A TERRIBLE LOVE OF ·WAR. JAMESHILLMAN THEPENGUINPRESS NewYork 2004 THEPENGUINPRESS a member of PenguinGroup(USA)Inc. 375Hudson Street New York,New York10014 Copyright © JamesHillman,2004 All rightsreserved Pages 255-256 constitute anextension of this copyright page. LIBRARYOFCONGRESSCATALOGINGINPUBLICATIONDATA Hillman, James. Aterrible loveof war / James Hillman. p.cm. Includesbibliographical referencesand index. ISBN1-59420-011-4 1. War.2. War-Psychological aspects.I. Title. U21.2.H54352004 303.6'6-dc222003069049 Thisbook isprinted on acid-free paper.i§ Printed in tlIeUnited Statesof America 3579108642 DESIGNEDBYAMANDADEWEY Withoutlimitingtherightsundercopyrightreservedabove, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or in- troduced into a retrieval system,or transmitted, in any form or by any means(electronic,mechanical,photocopying,recording orotherwise),withouttheprior writtenpermissionof both tlIecopyrightownerandtlIeabovepublisherof thisbook. The scanning,uploading,anddistributionof thisbook viathe Internet or viaanyother means without the permission of the publisher isillegal and punishable by law.Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate inor en- courage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your sup- port of the author'srightsisappreciated. "The Lord isa man of war,The Lord isHis name." -EXODUS15 :3 CONTENTS chapterone WARISNORMAL chaptertwo WARISINHUMAN43 chapterthree WARISSUBLIME104 chapter four RELIGIONISWAR178 Acknowledgments21 9 Notes221 Bibliography2 2 9 Index24 J About the Author2 5 7 A TERRIBLE LOVE OFWAR ChapterOne: WARISNORMAL O NESEN TEN C EinonescenefromonefUm,Patton,sums up what this book tries to understand. The general walks the field after a battle. Churned earth, burnt tanks,dead men. He takes up adying officer,kisseshim,surveysthehavoc,and says:"I love it.God helpme Ido love it so.I loveit more than my life." Wecan never prevent war or speak sensiblyof peace and disar- mamentunlessweenterthisloveof war.Unlesswemoveour imaginations into the martial state of soul, we cannot comprehend itspull.Thismeans"going towar;'andthisbook aimsto ,induct our mindsintomilitaryservice. Wearenot going towar"in the nameof peace"asdeceitfulrhetoricsooftendeclares,butrather forwar's own sake:to understand themadnessof itslove. ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR Our civiliandisdainand pacifisthorror-all the legitimateand deep-feltaversiontoeverythingtodowiththemilitaryandthe warrior-must be setaside.This because the first principle of psy- chologicalmethodholdsthatanyphenomenontobeunderstood must be sympathetically imagined. No syndromecanbetrulydis- lodged fromitscursedcondition unlesswefirstmove imagination into itsheart. War isfirstof allapsychologicaltask,perhapsfirstof allpsy- chological tasksbecause it threatens your life and mine directly,and theexistenceof alllivingbeings.Thebelltollsforthee,andall. Nothing can escape thermonuclear rage,and if the burning and its aftermath areunimaginable,their cause, war, isnot. War isalsoapsychologicaltaskbecausephilosophyandtheol- ogy,thefieldssupposedtodotheheavythinking forour species, haveneglectedwar'soverridingimportance."Waristhefatherof all,"saidHeraclitusatthebeginningsof Westernthought,which Emmanuel Levinas restatesin recent Western thought as"being re- vealsitself aswar."lIf it isaprimordial component of being,then warfatherstheverystructureof existenceandourthinking about it:our ideasof theuniverse,of religion,of ethics;wardetermines the thought patterns of Aristotle's logic of opposites,Kant's antino- mies, Darwin's natural selection, Marx's struggle of classes,and even Freud'srepressionof theid bytheegoandsuperego.Wethinkin warliketerms,feelourselvesatwarwithourselves,andunknow- ingly believe predation, territorial defense,conquest, and the inter- minable battle of opposing forcesarethe ground rules of existence. Yet,for all this, has ever a major Western philosopher-with the greatexception'ofThomasHobbes,whoseLeviathanwaspub- lishedthreeandahalf centuriesago-delivered a full-scaleassault onthetopic,or givenittheprimaryimportancewardeservesin thehierarchyof themes?ImmanuelKantcametoitlate(1795) withabrief essaywrittenwhenhewaspastseventyandafterhe 2 WARISNORMAL had publishedhismain works.He statesthetheme of thischapter in a few words much like Hobbes:"The stateof peace among men living side by sideisnot the natural state;the natural state isone of war."Thoughwaristheprimaryhumancondition,hisfocusis upon "perpetual peace" which isthe titleof hisessay.About peace philosophersandtheologianshavemuchtosay,andweshalltake up peace in our stride. Fallen fromthehigher mind'scentralcontemplation,war tends tobeexaminedpiecemealbyspecialists,or setasideas"history" where it then becomes a subchapter called "military history" in the hands of scholarsand reporters dedicated to the record of facts . Or itsstudy isplacedoutsidethemainstream,isolatedin policyinsti-' tutions(often at war themselveswithrival institutions). The magic of theirthinkingtransmuteskillinginto"takingout,"bloodshed into "body counts,"and the chaos of battle into "scenarios," "game theory;' "cost benefits;' as weapons become "toys" and bombs "smart." Especiallyneeded isnot more specialist inquiry into past warsand futurewars, but rather an archetypalpsychology-the myths,phi- losophy,and theology of war's deepest mind. That isthe purpose of thisbook. There are,of course,many excellent studiesof aggression,pre- dation,geneticcompetition,andviolence;worksonpack,mob, and crowd behavior;on conflict resolution;on classstruggle,revo- lution, and tyranny; on genocide and war crimes; on sacrifice, war- riorcults,opposingtribalmoieties;ongeopoliticalstrategies,the technologyof weaponry,andtextsdetailingthepracticeandthe- oryof wagingwarsingeneralandtheanalysisbyfinemindsof particularwars;andlastly,alwayslastly,ontheterribleeff.t:ctsof war on itsremnants. Militaryhistorians,warreporterslonginthefield,andmajor commanders in their memoirs of warsfromwhom Ihavelearned andrespectfullyciteinthepagesthatfollowhaveofferedtheir 3 ATERRIBLELOVEOfWAR heartfelt knowledge.1ndividual intellectualsand excellent modern writers, among them Freud, Einstein, Simone Weil, Virginia Woolf, HannahArendt,Robert J.Lifton,SusanGriffin, JonathanSchell, Barbara Tuchman, and Paul Fussell,havebrought their intelligence to the nature of war,ashavegreat artists from Goya,say,to Brecht. Nonetheless,Ropp's wide-ranging survey of the idea of war con- cludes:"Thevoluminousworksof contemporarymilitaryintel- lectualscontainnonewideasoftheoriginsofwar.... Inthis situation a 'satisfactory' scientific view of war isasremote asever."2 From another morepsychological perspective,SusanSontag con- cludes similarly:"We truly can't imagine what it waslike. Wecan't imaginehow dreadful,how terrifYingwar is-and how normal it becomes.Can'tunderstand,can'timagine.That'swhateverysol- dier,and every journalist and aid worker and independent observer who hasput in time under fireand had the luck to elude the death thatstruckdownothersnearby,stubbornlyfeels.Andtheyare right."3But,here,sheiswrong. "Can't understand,can't imagine"isunacceptable.It getsusoff thehook,admittingdefeatbeforewehaveevenbegun.Liftonhas saidthetaskin our timesisto"imagine thereal."4Robert McNa- mara,secretary of defenseduring much of the Vietnam War,look- ingback,writes:"wecannowunderstandthesecatastrophesfor what they were:essentially the products of a failure of imagination." Surprise and itsconsequents, panic and terror, are due to"the pov- erty of expectations-the failureof imagination," according to an- othersecretaryof defense,DonaldRumsfeld. 5 Whencomparing the surpriseatPearlHarbor with thatof theTwin Towers,thedi- rectoroftheNationalSecurityAgency,MichaelHayden,said, "perhaps it wasmorea failureof imagination thistimethan last."6 Failure of imagination is another way of describing "persistence in error," which Barbara Tuchman says leads nations and their lead- ersdowntheroadtodisasteron "the marchof folly,"7asshecalls 4 WARISNORMAL her study of wars from Troy to Vietnam. The origin of these disas- ters lies in the unimaginative mind-set of "political and bureaucratic lifethat subdues the functioning intellect in favorof "working the levers."8Workingtheleversofduty,followingthehierarchyof command without imagininganything beyondthenarrownessof factsreducedtoyetnarrowernumbers,preciselydescribesFranz Stangl, who ran the Treblinka death camp,9 and also describes what Hannah Arendt definesasevil,drawing her paradigmaticexample fromthefailureof intellectandimaginationin Adolf Eichmann. If we want war'shorror to be abated sothat lifemay goon, it is necessarytounderstandandimagine. Wehumansarethespecies privilegedinregardtounderstanding.Onlywehavethefaculty and the scopeforcomprehending theplanet'squandaries.Perhaps that iswhat we are here for:to bring appreciativeunderstanding to the phenomena that have no need to understand themselves. It may even be a moral obligation to try to comprehend war. That famous phrase of William James, "the moral equivalent of war,"with which he meant themobilizationof moraleffort,today meanstheeffort of imagination proposed by Lifton and ducked by Sontag. The failuretounderstand may be becauseour imaginations are impaired andour modesof comprehension need a paradigm shift. If theponderousobjectwardoesnotyieldtoourtool,thenwe haveto put downthat tool and search foranother. The frustration maynotliesimplyintheobduracyof war-that itisessentially un-understandable, unimaginable. Isit war'sfaultthat we havenot