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Menings | Opinion > Briewe | Letters > SpeakEasy

War


De Waal Venter - 2008-08-13

This morning I came across something interesting on a very popular My.News24Blog. It is headed "War is stupid". It was posted this morning and already has 35 responses. The thrust of the posting is that war is completely wrong, wasteful, harmful and sad.

Most people would immediately agree with this sentiment. But if one thought about this a little more critically, another perspective emerges.

War is a form of aggression. And aggression is hard-wired into human beings, as it is in other animals. Without aggression no animal can survive. We all need aggression in order to maintain ourselves in a competitive environment.

In Georgia the situation is that there are groups of people who feel threatened by the Georgian government and culture, and who have been trying to gain their independence. We have now reached the stage where aggression from both sides has resulted in a war.

Human beings, as long as they remain human beings, will never be without aggression and humanity will probably never reach the point where there is no overt aggression, resulting in wars.

Any sane person knows that a war, however small, causes people to suffer, sometimes horribly. Humanity should work diligently towards ways and means to avoid wars and ameliorate such events when they do happen. To a certain extent this is already happening. Organisations like the United Nations play a (not very effective) role in defusing situations that could lead to a shooting war.

The ideal situation would be that there were the moral and political will, globally, to find fair solutions to problems leading to wars, and structures that were capable of finding these solutions, and implement them.

Unfortunately we are very far from such an ideal situation. Humanity is still immature. Let us fervently hope that we will be able to grow up fast enough before it is too late.

De Waal Venter