A Facebook friend posted a link to a news story about the use of drones (unmanned aircraft) in warfare, War By Remote Control: Drones Make It Easy.
Warfare used to be a bloody, up close affair. Men killed other men. Death was instantaneous for many and serious wounds eventually resulted in death for most others.
Now, war is too much like a video game. We have improved our methods of killing; invented weapons that can do maximum damage to other human beings from a great physical distance and left us able to distance ourselves emotionally from an enemy that is a blip on a screen. We can kill people whose faces we never see; we no longer have to wait until we see the whites of their eyes to fire on them. There is no sense of connection that the enemy breathes, loves, and lives just as we do, nothing to make us question war itself. We've made it so much easier to kill and so much easier to wash our hands of that killing. Ironic that in a nation that prides itself on being Christian, we've collectively become Pontius Pilate.
For today's Americans, who haven't had a modern war on American soil, war is a distant entity, brought home only when the wounded men and women, now saved due to advances in modern medicine, return to their families. The rest of us feel momentary sympathy for the wounded vets who return missing body parts and who are emotionally battered and damaged, but we forget them pretty soon. When we lie down in our beds, there are no drones flying in the dark over our heads.
Vietnam was the last war (technically a police action) that we had to fully feel and experience. The media was filled with Vietnam. We knew that the average age of the soldiers in Vietnam was 19. We knew how many died each day. We saw their flag draped coffins on the evening news. A lot of us didn't like war and we protested against it. We flashed peace symbols, sang protest songs, and marched in solidarity against not just the Vietnam War, but any war.
We have lost the urgency to prevent war or to put an end to existing wars. Our collective conscience has become as removed from the horrors of war as the remote mechanisms that we use to fight wars. War should be messy and painful. It should make us lose sleep at night. War must be atrocious enough to repulse us, to make us be willing to go to any means necessary to put an end to warfare. The automation of efficient killing makes it far easier to engage in warfare and that's the problem.