graspeditsmeanings?Wehavetoinvestigatethefaultinessof our tool:why can't our method of understanding understand ~ a r ?An- swer: according to Einstein, problems cannot be solved at the same levelof thinking that created them. Youwouldexpectthatthewar-wise,themastersof war,like Sun Tzu, Mao Tse-tung, Machiavelli,and Clausewitz, would have come toconclusions about war beyond adviceforitsconduct . For 5 ATERR[BLELOVEOFWAR them, however,it isa:matter of practical science. "The elements of theartof war arefirst,measurementof space;second,estimation ofquantities;third,calculations;fourth,comparisons;andfifth, chances of victory."lOLong before there were glimmerings of mod- ernscientificmethod,thatmind-setwasalreadyappliedtowar. Theempiricalmind-setistimeless,archetypal.It startsfromthe given-war ishere,isnow,sowhat'stodo?Speculationsabout its underlying reason,andwhyor what itisinthefirstplace,distract fromthehugetaskof howtobring wartovictory."No theorist, andnocommander,"writesClausewitz,"shouldbotherhimself withpsychologicalandphilosophicalsophistries."l1Eventhough the rational science of war admits the obvious,that in "military af- fairsrealityissurprisinglyelusive,"12itomitsfromitscalculations the elusive-and often determining-factors such asfighting spirit, weather,personalproclivitiesofthegenerals,politicalpressures, healthof participants, poor intelligence,technological breakdowns, misinterpreted orders,residues in memory of similar events. War is the playground of the incalculable. "Asfliesto wanton boys,are we tothe Gods,/They killusfortheir sport"(Lear4.1.39). A keyto understanding war isgiven by the normality of its surprisingly elu- slveunreason. Wardemandsaleapof imaginationasextraordinaryandfan- tasticasthe phenomenon itself.Our usualcategoriesarenot large enough,reducing war'smeaning toexplaining itscauses. Tolstoy mocked the idea of discovering the causes of war.Inhis postscript toWar and Peace, widely considered the most imaginative and fulleststudyof wareverattempted,heconcludes:"Why did millions of people begin to kill one another? Who told them to do it?Itwould seem thatit wascleartoeachof them thatthiscould not benefit any of them, but would be worse for them all. Why did theydoit?Endlessretrospectiveconjecturescanbe made,andare 6 WARISNORMAL made,of the causesof thissenselessevent,but the immensenum- ber of theseexplanations,andtheirconcurrenceinonepurpose, only provesthatthecauseswereinnumerableand thatnotoneof themdeservestobecalledthecause."!3For Tolstoywar wasgov- ernedbysomething likeacollectiveforcebeyond individualhu- man will. The task,then,isto imaginethe natureof thiscollective force. War's terrifying prospect brings us to a crucial moment in the history of themind,amomentwhenimaginationbecomesthemethod of choice, and the sympathetic psychologizing learned in a century of consulting roomstakesprecedenceovertheoutdated privileg- ing of scientificobjectivity. Asa psychologist I learned long ago that I could not explain my patients'behavior,noranyone's,includingmyown.Therewere reasonsenough:traumas,shamesand miseries,defectsin character, birthorderwithinthefamily,physiology-endlesscausesthatI imagined were explanations. But these possible causes gave little un- derstandingthatseemedtodependonsomethingelse,reasonsof another sort. Later on,I learned that thisdivision that baffled me in practice--explaining andthemethodof scienceontheonehand and, on the other, understanding and the approach of psychology- hadalreadybeenmadeclearbyGermanthinkersfromNietzsche and Dilthey through Husser!,Heidegger, Jaspers, and Gadamer. An- cestortothemallwastheNeopolitangenius,Giambattista Vico, who invented a "new science"(the titleof hisbook of 1725)in re- volt againstunsatisfactoryexplanationsof human affairsthatrested on Newton's and Descartes'kind of thinking. Vicothinkslikeadepthpsychologist.LikeFreud,hes«eksto getbelowconventionalconstructsintohiddenlayersanddistant happenings.Causalreasoningcomeslateonthestage,saysVico. The basiclayerof themind ispoetic,mythic,expressed byuniver- 7 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR sali jantastici,which 1translateasarchetypalpatternsof imagina- tion. Thematics are his interest, whether in law or in language or in literature-the recurring themes,the everlasting,ubiquitous, emo- tional,unavoidablepatternsandforcesthatplaythroughanyhu- man life and human society, the forceswe must bow to and are best generalizedasarchetypaLTograsptheunderlyingpressuresthat move human affairs we haveto dig deep, performing an archeology in the mind to lay bare the mythic themes that abidethrough time, timelessly.War isone of thesetimelessforces. Theinstrumentof thisdigispenetration:continuingtomove forward with insight to gain understanding. "Understanding isnever acompleted