“I Understand Battles but I Don’t Understand War. No One Wins in War.”
A fascinating quote from the long deceased General Stonewall Jackson. Another warrior and leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, expressed very similar sentiments.
War is a timely topic for today and I have questions about it all.
Why is it that many political leaders and even military leaders who are not directly involved in a conflict seem to encourage escalation to war wherever it occurs? People then instantly choose sides, whether the original issue was justified in the first place or whether it’s not.
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The focus never seems to be how to find peace, but rather which side should win.
So, there these leaders, the media and eventually the public are, cheering for one side of the other. There must be some benefit for never ending wars around the world. For the media, that’s easy—an audience. For stockholders and some corporations, there’s the continual production of weaponry needed to fuel such wars and for political leaders, it’s the use of confusion to camouflage other initiatives that benefit themselves and their agendas. For the public, there is none.
Ironically, it always seems to be the same folks stoking invasions, uprisings, and coups.
The outsiders immediately pick sides even when the battle has nothing to do with them. They get caught up in the emotion, much like the audiences in the coliseum did during the gladiator battles. There must be a winner and there must be a loser.
Money is always involved, too, since some become very rich during wartime. Others, as I mentioned before, find the confusion and expense of supporting or engaging in wars a great opportunity to introduce other initiatives for their own agenda, always involving enhanced power and of course, money.
Yet, in the emotional clamor, everyone forgets that it isn’t just the soldiers who suffer and sometimes die, it’s also the innocent of both countries who become victims. Even the innocent in countries who actively support or even provoke such wars feel the pain of economic burdens as were experienced in every world war or seemingly endless global conflicts like Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.
That’s why I was thrilled to hear iconic warriors share views that are contrary to the popular narrative. These souls, now with a more elevated perspective, are no longer caught up in the triviality involved in living life. They see the bigger picture and understand what life is really about. Believe me, life’s purpose is not engaging in or supporting war.
Let’s listen first to General Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863), who came to me in 2020 but who’s message about the Civil War is more than relevant today. The quote used in the headline of this article comes from him.
“I suppose you’re curious about the point in time in which I lived. It was dreadful. Man against man and in some cases family members fighting other relatives. Yes, some Northerners had kin in the South. The Civil War was bloody and tragic.
“Fighting for a cause was noble in my eyes and negro soldiers fought in battle too, for the North, to free the slaves in the South. Unlike today, where races seem to be against races, back then it was whites against whites fighting over the rights of Negros. I understand battles but I really don’t understand war—no one wins in war. Losses on both sides! Eventually one surrenders, then the physical battles stop but hatchets are never really buried. The same injustice just takes other forms.
“You’d think mankind would learn that political arguments, conflicts that result in wars and battles never will end until we change our hearts.
Jackson continued with more reflective thought about love being the only answer for a peaceful world. In fact, he said:
“So, keep walking your talk and existing in the love you so ardently profess. That is the way—the only way to real peace. With respect, (Confederate) Gen. Stonewall Jackson.”
One last soul, Napoleon Bonaparte (1716-1821), who rose to prominence during the French revolution and later became Emperor of France, offered the same point of view on warfare. Both these men were military leaders with Napoleon also being in political leadership, as well.
“Charge on! That could be the sort of message that is expected of me. Well, another surprise…
“There are always multiple ways to reach a goal. Conquer through persuasion, leverage, and the unspoken truth that if battle were to occur, the other would surely be defeated. I believe you call that peace through strength. It can also be using that advantage to benefit in many [other] ways.
“Conflict—aggressive forms aren’t necessary. And, if we allow our own fragile egos to fuel such an effort that burden lies with us and for that we answer.
Meanwhile, as leaders call the residents of Europe are suffering from fuel shortages during winter as well as staggering prices that plague the United States, too—perhaps related to the Ukrainian war and perhaps not, but no question this war has exacerbated much of it all. This war has also cost countries billions and billions when their own people are suffering black-outs, lack of energy and other crises which could be solved by money that’s now not available.
Napoleon continued with his assessment, and I believe does so for a reason. He opens with why these messages benefit the souls on the “other side” as well.
“Thank you for devoting your time to us; we do still need to help others for our own healing—and, for the readers, who need to always pause and consider new information for their growth, too.
“So, I’ll end, Sandy, as I began. Charge on!! My dear friend, your army is here beside you to wage a loving war on ignorance and indifference. We applaud you – Napoleon B.”
This article will close as it began. Nobody wins in war. That was the overall message and perhaps there is something we can learn here. War doesn’t make sense, ever. Not for all the rationale that are presented, not for all the needless expense and not for the loss of life as a result. It doesn’t make sense for those who win it, not for those who lose it and not even those remotely involved because this last group also suffers but in more subtle ways.
There is always a pathway to peace.
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