An interlude for a quote

An intelligent man’s tongue is located behind his heart.
A fool’s heart is located behind his tongue.
Imam Ali

War always

General Hassan ShateriI was listening to Hizbullah’s Al Nour radio station two days ago when I heard, in the words of the radio speaker, that the main guy behind the reconstruction of the south, an Iranian engineer, Hassan Shateri, was killed in some kind of an ambush returning from Damascus to Beirut. I was wondering why the Syrian rebels would want to kill an engineer who was responsible for the building of homes in the South and, according still to the speaker, in Iran after the Iran and Iraq war, and in Afghanistan. Basically the guy comes to build after wars in conflict areas.

Next day I stumble across this article in the Guardian titled “Elite Iranian general assassinated near Syria-Lebanese border”. So now things made a bit more sense, although it still is a plus to know that Iranian generals can be sorts of philanthropists after war. Somehow people involved in war do have economic occupations linked to pre-war or post-war possibilities (Dick Cheney may be an example although away from the idea of comparing Shateri to Cheney).

In any case, killing this general along with the multiple events that have been taking place in the past two years are making sure that we are going straight into a regional explosion where Syria will be the main battlefield. For now the forces are not of equal match for a large scale mobilization to become a possibility, although this asymetry unfortunately increasingly resembles the Lebanese wars settings that were prevalent from 1975 to 1990: a weakened state/security complex, lots of parties who stand to gain from keeping it that way, not one party who can (or wants to) actually create a peace situation through hegemonic positioning and a militia economy slowly feeding on itself and largely annoyed if things would come to change.

The changes in warfare

video-games-hd-gears-of-war-horde-267715According to a statistic about the US military, “more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat“. This is an interesting article to read, all the more interesting for me as it makes me think of the significant changes in the conduct of warfare that took place more specifically since the age of technological innovations.

Just like peace, war practices, were part of ways human came to understand their selves and their relation with other humans. Just like peace had rules, war too. And just like peace permitted the construction of ethics to develop forms of human dignity, war was a mean through which humans could learn about themselves, about their representation of an enemy, how to deal with that enemy through certain form of ethical conduct, and by ethical, I mean some form of human excellence at perfecting skills that benefit everyone. So in this sense, the skills of a Hitler can’t really count.

But today, with war being practiced more and more from a distance, protagonists don’t come to really “face” an enemy. Technology has permitted the creation of an abstract field were combat techniques take place. In this sense, video games are actually the real way in which war take place because soldier are living that fantasy situation all throughout, unless a severe disruption contradicts the familiar story and threatens to disrupt their mental, spiritual and physical stability.

I don’t want to extend on all the implications of what that mean in the way war is conducted (there is a lot written on that), but I just want to point out how pointless the “war experience” has become for these soldiers who are not only unprepared to face conflict situations, as they increasingly live in a fantasy of what war could be, as a game, but do not use war as a transcendental or spiritual experience for developing ethical excellence.