Drafting People Into the Moral Equivalent of War, by Doug Bandow

There’s always some clown out there who has a bright idea about how young people should be forced to sacrifice a year or two during the prime of their lives for one or another worthy cause. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

War fires the imagination, especially of those who never suffered its horrors. Washington, D.C.’s faux heroes find nothing so courageous as sending other people off to fight and die in one grand cause or another.

Of course, some professionals glory in death and gore, such as World War II’s Gen. George S. Patton. In his infamous speech to the Third Army he declared: “Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.”

However, better-grounded commanders recognized the horror of conflict and were pained by the tragedy of which they were part. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee viewed the spectacle of tens of thousands of northern troops in formation launching a doomed assault on his position at Fredericksburg, Virginia and observed: “It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it.” At war’s end he accepted the presidency of Washington College: he refused to attend war commemorations, counseled against erecting battle memorials, and urged fellow southerners to reconcile with the North.

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