staticstateof mind,"writestheprofound philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. "It always bears the character of the proc- ess of penetration ... when we realize ourselves asengaged in a proc- essof penetration,wehavea fullerself-knowledge."Hecontinues: "If civilizationistosurvive,theexpansionofunderstandingisa prime necessity."14Andhowdoesunderstanding grow?"The sense of penetration ... hastodowith thegrowth of understanding."15 War asks for this kind of penetration, elseitshorrors remain un- intelligible and abnormaL We have to go to deepthinkers with pen- etrating minds,and these may not be the experts on war with wide experienceor thosewhobreedtheirtheoriesinthink tanks.The fact that philosophers have not put war in the center of their works maybe lessa sinthanablessing,sincewhat philosophy offersbest to thisinquiry islessa completed theory than the invitation toen- joyhardthinkingandfreeimagining.Thewaysphilosophers' mindswork,their waysof thinking aremorevaluabletothestu- dent than the conclusions of their thought. Archetypalpatternsof imagination,theuniversali jantastici,em- bracebothrationalandirrationalevents,bothnormalandabnor- mal. These distinctions fadeaswe penetrate into the great universals of experience.Worship;sexuallove;violence;death,disposal,and 8 WAR.ISNORMAL mourning;initiation;thehearth;ancestorsanddescendents;the makingof art-and war,aretimelessthemesof humanexistence givenmeaningbymyths.Or,toputitotherwise:mythsarethe normsof theunreasonable.Thatrecognitionisthegreatestof all achievementsof theGreekmind,singling out thatculture fromall others.TheGreeksperfectedtragedy,whichshowsdirectlythe mythicgovernanceof humanaffairswithin states,withinfamilies, within individuals.Only theGreekscould articulatetragedytothis pitch and therefore their imagination ismost relevant for the tragedy with which we arehere engaged:war. Thismeansthat tounderstand war wehavetoget at itsmyths, recognizethat war isa mythical happening,that thosein the midst of itareremovedtoamythicalstateof being,thattheirreturn fromit seemsrationallyinexplicable,and that the loveof war tells of a love of the gods,the gods of war;and that no other account- political,historical,sociological,psychoanalytical-canpenetrate (which iswhy war remains "un-imaginable" and "un-understood") tothedepthsof inhumancruelty,horror,andtragedyandtothe heightsofmysticaltranshumansublimity.Mostotheraccounts treat war without myth, without the gods,asif they were dead and gone. Yetwhere elsein human experience,except in thethroesof ardor-that strangecouplingof lovewithwar-do Wefindour- selvestransportedtoa mythicalcondition and thegodsmostreal? Before warsbegin until their last skirmish,a heavy,fatefulfeel- ingof necessityoverhangswar;nowayout.Thisistheeffectof myth.Humanthoughtandactionissubjecttosuddeninterven- tions of fortuneand accident-the stray bullet,the lost order;"for the want of a nail,the shoe was lost ..."This unpredictabilit¥ isat- testedtothroughouthistory.Therefore,arationalscienceof war can only go so far,only to the edge of understanding. At that point a leap of imagination iscalled for,a leapinto myth. Theexplanationsgivenbyscientificthinkingareindeedre- 9 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR quiredfortheconductof war.Itcancalculateandexplainthe causesof artillerymissesandlogisticfailures,anditcertainlycan build precisely efficient weapons.But howcanit takeusinto bat- tleor toward grasping war? We cannot understand the Civil War by pointingtoitsimmediatecause--thefiringonFortSumterin South Carolina in 1861-nor by its proximate cause--the election of Lincolnintheautumnof 186D--norbyalistof underlying causes,i.e.,thepassionsthatriledtheunion:secession,abolition, theeconomicsof cotton,theexpansionwestward,power contest in theSenate ... adinfinitum.Nor willacompilation of the fac- tors of that war's complexity yield what we seek. Even the total sum of everyexplanationyoucanmuster willnot providemeaningto the horrific,drawn-out,repetitive butchery of battle after battleof thatfour-year-longwar.SameforVietnam,fortheNapoleonic wars.Themissinglinkinthechainof causesistheonethatties themtounderstanding.Patton'semotionaleruption-"Iloveit. GodhelpmeIdoloveitso"-leads uscloserthananentirenet- work of explanations. Now wearein a better positiontoagreewith Ropp'sconclu- sion(quoted above)that a '''satisfactory' scientific view of war isas remote asever."It will remain remote forever because the meaning of war isbeyond theassemblageof itsdata and causalexplanation. Thisdour conclusion promotes an unfortunate belief:because war cannot be explained,it cannot be understood. I expect this book to pull usout of this predicament, that some- thingsopowerfulandsousualcannotfindadequatemeasure.A psychology that is philosophical, a