War Is Necessary

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If war is necessary, it is a necessary evil. Its evil is sometimes concealed for a time by its glamour and excitement but when war is seen in its reality, there is a little glory about it. At its best, it is hideous calamity. It brings in awful loss of life. In recent great wars, millions of men, women and children were killed, many died of diseases, famines and untold sufferings. A war generally sweeps away the strongest and best men of a country and leaves the aged, the weak and the unfit to carry on the race. Then there are related sorrows and sufferings it causes to those whom it does not kills – the widows, the orphans and mothers rendered children’s. The divested homes and wrecked hearts tell the rest of the story with tears. It brings in destruction of property, waste of health, dislocation of trade and industry, crushing burdens of taxation and general upsetting of the social life of the nation on war. That is not all as it brings in international hatred and bitterness also with itself that remain to be seeds of more wars in the future. If war is such an evil, is it really necessary? Few people will be found to defend war as a good thing, especially after awful experiences of two Great World Wars. But many will argue that it is necessary. They say that so long as human nature is human nature, there must be wars, and that no other way has been devised of setting national disputes. This is an attitude of despair. Men have found way to abolish their great evils such as slavery and if they want to abolish war they can definitely find ways to do that as where there’s will there’s way.

2While viewing, as travelers usually do, the remarkable objects of curiosity at Venice, I was conducted through the different departments of the Arsenal; and as I contemplated the great storehouse of mortal engines, in which there is not only a large deposit of arms, but men are continually employed in making more, my thoughts rebounded, if I may use the expression, from what I beheld; and the effect was, that I was first as it were stunned into a state of amazement, and when I recovered from that, my ` mind expanded itself in reflections upon the horrid irrationality of war. What those reflections were I do not precisely recollect. But the general impression dwells upon my memory; and however strange it may seem, my opinion of the irrationality of war is still associated with the Arsenal of Venice. One particular however I well remember. When I saw workingmen engaged with grave assiduity in fashioning weapons of death, I was struck with wonder at the shortsightedness, the caecae mentes of human beings, who were thus soberly preparing the instruments of destruction of their own species. I have since found upon a closer study of man, that my wonder might have been spared; because there are very few men whose minds are sufficiently enlarged to comprehend universal or even extensive good. The views of most individuals are limited to their own happiness; and the workmen whom I beheld so busy in the Arsenal of Venice saw nothing but what was good in the labour for which they received such wages as procured them the comforts of life. That their immediate satisfaction was not hindered by a view of the remote consequential and contingent evils for which alone their labours could be at all useful, would not surprise one who has had a tolerable share of experience in life. We must have the telescope of philosophy to make us perceive distant ills; nay, we know that there are individuals of our species to whom the immediate misery of others is nothing in comparison with their own advantage--for we know that in every age there have been found men very willing to perform the office of executioner even for a moderate hire. To prepare instruments for the destruction of our species at large, is what I now see may very well be done by ordinary men, without starting, when they themselves are to run no risk. But I shall never forget, nor cease to wonder at...
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