Why We Have War When Almost Nobody Wants It

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
– Leo Tolstoy, author (1828-1910)

Ask the citizens of any country on the brink of war or involved with war whether they want war and their answer will almost always be an emphatic No. “But it’s necessary because…” Only a few people who make their lviing from war, who profit from war either monetarily or emotionally, support it.

If almost no one wants war, then why do we have so much of it? The United Nations recognizes 27 conflicts around the world that qualify as wars today. Though that is lower than at any time in history, it still adds up to a staggering death toll each year.

Through most of human history strong leaders have made and secured their positions either by involving their countries in war or in claiming that a foreign power was threatening war against them. Great leaders make their name and secure their power by scaring the life out of people by making them believe that a foreign power is near to attacking them and devastating them and their way of life, then proceeding to launch into a war to prove that they were right.

Was there a real threat that Hitler could have taken over the world in the 1940s? As contrary to historical propaganda as this may seem, not likely. Every great empire in history that desired to take over the known world failed when it spread itself too thin and it could not maintain what was needed to sustain constant occupation of so many places. Even the British Empire that controlled one-quarter of the land area of the planet was not threatend by war but spent itself out of existence by supplying its military.

The former Soviet Union did as well, both by buying influence in its sphere of controlled countries and by occupying Afghanistan. Occupying any country is extremely costly, as the US knows from its experience in Iraq. Hitler could never have occupied so many countries much longer than he did because he would have run out of money.

The people don’t want war, but they fight them and send their sons and daughters to fight in them because, time after time, they believe the threats spouted by their military and their militaristic leaders.

One way to avoid this devastation would be to teach every young person in high school how to recognize propaganda and how to recognize when their minds are being bent by someone with the power of persuasion. It wouldn’t be a hard subject to teach, but the power mongers would work tirelessly to prevent it from entering the curriculum.

We would have the power of numbers if enough of us care about it.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to shine some light down the long dark tunnel of politically motivated education.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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