The Futility of War: When Will We Ever Learn?

O soldier who is sentenced by man’s cruel law to forsake his mate and his little ones and kin to go out of the field of death for the sake of greed in its guise of duty.
Gibran Kahlil Gibran, from A Tear and a Smile

“All wars are fought for the acquisition of wealth”
Socrates

 

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Right now it seems that most of the world is embroiled in war or serious conflict. There is no peace to be found anywhere as men struggle against one another in the quest for power, for resources, for wealth and maybe for justice, or at least what they perceive as justice. Yet I firmly believe that most of us just want to live our lives in peace, finding fulfilment in relationships, our families, our pastimes our pleasures and general day to day living. Most of us basically want to get on with our lives not face the horror, the turmoil and terrifying consequence of conflict forced upon us by those who take little part in the actual suffering and misery of war. Many of us feel helpless to stem the tide of violence, disruption and insecurity into which we or our fellow human beings are plunged seemingly at the whim of those who have little regard for our lives.

It goes without saying that if no one participated in war, war could not happen, yet millions join the armed forces for reasons that to my mind are unfathomable, leaving those they love, risking their lives, their health and their security. Why? Torn from their families and their way of life… for what I have to ask?

Here in the UK you may find in your local supermarket a collection point for toiletries, sweets and such like to be sent to solders engaged in conflict in far off places, fighting in wars that most of us do not fully understand. Surely military personal should not need the charity of others, yet increasingly so this is the case. Often service men and women live in unsatisfactory conditions or are not adequately provided for when maimed in a war supposedly fought for their country. Such as the ex soldier who died because his benefits were stopped. Having no income he did not have enough money for the electricity to keep his diabetic medicine cool in his fridge.

I will state now that I am a pacifist and vegan and would not take part in or condone war, particularly modern wars which to my perspective are fought for greed and power under the guise of justice or liberation. Nonetheless this does not prevent me from respecting those who have made sacrifices for what they consider to be a noble cause, nor does it prevent me from protesting the recent treatment of people who have served or are serving in the armed forces here in the UK, were it seems that those who have “served their country” have been discarded and rendered homeless, destitute.

Although, I do not condone or support war under any circumstances, I wholeheartedly condemn the lack of support for veterans. It is not just here in the UK that veterans are thrown on the scrap heap, left homeless without money or compensation for the sacrifices they have made, the same situation occurs in the USA. Who would have thought there would be a click to donate website for homeless veterans in the USA?

http://thehungersite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/vet/home?link=ctg_vet_home_from_ars_thank-you_sitenav

In fact in both the USA and the UK there are a growing number of on-line support and charities or non profit organisations for veterans. Here are a few examples:

Veterans Inc
http://www.veteransinc.org/about-us/statistics/#homelessness

National coalition for homeless veterans
http://nchv.org/

Coats for veterans USA:
https://www.facebook.com/events/510002689098720/

A charity for veterans UK:
http://www.veterans-aid.net/

http://www.homelessveterans.co.uk/

Shocking but true service men and women are being abandoned to homelessness and all the misery that entails

9,000 ex-service personnel homeless after leaving the military

The Sunday Mirror this week heard harrowing stories from veterans who fought on the front line but now sleep in doorways, graveyards and parks, begging from the passers-by whose freedom they defended.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/9000-ex-service-personnel-homeless-after-2071049

Why the hell are veterans homeless, after laying their lives on the line they are now left to the vagaries of charities.  Albeit well intentioned charities cannot offer the support that is needed and which should be provided by the country they served.

Many service personal are disabled and unable to support themselves yet here in the UK welfare reforms leave many destitute:

A record number of wounded war veterans have been denied disability benefits in the past year after undergoing tests carried out by the Government’s controversial assessment company.

