Why are there wars?
Because the common failings in man are extended nationally, the main ones being greed, envy,
power mania, suspicion, hatred, fear, revenge and abuse of religion. Wars are usually instigated by
one or a few upstarts. Historically they have been seen to take many forms. In earlier times two
armies met on what was known as a battlefield, a single bloody encounter settled the issue there and
then. Some were stretched out over a series of battles lasting for years, like the War Of The Roses,
and the English Civil War. Other wars have escalated on a huge scale dragging in many nations, and
lasting yet again for several years, resulting in the death and maiming of millions of people. For
example the First and Second World Wars. Unfortunately, as wars became more extended and more
brutal, the expanding boundaries of the conflict began to include more and more of the civilian
population; now we have reached a position where an aggressor is capable of virtually wiping out an
Ancient and mediaeval kings held enormous power, their superstitious and often poorly educated
followers, persuaded that the gods or God was on the side of their leader, risked and threw their lives
away in pursuit of his greedy ambitions, believing it was their duty to do so. Conquering militarily
weaker nations and empire building by power crazed despots has been a major cause of conflict from
ancient to modern times. Empire building is of course euphemism for stealing a nation's wealth and
enslaving its people by force of arms. The unfortunate thing, in my opinion, has been the hero
worship of these power-crazed killers. For example, history lessons in schools down the years have
singled out certain of these blood-thirsty characters to be national heroes, such as Alexander the
Great, a blood-thirsty murderer responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent
people in pursuit of his selfish ambitions.
Another source of amazement is the ease by which power-seeking maniacs have been able to
assemble huge numbers of followers to fight for their cause, when the only real beneficiary of victory
is obviously themselves. There could be no wars without huge numbers of people condescending to
fight. The skilful use of propaganda and telling bare faced lies have been the methods used by
'trusted' leaders. It still defies common sense to find that ambitious war-mongers can persuade a
million or more men to pick up rifles and to go and shoot at another million or more men who they
have never met before, yet have become indoctrinated to believe that they are there enemies. In the
past ambitious and greedy kings did at least lead their armies into battle, and were equally at risk of
being killed as their followers. However, since those times the instigators of wars send people to do
the fighting that they have instigated, whilst they stay behind well out of it.
This question comes at an ideal time, a close observation of the Iraq situation will illustrate at least
one way in which wars are started. At the moment the factors involved are greed, power mania,
suspicion, hatred and fear: probably a combination of all these will pull the trigger.
Perhaps, and this is not as flippant as it may seem, when logic and philosophy become a compulsory
part of the curriculum the chances of war will diminish. When a handful of government leaders falling
out with each other can extrapolate their differences to the extent of millions of innocent people being
killed in a world war, then there is something radically wrong with the general world view of the
populace. The ease with which governments and individuals can still influence the public by the use
of propaganda and blatant lies is very disturbing. World leaders are very much aware that they could
not produce wars without the acquiescence of the public, who are required to risk their lives in the
fighting. Millions of brave men stood up to their waists in mud shooting at each other in the First
World War, most not quite understanding why they were there. Perhaps when politicians learn to
represent the views of the people who have elected them, instead of believing that they are there to
do as they like, wars may come to an end. If each of two confronting nations held a referendum
before declaring war, there probably would never be another war.
This is a very old question.
Here is one of the old (but not necessarily invalid) answers:
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that
war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight
Or, in modern language: "Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do
they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it;
so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and
conflicts" (The Epistle of James 4.1-2).