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Critically Evaluate Hedge's Account for the Reasons for War. Does His Account Have Limited Applicability or Should It Be Regarded as a General Theory for War?

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1.) Critically Evaluate Hedge's account for the reasons for War. Does his account have limited applicability or should it be regarded as a general theory for war?

Chris Hedges gives many reasons for war; but I will start at the top and work my way down. He states that we as a people ennoble war, that we turn it into entertainment. In all we forget what war is really about and the effects that it has on the people directly involved in it. He also says that civilians are somewhat attracted to war simply because those not involved in it view war as honorable and noble. Hedges argues that war is both an addiction to a drug that offers an unbeatable high and the thrill of not being responsible for the normal moral constrictions of socially acceptable life, but at the same time be something that pull together the combatants like no other experience can. Once war is begun, all morality goes out the window and the combatants can justify their actions in any way they see fit. A couple reasons he puts on the table for this is that the combatants see their cause as a justifiable reason for their actions, they see their enemy as inhuman, and simply because their actions alone can justify and make their world right. But Hedges doesn't condone this line of thinking, I think that instead through his extended experience of war he sees war as being unjustifiable. In actuality, war is not permissible simply because it is just organized murder. No matter what the stated reasons for the war are, he says that the destruction of war in unforgivable. He instead calls for humility and compassion from the human race and sees this as humans' only hope for survival.

Hedges himself admits to taking the Ð''drug' of war for the many years that he was directly involved in it. I can definitely see how war can be viewed as a drug. Even though I have no desire at all to be involved in war, there are many socially unacceptable things that occur in war and in that context are totally acceptable, such as committing murder. But then we must ask ourselves, Ð''How does something we have been told is unacceptable our entire lives take such a powerful hold of us and send such a drive to do such horrible things?' I think the answer lies in Hedge's book What Every Person Should Know About War when he illustrates what actually happens to your body when put into a battle situation. He accredits the human instincts with much of the reasons for why we act the way we do in situations like this. Our heart rates triple, our minds go into Ð''flight or fight' mode, blood flow to large muscles increases, making you faster and stronger, and we will no longer be able to think clearly.

Hedges says that the only way to stop future ways from occurring is in the end, compassion. I think to this, we must also ask ourselves about the actions of countries of today & of the past's actions and in doing so, wonder if compassion was ever taken into account when making the decisions that they did. In which ways has America taken the path of compassion as opposed to taking the path of conflict? How can compassion keep nations from going to war? Is it really possible for the leaders of today to see past their own country's goals to reject them in favor of ultimate peace? Or is our own country's goals more important that peace between nations? Why is it so difficult for us and for all to feel compassion for our enemies? Why is something so important (essentially) to the survival of the human race that it is unattainable by any? I am not sure if anyone will every have an answer to any of these questions, if there is a right or wrong answer, or if there is just opinions on the matters. I read in the introduction that war has a deadly attraction (illustrated by his use of the metaphor of war being like a drug) and that even in all of its horribleness can give us what we need & long for in life. Throughout the book, he gives an unbiased account of war in all respects. Finally, near the end he says that "love alone gives us meaning that endures". I think that we as a human race need to critically analyze why it is that we seem to be in constant conflict. We need to make sure that it is love that ends up giving us meaning to our lives rather than war.

I think Hedges does a very good job in providing an impartial account war and had a very broad aptness for use in the history of war. I think that all of today's world leaders should skim through the pages of Ð''War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning' and perhaps that will change their outlooks on the recent (and not-so-recent) conflicts. Perhaps it will really change how they view them; perhaps it will not and they are too set in the ways to pay heed to another person's viewpoint. Perhaps they will disregard it simply because it is another person's viewpoint. Whatever the case, reading through his book has definitely opened my eyes to all the possible reasons for war and the possible resolutions that I had not thought of.

2.) Relying upon the reading & class discussion hazard an account for the reasons for the US invasion of Iraq

There have been several reasons popping up in the media & statements by Congress, the Senate,



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