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30 Days of Generals and Admirals – Day 12

Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for. — Norman Schwarzkopf

My Take – I guess I count the time when I can say “I grew up” as when I quit looking forward to someone starting a war.  After the 7×24 video coverage of Desert Storm, brought to you by Disney and Marlboro, I was all fired up to go out and do some soldiering.  When they came around looking for people to send to aid in the Somalia effort, I lined up with a vigor.  Unfortunately, they didn’t need a Russian linguist in the Horn of Africa, so I was thanked, but turned down.  Then the Battle of Mogadishu happened, and we were riveted to information sources, both open and classified, to see what was going on.  That was my first inkling that war was more than just going out and shooting stuff and blowing up that which you can’t shoot,

Bosnia was the next thing that cut my enthusiasm to go out and be a heart breaker and a life taker.  Being in intelligence means that you get to see the sad images on CNN and in Newsweek and then you get to see reports on how it’s even worse than the press is saying.  When the UN was able to get injured civilians out of Sarajevo and to Landstuhl for treatment and placement with refugee organizations, I and several fellow shake-and-bake Serbo-Croat translators were sent to help the doctors talk to their patients.  Seeing women, children, and old people bear the wounds of war was extremely sobering, and sometime during one of my off times at Landstuhl, I grew up enough to not be eager to go off to war.

That’s not to say that there aren’t things worth fighting for.  Recognizing that war is an evil doesn’t negate the fact that it is occasionally a necessary evil.  Some things are indeed worth the cost, and waste, of war.  Being reluctant to go to war doesn’t make me a pacifist.  Recognizing the costs of war leads us to only fight when it is absolutely necessary, or at least it should.

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