General Sherman once said that "war is hell." And it is. No one wants to see the sausage being made, especially the sausage of war. During World War II the public only saw grainy newsreel footage of the war effort. And even as recently as the Vietnam War, correspondents sent back home accounts of the war accompanied by film footage shot by one of half a dozen news organizations. Today, with the modernity of technology available, not only can news organizations send images of war around the world instantaneously, but so can any citizen of any country that has a smart phone.
These instant and ubiquitous images of the horrors of war are used by our enemies and enemies of our allies, to shape public opinion and cause a deliberate loss of political will to fight. The images are also used by enemies at home to transform a once stoic and fierce nation into a herd of docile and scared little sheep. These pacifists have used images of the innocent victims of war as a lever against the forces of good to vanquish the forces of evil because the emotional infantilism of a nation will not allow war containing death.
Israel's recent war against the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza is a perfect example of my stated thesis. Even though Israel, in the words of one British commander, has done more to protect innocent lives than any military in history, they were still stopped short by the "world community" of defeating a brutal and evil enemy. The fact that Israel had a kill ratio of one civilian to every terrorist killed when the average for every other country has been four civilians for every terrorist killed, means nothing to a "world community" that has grown flaccid in its response to the barbarianism of modern day evil on this planet.
The limp-wristed response to the violent brutality of an ideology that seeks to impose oppression and tyranny not only on the Middle East, but the entire world, has come in part as a result of the promulgation of technology. A technology that not only brings the images of war into the living rooms of the average American, but into their very pockets on hand held mobile devices. The spectacle of beheadings, dead children, and innocent humans being shot as they lay in a row on the ground simply because they are not "of the one true religious faith," now follows its viewers through their daily lives and results in a weakness of the will to confront evil.
This weakness of will to confront evil in the individual translates to a dereliction of duty to destroy it by honorable forms of government that claim to protect liberty and freedom. Some who occupy powerful positions in such governments even use the images of the sausage of war being made to further their own radical agendas that are based on infecting citizens with weakness for war, thereby mitigating their passion for personal liberty and making them more amenable to oppression.
We must decide as a civilization whether the avoidance of the horrors of war in the present is such a desirable marker on the road to "a thousand years of darkness," or if we have the courage to "save this last best hope of man on earth" for future generations.