philosophy that ispsychological, ought to be ableto fathom itsdarkness. War begs for meaning,and amazinglyalsog i ~ e smeaning,a meaning foundin the midstof its chaos.Men whosurvivebattlecome back and sayit wasthemost meaningfultime of their lives,transcendent toallother meanings. Major books have collected these accounts and arededicated to this 10 WAR,'SNORMAL theme. Despitethe wasting confusion,accidental senselessness,and the numbing dread, meaning appears among those engaged, mean- ing withoutexplanation,without fullunderstanding,yet lastinga lifetime. After World War IIa Frenchwoman said to J.Glenn Gray, "You know that I do not love war or want it toreturn. But at least it mademe feelalive,asI havenot feltalivebefore or since."16 EXCURSION: ThePersonalPart H OWcan I assume the role of Analyst of War?How do I dare point to the omissions of others and set myself up asan authority deserving your attention? I never "fought ... knee deepin the saltmarsh,heaving a cutlass,"asT.S. Eliot in " Gerontion"saysof anold man reflecting on hislife.My "war experience"wasallstatesidein anavalhospital,phar- macist mate 2nd class, a corpsman assigned initially to a ward of thewar-deafenedandtonightduty with amputees,and thenforoverayearasaspecialistassistanttothewar- blinded.Iwasjusteighteen,andtwentywhendischarged. What I knew of battle wasonly itsremnants. Remnants too in what wasthen called"war-torn Europe"where,asara- dionewswriter(1946),theenvironmentwasscavengers, rubble,and displaced persons. AltogetherdifferentfromthewarmapsIlovedto study-the Solomon Islands,Burma,the Ukraine-and the campaign strategies I overheard when I was a copyboy in the newsroomof WTOPinWashingtonduringtheperilous year,1943. TheclosestIgottotheactionwaspickingup l pressreleasesover atthePentagon and standing in the back 11 I of the room when d"hing wa, cOHespondent Edc Sevareid camein and told about eventsmiles and milesaway. The big wars(Korea, Vietnam)thatfollowed"my" war came to me,then living farawayfrom America,not aswars but asnews, much like the recent wars in former Yugoslavia, . Rwanda,and MghanistanareforAmericans,oceansapart. Warsfor discussion;theengagement of strangers. BacktosophomoreEnglish,Room214.TheShake- speareplayforthat yearwas JuliusCaesar.TheonlypieceI chose and learned by heart was: Domestic furyand fiercecivil strife Shall cumber allthe partsif Italy; Bloodanddestructionshallbesoinuse And dreadfulobjectsso familiar, Thatmothersshallbut smilewhentheybehold Theirinfantsquarter'd withthehandsifwar; All pity chokedwithcustomoffelldeeds: And Caesar'sspirit,ranging forrevenge, WithAte byhissidecomehot fromhell, Shallintheseconfineswitha monarch'svoice Cry'Havoc!'andletslipthedogsof war. ... (J.I. 26 3 tf ) AsasmallboyIhadplayedwithleadsoldierswhose heads could come off,and later I built my fleet of a hundred self-designed warshipsof balsawood fora complicated war gamespreadoutonthefloor.(Iowned apreciouscopyof Jane'sFighting Ships.)In the streets weplayed with water pis- tolsandcapguns.CopsandRobbers,notCowboysand 12 Indians:thiswasNew Jersey.Iremembertoomyfather's stereopticonofWorldWarI,imagesonglasswhichwe sneaked to look at becausehenever showed it:3-D images of battlefieldsinBelgium-muddytrenches,blowntrees, gaunt men under round helmets. IcanevenrecallthemilitaryparadesontheBoardwalk onMemorialDayandArmisticeDayintheearly1930s. Firstcametheveteransof theCivilWarandtheSpanish- American War. Some still walking. And terrifying men with blue-gray faces,fromgassing and shrapnel I wastold.Rem- nantsof wars long agoand faraway. Asaboyof eleven"heroicadventure"meantRichard Halliburton and AmeliaEarhart,deep-seadiversandarctic explorerson theSteelPier. Ihadnomilitaryidols.Ididn't even own a BBgun. By1944whenIwasdraftedintotheNavy,myhigh schoolbuddieshad long been inuniform.One wasalready drowned,washedoff thedeckof adestroyer.Mybrother- in-law wasa captain in theQuartermaster Corps running a truckcompanyintheRed-BallExpresssupplyingPatton's army;my fatherhadcome into Normandy with theCana- dians;mybrotherwasfiyingaP-47.Me?Iwaslearning bandaging.Butsomethingwasworkingonme,inme.I wrote sob-sister war poems. Whatever it wasstruck directlywhileI wasdrivingpast anold battlefield of 1914-18 France. Suddenly I found m y ~ selfchokedup-justlookingthroughacarwindow.For whom,forwhat?Warasaninexplicableemotion.Which battle? Who died here?I had no idea,but I did recallSand- burg's"Grass": 13 Pilethebodieshighat Austerlitz andWaterloo. Shovelthemunder andletmework-- I amthe grass;I coverall. Twoyears,tenyears,andthe passengersasktheconductor: What placeisthis? Wherearewenow? I amthe grass. Let mework. Thegrassnevergrewonmymemoriesof amputees.I could notsitdowninaParisMetroseatmarked"reserved forthemutilatedof war."Mygenerationremembersmen