Hundreds of injured ex-soldiers are being declared fit for work by Atos Healthcare in spite of physical and mental injuries they suffered in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Read more:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334390/Anger-record-number-maimed-troops-denied-disability-benefit-Governments-controversial-assessments.html

Severely wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, who were once entitled to incapacity benefits, are being told they no longer qualify under new assessments carried out by Atos on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Read more:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/benefits-crackdown-humiliates-disabled-army-war-veterans-8633610.html

Former lance corporal wounded in grenade attack in Iraq says he is being accused of faking his injuries:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jan/24/disabled-grenade-soldier-benefits

A similar pattern exists in the USA

  • Between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during the year.
  • On any given night, more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the U.S.
  • Approx. 33% of homeless males in the U.S. are veterans.
  • Veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless.
  • Veterans represent 11% of the adult civilian population, but 26% of the homeless population, according to the Homeless Research Institute (2007).
  • Veterans are more at risk of becoming homeless than non-veterans
  • The number of homeless Vietnam-era veterans, male and female, is greater than the number of soldiers who died during the war.
  • Primary causes of homelessness among veterans are:
  1. Lack of income due to limited education and lack of transferable skills from military to civilian life (especially true of younger veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan)
  2. Combat-related physical health issues and disabilities
  3. Combat-related mental health issues and disabilities
  4. Substance abuse problems that interfere with job retention
  5. Weak social networks due to problems adjusting to civilian life
  6. Lack of services.

Read More:
http://www.veteransinc.org/about-us/statistics/#homelessness

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly 8% being female. The majority are single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About 12% of the adult homeless population are veterans.
Read more:
http://hrexach.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/this-should-never-happen-in-any-country/

Is this the thanks they get? The futility of war enhanced by the callous indifference of the country for which they supposedly served, though these days one has to wonder who is behind war and what the real agendas are. Is so called liberation merely an excuse to plunder the country’s resources as is I firmly believe the real reason for the invasion of Iraq?

Shame on the UK and the USA and any other country that does not care for the needs of veterans

I am appalled at how easily the decision makers start wars – usually the rich and powerful, the global political elite be they presidents, prime ministers, ministers, parliamentarians and dictators . These people who remain in security and safety while sending others to die take from us our precious lives in the meaningless struggles here in our modern world while rarely if ever sacrificing anything. Perhaps some of our war mongering leaders should do as the kings of old and actually participate in their war mongering escapades instead of sending others , mostly the young, to die or be injured.I wonder how keen they would than be to wage war.

It is of course not only soldiers that lose their lives but millions of men, women and children who are caught up in the increasing complex conflicts worldwide with seemingly hidden agendas, such as in the Middle East and more recently Ukraine.

Take time to reflect on the appalling casualties of conflict

Numbers of people killed in various conflicts since and including ww2

It is not easy to acquire statistics of civilian deaths only and some of the links below may include military personnel

World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed, which was over 2.5% of the world population:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

The United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world. (often aided and abeted by the UK)
http://www.countercurrents.org/lucas240407.htm

Among the latest conflicts

Syria

Death Toll in Syria Estimated at 191,000:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/world/middleeast/un-raises-estimate-of-dead-in-syrian-conflict-to-191000.html?_r=0   This was the estimate in August 2014, the toll has of course risen.

Gaza

Between 8 July and 27 August, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and seven civilians in Israel.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28439404

Iraq

Civilian death toll in Iraq

Documented civilian deaths from violence

134,712 – 152,068
https://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/

Ukraine

More than 5,400 people have died since the conflict began
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31392473

It is not only our fellow humans of course who suffer in our war mongering escapades, animals too bear the brunt of our insanity:
http://www.care2.com/causes/extreme-bravery-from-the-women-saving-ukraines-dogs-of-war.html

Did you know that the USA abandons its military dogs in conflict zones?

Here is a petition to tell the Defense Department you support the call for service dogs to retire on U.S. soil!:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/279/131/337/urge-that-all-military-dogs-retire-on-us-soil/?z00m=21529761

I wish to live in peace, it is my hope that future generations will live in peace. Sadly though until we take a stand against war it will continue while men and increasing women sign up to the armed forces, while war is glorified there will never be peace.

I would like to present a number of thought provoking quotations, poetry and song concerning the futility of war beginning with the moving poem Disabled by Wilfred Owen

Disabled

He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.

About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees,
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,-
In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls’ waists are, or how warm their subtle hands.
All of them touch him like some queer disease.

There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now, he is old; his back will never brace;
He’s lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.

One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg,
After the matches, carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he’d drunk a peg,
He thought he’d better join. – He wonders why.
Someone had said he’d look a god in kilts,
That’s why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts
He asked to join. He didn’t have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years.

