A long free-verse poem about the way wars are fought now versus in the past.
|Cavemen tribes battled enemy
tribes face-to-face, while
looking into their eyes
as they smashed their bones
and split open their skulls
with stones and wooden clubs.
They fought in close quarters,
saw the fear on their faces.
Medieval armies fought on foot,
man-against-man as they hacked
away with sword and battleaxe
at close range. They saw limbs
cut off, bodies split open, heads fly
and at battle’s end were covered
with dust, sweat, and the blood of
their enemies. Victory meant
overwhelming the enemy army
on the field of battle by strength
of arm and personal courage.
Even the advent of bows and arrows
still required close proximity.
Invention of the rifle and cannon
separated the armies in battle,
but they remained in eyesight,
within rifle range of each other.
A soldier could kill without seeing
the face of his enemy. Nonetheless,
war still required troops be on the
same ground, in the same country.
They witnessed streams run red
with shed blood, saw fields of green
left trampled, dusty and blood-soaked.
They shared the pain and suffering
of battle along with their enemy.
The arrival of airplanes with their
bombs, ships with long-range guns,
tanks with machine guns and cannon
made the enemy into even more remote
and faceless targets. Rarely did
soldiers fight hand-to-hand anymore.
Killing became impersonal. One simply
dropped bombs on a city, fired artillery
shells at map coordinates, or fired shells
across the battlefield from inside a tank.
Modern warfare further eliminated
the need to share any proximity
with the enemy. Missiles could be
fired from planes, ships, submarines,
or land-based sites far removed
from the actual battleground.
Killing the enemy at great distances
became commonplace. Today a
technician sitting at a video console
outside Las Vegas can play a real-life
video game whereby he targets a site
half way around the world and directs a
drone to kill an unsuspecting individual
or group, their life and world ending
with a flash of light and burst of flames.
Afterwards the technician clocks out,
drives to his home for a fried chicken
supper with his loving wife and
adorable children, followed by a night
of reality television shows. No one
would suspect he spent the day at war.
Seeing and feeling the carnage
wrought by war close up served
as a reminder to those who would
wage future wars as to the terrible
consequences that followed upon
their political rhetoric and actions.
War should be atrocious and
experienced close up by both sides.
One must wonder if the ability
to kill an unseen, faceless enemy,
whose blood and guts go unseen
as his body is being blown to bits,
from such a long range away
does not make war more tenable,
hence bringing us closer to war.
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