with no legssitting on littlerolling platforms,selling pencils andshoestrings(!).Aspart of my job inthenavalhospitalI tookTalkingBooks(recordedreadingsfortheblind)to other wards.I used to visit a Marine my agewho had lost all four.I look atmy handsnow asI writethis. WhenIwentwithafriendonamonth'swalk-around- train-aroundItalyin thespring of 1947,Ipushedtogobe- yond Siracusa to the beach of Gela,imagining Patton's troops beginningtheirinvasionof Europeonlyfouryearsbefore. Finally,theCivil War.Our war,our "Iliad"-as remote, heroic,andunfathomableastheworldofHomer.Inmy later yearsIhavebeen going to battlefields-Shiloh, Antie- tam,Vicksburg,ColdHarbor,Petersburg,Chickamauga, Appomattox-talking and walking with friends.Amood of puzzlement,reverie,and a kind of sacred sadness.For what? Maybe,for writing this book. 1 4 Writingbooksformeisanywaymuchlikeamilitary campaign. Iconfesstofightingmywaythroughwithmili- tary metaphors. Thereisastrategy,anoverallconcept,and there aretacticsallalong the way.When stuck,don't dig in; keepmovingforward.Don'tobsesstryingtoreducea strongpointbysheerforceor layingsiege.Isolateitandin time it will fallby itself.No pitched battles with the interior voicesof saboteurs,critics,adversaries.Alightskirmish,a showerof arrows,anddisappearintothenextparagraph. Camouflageyourownvulnerability,yourlackof reserves with showyparades and bugles-remember everyoneelseis equally vulnerable. Pillage the storehouses of thought, refur- bish old material and useit toreinforce your lines. Abandon ground youcan'texploit,but when you'vegot anissueon therun,takealltheterritory youcan. Writingonwarbringswarcloser,bringsdeathcloser. WillI seethisthroughto itsend;could Ibe stopped in my tracks?Letusimaginethistobeapropitiation,anoffering tothe gods who governthesethings. Theseoccasionalconfessionsanddistantimagesaremy pedigree. Yourauthor'sauthorityrestsonlyon thisthin red lineof calling. That calling,astrologers would claim,wasal- readywrittenintheheavens:Plutoascending,Sunand MoonconjunctinAries;Mercurythere,too.Tradition would sayI wasa "child of Mars." Strange indeed that what I am assuming to be my last book should land on the shores of thistheme;again,assooftenwith mythemes,thisdoes not derivefrompersonalexperience-unless "personalex- perience" includes the ferments of the soul and not only bi- ographicalactualities.Weareusuallytaughttowritewhat 1 5 wereally know,but arewe not drawn more into the depths bywhatwedon'tquiteknow?Anoldadagesays:"Ap- proachtheunknownbywayof unknowing."Iamnot an empiricist,somy passion isnot encumbered with expertise. IlikeSartre'sphilosophicaldictum:"He whobeginswith factswillnever arriveatessences."My having been witness only to war'sremnants and saved from war's action,hasper- hapssavedthistheme formy latelife.Whatever it wasthat earlier gaveme pausenow givesme cause. The step into the mind of war isa change of pace. Abrupt. Dis- turbing.Thecivilworld anditscivilitiesleftbehind.It isasif we areunder ordersto get on with it swiftly.The very styleof writing accommodatestoitssubject,submitting towhattheRenaissance writersknewasthe"rhetoricof speed"whosepatron wasMars, god of war.Hismetalisironwhichlikesfire,andrustswhen set asidein reflection;iron makesa poor mirror. Psychologistsarenotathomeinthisstyle.Wearearmchair generals; we like to watch. We listen for echoes and prefer to move sideways. Our passion is for the past, how things got this way,rather than hoping for a decisivevictory. Besides,we prefer the wounded tothevictors.Apsychology book whose subjectunder analysisis war will haveto developdifferent tactics for winning over itsread- ers,who will most likely defend against its offensive tone and its as- saults on entrenched thought. Readers may find themselves joining an underground resistance, looking for weak spots and exposed po- sitions. It will seem asif the book iswritten lessto cajole the reader than to knock him,or her,out flat.But war isnot a normal condi- tion,sowhy expect a normal study? Shouldn't the abnormalities of war sound in the voice speaking about it? 16 WARISNORMAL Halt!Iswar abnormal? I findit normal in that it iswith usevery dayandnever seemstogoaway.After World War IIsubsidedand thebigconflictsthatfollowedit(India,Korea,Algeria,Biafra, Vietnam,Israel/ Egypt),warwentrighton. Since1975theglobe hasbeenengagedinwarsinHaiti,Grenada,theFalklands,Peru, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador,Guatemala; in Lebanon, Palestine,Israel,Iran,Iraq,Kuwait;in Uganda,Rwanda, Mozam- bique, Angola,Sierra Leone,Liberia,Congo, Eritrea,Chad, Mau- ritania,Somalia,Algeria(again) , Sudan;in Afghanistan, Myanmar, India/Pakistan,Kashmir,SriLanka,thePhilippines,Cambodia, EastTimor,Sumatra,Irian;inBosnia,Croatia,Kosovo,Ireland, Chechnya,Georgia,Romania,Basque/Spain ... Youmayknow of others;stillothers onlytheparticipantsknow.Someon thislist arestill going on asI write,while new ones breakout asyou read. SomeofthemaresuddeneruptionsliketheFalklands,andthe sheepgraze again.Others in places likeAlgeria and the Sudanand Palestine belong to the normal round,utterly normative fordefin- ing daily life. Thisnormal roundof warfarehasbeen going on asfarback as memory stretches.During thefivethousandsixhundredyearsof writtenhistory,fourteenthousandsixhundredwarshavebeen recorded.Twoor threewarseach yearof humanhistory.Edward Creasy'sFifteenDecisiveBattles(1851)andVictorDavisHanson's Carnageand Culturehavetaught usthat the turning points of West- ern civilizationoccur in battlesandtheir"killing sprees":Salamis and Carthage, Tours and Lepanto, Constantinople, Waterloo, Mid- way,Stalingrad.Which youchooseasthetopfifteendependson your own criteria,but the point iscarried-the ultimatedetermi- nationofhistoricalfatedependsonbattlewhoseoutcome,we havealsobeen taught,depends upon an invisible genius,a leader,a hero,who,ata criticalmoment,or in prior indefatigableprepara- tion,"saves the day."In him a transcendent spirit ismanifested. The 1 7 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR battleand itspersonified epitome,thisvictor,thisgenius,become salvationalrepresentationsinour secularhistory.Laurelsforhalo. The statuesin our parks,thenamesof our grand avenues,andthe holidayswecelebrate--andnotonlyinWesternsocieties-com- memoratethe salvational aspect of battle. Neglected inCreasyandHansonarethethousandsof indeci- siveones,foughtwith equal valor,yet which ended inconclusively or yielded no victory fortheultimate victor of the war.Centuries of namelessbodiesinunheraldedfields.Unsungheroes;diedin vain;lost cause. The ferocityof battle may havelittle todo with its outcomeandtheoutcomelittletodowiththeoutcomeof the war.Italy,a "victor" of World War I,suffered more than half a mil- liondeathsinthefierceIsonzocampaignwhosefruitwasonlya disastrousdefeat.At VerdunamillionFrenchandGermancasual- tiesaccomplishednothingforeither side."Thebonesof perhaps 170,000 French soldierslieinthemassiveossuaryof Douaumont above Verdun."!7 Speaking of bones, more than a million bushels of men and horses were harvested fromthe battlefields of Napoleon's wars(Austerlitz,Leipzig,Waterloo,andothers),shippedtoEn- gland,ground into bone meal by normal workers at normal jobs. 18 EXCURSION: "Normal" W hat is"normal"? What aretheeffectsof thisword, what does it imply? Let'sfirst look at itsbeginnings. "Norm"and"normal"derivefromtheLatinwordnorma, meaningacarpenter'ssquare.Normaisatechnicalinstru- mentaltermforarightangle;itbelongsfirsttoapplied geometry.Normalisin Latinmeans"madeaccordingtothe 18 square";normaliter,"inastraightline,directly."Inthesix- teenth and seventeenth centuries "normal" meant rectangu- lar,standing at a right angle;then,in the eighteen hundreds usagewidenedandflattenedthestrictnessof itsmeaning: normal asregular (1828) ; normal school for teacher training (1834);normalasaverageinphysics(1859);normalize (1865);and normal as usual(1890). Thetroubledfeelingthatariseswhenwehear"waris normal"comesfromtroublesinthewaythewordisused. "Normal"canbeunderstoodintwoways,whichtendto fusesothatwetendtobelievewhatisaverage(normal)is alsostandardandright,i.e.,theright standard. The average sense of "normal" isstatistical,referring to occurrences that are usual,common, frequent,regular. This sense of the word canbe depicted by meansof a graph,for instance,the mid- dlesection of a Gaussiancurve where it swells.Hence,nor- malasmiddle,mean,centered;andabnormalasmarginal, eccentric,atthe edge. Abnormal then relieson quantitative or mathematical descriptions, as unusual,infrequent,excep- tional,deviate,rare,odd,anomalous. The second useof "normal"does not imply averageand ordinary,butratherideal.Thissecondmeaningstillrelies ontheroot--square,straight,upright;butthesetechnical descriptivetermsnow becomenormalized intometaphors. Normsnowmeanstandards.Apreestablishedimagepre- scribes the norm, the model, the rule. Whatever isclosest to it isthe most normal,even when that singular example isstatis- tically rare,if not an impossibility in fact . The norms of con- duct should be straight and upright-no lying,no cheating, no killing. The norms of bodily beauty should show no gross 1 9 distortions or blemishes. If "normalize" brings one down to the average,"normative" liftsone toward anideal. The ideal standard against which youmaymeasureyour conformityordeviationmaybesetbytheology(imitatio Christi);bylaw(thecitizen,thecomrade);bymedicine (weight/height/age/gender ratio);by philosophy(Stoic man, Kantianman,Nietzscheanman);byeducation(testscores, intelligencequotient);bytheculturalcanonsof asociety. Normalinthefirstsensesimplydescribesthewaymost