Germans he scarcely thought of; all their guilt,
And Austria’s, did not move him. And no fears
Of Fear came yet. He drought of jewelled hills
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.

Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then enquired about his soul.

Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
Tonight he noticed how the women’s eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don’t they come
And put him into bed? Why don’t they come?

Here is a good analysis of the poem Disabled
http://www.socialsciencemedley.com/2011/04/analysis-of-disabled-by-wilfred-owen.html

The sad fact is no matter how undervalued are their endeavours, or how many have died or have been maimed for their country, or the stark reality of war which can no longer be denied still thousands give their lives and their health to support a country that soon forgets them.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE
words and music by Pete Seeger

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

©1961 (Renewed) Fall River Music Inc
All Rights Reserved.

The song above was written in the 1960s by Pete Seeger and made famous by the Kensington trio and used as a protest of war particularly the Vietnam war. The lyrics though have a wider meaning. The song is really about the cycle of history and how impossible it is to break.

Read more about the cycles of history and the fact that awareness of such cycles even one as destructive as war fail to bring about an end to this insanity that takes the lives of the young and serves the purposes of the minority in this world who are greedy only for power and wealth

http://www.indepthinfo.com/culture/where-have-all-the-flowers-gone.htm

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Albert Einstein

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”
Herbert Hoover

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
Voltaire

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”
Bertrand Russell
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”
Ernest Hemingway

Note this article was written in August some of the statistics will most certainly have changed concerning current deaths as a result of ongoing conflicts.

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Take Action to Help the People of Gaza

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Like most people world-wide I am shocked by the horror that is unfolding in Garza. The killing of defenceless children who have tasted and enjoyed so little of life and indeed adults who like most of us simply wish to live out their lives in peace. I do not understand fully this complex situation, all I know is that people are dying and it has to stop.

The pictures seen below bear undeniable witness to the horrific suffering taking place in Gaza as a result of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population. Most of the dead are civilians – men women and children, no one is spared the onslaught of death and destruction raining down on them. Also animals suffer, caught up in the conflict as you will see further down.

The recent weeks of violence has resulted in the deaths of at least 1,922 Palestinian deaths – 448 of them children- with more than 9,000 injured.

slide_357427_3950788_free

Source link and more photos:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/09/15-images-of-gaza-under-attack-as-israel-responds-to-hamas-rockets-_n_5570579.html

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA

Source and more pictures:

Israel Gaza Conflict: The Innocent Children Paying The Terrible Price Of War (GRAPHIC PICTURES)
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/18/israel-gaza-conflict-innocent-children-paying-terrible-price-war-pictures_n_5598867.html

Names of 373 Children Killed In the Gaza Conflict.

The names of  children killed in Gaza during the past month have been Published In UK Newspapers.

The charity Save the Children has used full-page ads in numerous UK newspapers to name the hundreds of children killed in Gaza over the past month:

“To see the names of the children, some as young as a few months, written in stark black-and-white brings home the tragedy that has befallen Gaza’s children.”
Save the Children’s CEO, Justin Forsyth

Read more and view the ads

http://www.buzzfeed.com/richardhjames/names-of-373-children-killed-in-gaza-conflict-published-in-u -Please click this link and take the suggested action and send a message to the UK government calling for a permanent ceasefire.

Please take the time to take as many of the following actions as you can.

Write e-mail or letters

Amnesty International

Please send an e-mail to the foreign secretary

GAZA: STOP THE ARMS, STOP THE KILLING

Call on the UK government to halt the supply of arms to Israel. We must not facilitate war crimes.

It began just after four o’clock on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Four young boys, all cousins from the same family, were playing football on a Gaza beach.

The Israeli shelling rained down – killing all four children.

Indiscriminate targeting of civilians and medical facilities is against international law. And if countries, including the UK, continue to supply weapons to Israel they will be potentially facilitating war crimes

Please read more and send the e-mail:
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/gaza-israel-stop-arms

Do edit to personalise if you can but if this is not possible please send it as it is.

You could also write a letter to the foreign secretary :

Contact Details of Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/mr-philip-hammond/105

Petitions

Those who have survived death continue to suffer as a result of the lack of adequate medical care and attention.

