011

The War on War

There’s the War on Christmas, The War on Christianity, The War on Religion, The War on the upper-class, The War on the poor…

Is this really an appropriate use of the word?  It would be easy to pick on one particular political party for their constant use of the phrase, yet the usage of the word “war” in reference to things other than actual war is a bi-partisan problem.    For every conservative complaint about the “War on Christmas” or “class warfare” liberals come back with phrases like the “War on the poor;” it’s a bit disturbing.  Do we really know what war is?

America is winding down a nine year war in Iraq while another in Afghanistan continues.  In these actual wars, many service men and women have lost their lives, thousands more have suffered casualties, and countless others still deal with the after-effects of war such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  That’s sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters killed in war—families torn apart, kids growing up without a parent while scores of wounded soldiers learn to function without an arm or a leg.  Oh, then there’s the civilian deaths, which number in the 6 digit range.

This is what war is like—its kill or be killed.

The word War should be an expletive.  Sure there’s the F-bomb, the S-bomb, and even that still taboo C-word; yet what happens in a war is far worse than any of these other words put together.  Men are tortured, women are raped, children suffer brutal deaths—we use the word so flippantly.

Every time we use the word to describe something other than actual war, we disrespect the men and women who have suffered and died in actual war. When we misuse the word we dilute the horror, suffering, and violence that takes place in actual war.

America has been at war for the last decade, wars which have basically been “out of sight, out of mind” from the general public.  Are we seeing the results of a blissfully unaware public in America today? I can’t help but wonder, for when people throw around the word “war” when talking about something other than actual war; it only cheapens the sacrifice of America’s soldiers and softens the horrors of war. 

Next time I hear anything about war, I’d prefer it to be in reference to an actual war.  Even better, I’d prefer not to hear of any war at all—because war is a horrible, awful thing which our world would be far better without.

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