Being in Europe and learning about the two World Wars and their development has sparked a new thought in my mind. Most of us live fairly swayed by popular points of view all the time. To steal T.H. White’s analogy from The Sword in The Stone, we are like ants in a mindless collective, always led and often in irrational directions. Times impending war are like that. Somehow we all seem to get caught up in the hysterics, the anger, the visions that are spouted by the “wise” leaders and media outlets. It happened in the First World War and it happened in the 2003 American War on Iraq. It may be surprising to find out that just about 70% of Americans favoured going into Iraq in 2003. This invasion happened amidst the anti-terrorist pandemonium created by 9/11. The war became hugely unpopular once the supposed weapons of mass destruction were never found (from what I understand, the pre-war evidence for these WMDs in Iraq was largely hypothetical). What happened in the First World War was in a way similar. Essentially, the times were just so that European nations and people just got pumped up for a “glorious” war. As the years passed and millions of Europe’s finest young men fell dead in the mud of the trenches, support for the war waned on all sides.
What it seems like to me, in times preceding war we don’t think very much. We mostly feel, and not feel in a way that discerns maturely, but we feel all the wrong things. When we hear of a nation or ethnicity fearfully spoken of, or we hear of threats of terrorism, these are times in which to think deeply! Lets not run to violent responses readily. What is the enemy’s (a.k.a. “perpetrators”) point of view? How can we try to diffuse this situation? Try to discuss the alternatives. Dismiss any haughty politicians.