“Two armies that fight each other is like one large army that commits suicide.” -Henri Barbusse, “Le Feu”, 1915
Prior to WW1, America (and the West in general) had been at peace for decades
. However, military technology had made enormous advances in that time, such as greatly improved artillery guns, the machine gun, the battle tank, the use of railroads and automobiles for mass mobilization, chemical weapons, and the dawn of aerial reconnaissance.
Outdated Tactics and Obsolete Training
Military commanders and soldiers had no idea that their tactics were completely outdated in light of the major advances in military technology. The result was the biggest bloodbath outside of China in world history. Over 17 million people died during the war, mostly soldiers, and mostly from artillery and machine guns (excluding disease-related deaths).
The political blowback from the Great War led to the abrogation of entire empires and systems of government, and the routing of various political parties. Eager to avoid this mistake, I think our political leaders and military commanders have no interest in a stable, lasting world peace, because it leaves too much uncertainty in how new technologies will perform under combat conditions. Too much new technology all at once makes any military officer’s education completely moot, since the history books have no precedent for the kind of war he’ll be fighting.
The Solution: Perpetual War for Perpetual Readiness
“Sweet! A new toy! Let’s go see what it can do!”
The solution is to always have some “hot spot” or dirty little war going somewhere on the globe, where “peacekeeping missions” are required, and thus present an excellent opportunity to test new hardware, new tactics, and provide genuine combat experience to new recruits. New veterans are required to replace the old ones that retire or get KIA.
Perhaps the entire purpose of the Iraq War was to provide a testing ground for drone technologies (as well as to massively enrich the Bush and Cheney families’ already-wealthy friends in the business world).
The Impossibility of Peace
I am not hopeful for the possibility of genuine world peace, for even a single day, in our world for the rest of my lifetime. Washington is simply too addicted to war, and the military-industrial complex is too well-entrenched, too wealthy, too well-connected, and simply too powerful. There will always be some kind of war going on somewhere, simply to make sure new military technologies can be tested adequately before deployment on a wide scale. One could wave a magic wand and make all of Islam disappear tomorrow, and Washington would not react with relief, but with the most desperate panic – who are we going to fight wars with now? Where will the justification come for the tax payments? How will we test our our new toys?