Please sign the following petition asking The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP to send
Send RFA Argus hospital ship to Gaza

A health crisis is looming in Gaza for trapped civilians, with dire conditions in the main Gaza City El Shifa hospital. Doctors operate on the floor and in corridors. People die untreated. Media reports say only one x-ray machine is working with a lack of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and the most basic equipment. With borders closed, casualties are unable to leave to seek treatment elsewhere.

The hospital ship RFA Argus is moored in Falmouth. She is uniquely designed for this type of necessity. We request that the British Government unilaterally and rapidly deploys RFA Argus to Gaza.

Please read more and sign the petition:

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-rt-hon-philip-hammond-mp-send-rfa-argus-hospital-ship-to-gaza?alert_id=OBGCGaiMgv_F8o3abxhkSymiG9RSPmGWG0L8D0sFB%2FUxaZcxxhnU2k%3D&utm_campaign=114975&utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert

As with the above you could also send a letter or e-mail to the foreign secretary:

Contact details
http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/mr-philip-hammond/105

There are just so many petitions, there can be few people who do not care about the suffering of the people of Gaza.

Here is a petition from Save the Children:

Gaza and Israel conflict: Stop killing children

We must act now to protect children.
Join us in calling on the UN Secretary General to do all he can to put permanent ceasefire in place.

Read more and sign the petition:
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/donate/actions/gaza-and-israel-conflict-stop-killing-children#sthash.ZWc6sHlE.dpuf

The above is a simple click and send petition

Next is a petition from 38 degrees directed to:

DAVID CAMERON UK GOV’T/WORLD/ARAB LEADERS AND PRESIDENT OBAMA

Immediate and direct political intervention, with world Leaders political pressure to stop israel killing the people of Gaza, Palastine and to completely quit the terrorisation and illegal occupation of Palastine for good. The UK Government to address the serious War Crimes being carried out by israel in Palastine. The killings of innocent Gaza/Palastinian men, women and children needs to stop immediately and the illegal occupation of the Palastinian land and homes that have been occupied illegally needs to be put right.
Read More and sign the petition

STOP ISRAEL NOW..! STOP THEM KILLING PEOPLE IN GAZA/PALASTINE

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-isreal-now-stop-them-killing-gaza-palastine-peoples-1

Donations

The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched an appeal

The Gaza Crisis Appeal

200,000 people are displaced needing urgent help:

http://www.dec.org.uk/?gclid=CPXH5ZyihsACFUjHtAodIVcAcg

Protests around the world this weekend and the following
ACTION PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD RESPOND TO ASSAULT ON PALESTINE

More information:
http://inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/action-protests-around-the-world-respond-to-assault-on-palestine/

Don’t forget the suffering of animals caught up in this shocking massacre.
Please give a thought to the animal’s killed or harmed on both sides of the border.

Mideast Israel Palestinians

Palestinians walk past a donkey, still alive, as he lays wounded on a debris-filled road in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Link to source of image:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/26/gaza-destruction-photos_n_5623908.html

War as practiced by humans is unknown among other animals. But we drag them into all our wars regardless – either actively as conscripts, or just by destroying them and their homes with barely a passing thought.

Reports of animals caught up in the current war between Israel and the Gaza Palestinians are few and far between, but three particular stories did surface this week:

Read More:
http://www.earthintransition.org/2014/07/in-israel-gaza-war-animals-pay-price/#sthash.GLPrzlN3.dpuf

Related Information

Never Ask Me About Peace Again

August 07, 2014 “ICH” – “Al-Monitor.” – Tears flowed until my body ran dry of them when I received a telephone call on Aug. 3, informing me that my family had been targeted by two F-16 missiles in the city of Rafah. Such was the fate of our family in a war that still continues, with every family in the Gaza Strip receiving its share of sorrow and pain.

Read More:
http://inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/never-ask-me-about-peace-again-2/

Gaza protests: tens of thousands gather in London to call for end to conflict
Pro-Palestine groups hold march in hopes of raising more than £4.5m to help victims of attacks on Gaza:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/09/gaza-protest-march-london-raise-funds-victims-conflict-israel-palestine

Hospital attack as three day truce ends
http://news.sky.com/story/1315105/israel-denies-targeting-hospitals-in-gaza-strip