thingsare;normalinthesecondsenseprescribesthingsas they might be best. Whenthetwomeaningsmerge,thenaveragebecomes thestandard.Infact,theveryword"standard"showsthis merging.Todayittendstomeanusual,ordinary,regular rather than ideal.Or,worse,theidealbecomesconformity with the averagerather thanan imageof perfection. Whenthetwomeaningsmergeinregardtowar,then descriptionsofbattlebecomeprescriptionsforbattle. "Should" devolvesto"what most people do."If war ishell, asSherman said,then war ought to be hell;ideally,war will be hellish,whichShermandemonstrated according toresi- dentsof Georgia.Sincebutchery happens,itought tohap- pen,andamedalshallbebestowedupontheonewho approximatestheidealnorm bykillingthemost.Pentagon plannerslayingoutthermonuclearscenariosarefollowing thelogicof normalcy,inwhichthegreatesthorrorfuses withthegreatestgood."The stateof war suspendsmoral- ity . .. renders morality derisory,"writes Levinas. 19 This isa terriblethought,asterrible aswar. Thewaybeyondthisdevastatingdilemmaistobreak 20 apart the fusion,soasto contain the term "normal" and the statement "war isnormal" within the limitsof itsown par- adigm.Inwar,atwar,whileengaged,immersed,under its sway.The norms war generateswithin itself arenot norma- tive beyond itself. This omnivorous appetite to encroach and consumeothernormsofothergods,suspendingtheir norms,iswar'sgravestdanger.Becausewaristotalonthe battlefield(McClellandidnotgraspthis,keepingbackhis reservesat Antietam;nor did Meade,who wastoo spent to followuponGettysburg),war must beall-out,totalitarian, monomanicinitssingle-mindedpursuit,andruthlessly monotheisticinitsdemandfornegatingallothernorms. That war isnow considered total war,world war,global,and withnoforeseeableend intimeor limit in target,equalin concepttothetotalizingpowerof itsinstruments,reveals thatwarismonotheisticinessence.Theresponsetothe megalomania of its normalcy requires maintaining the coun- tervailing powers of all the other gods and their norms. This connectionbetweenmonotheisticthinking,religion,and war we shallexplore in chapter 4. Todeclarewar "normal"doesnot eliminatethe pathologiesof behavior,theenormitiesof devastation,theunbearablepainsuf- fered in bodies and souls.Nor does the idea that war isnormal jus- ti£Yit. Brutalities such asslavery,cruel punishment, abuseof young children,corporal mutilation remain reprehensible, yet findaccept- anceinthebodypoliticandmayevenbeincorporatedintoits laws.Though"warisnormal"shocksourmoralityandwounds our idealism,it stands solidly asa statement of fact. 21 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR "War"isbecomingmorenormalizedeveryday.Tradewar, gender war,Net war,information war. But war against cancer, war againstcrime,againstdrugs,poverty,and other illsof society have nothing to with the actualities of war. These civil wars, wars within civilian society,mobilize resourcesin the name of a heroic victory overaninsidiousenemy.Thesewarsarenoble,goodguysagainst bad and no one gets hurt. This way of normalizing war has white- washed the word and brainwashed us,sothat we forgetitsterrible images.Then,wheneverthepossibilityof actualwarapproaches with its reality of violent death-dealing combat, the idea of war has been normalized into nothing more than putting more cops on the street,more ratsin the lab,and tax rebatesforurban renewal. I base the statement "war isnormal" on two factors we haveal- ready seen:itsconstancythroughout history and itsubiquity over the globe.Thesetwofactorsrequireanothermorebasic:acceptabil- ity.Warscould not happen unlessthere werethosewilling to help themhappen.Conscripts,slaves,indenturedsoldiers,unwilling draftees to the contrary, there are alwaysmassesready to answer the calltoarms,to join up,getinthefight.Therearealwaysleaders rushing totaketheplunge.Everynation hasitshawks.Moreover, resisters,dissenters,pacifists,objectors,and desertersrarely are able to bring war to a halt. The saying,"Someday they'll give a war and no one will come," remains a fond wish. War drives everything else off the front page. If war isnormal,isthis because it islodged in human natureor becauseit isinherent to societies?Iswar basicallyanexpressionof humanaggressionandself-preservationoranextensionof pack behavior-the hunting pack,theraiding pack,allthewayupto a coalition of millions in adistant land? TheNew Testamentoptsforthe first:"Whence come wars- cometheynothence,evenof yourpleasuresthatwarisinyour members. Yelust and havenot: ye kill and covet and cannot obtain: 22 WARISNORMAL yefightandwar;yehavenotbecauseyeasknot"(James4:1-2). Warsbegin in the lowlinessof our all-too-human material desires. Platoconcurs:"Thebodyfillsuswithlovesanddesiresand fears and allsortsof fanciesand a great dealof nonsense,with the result that we literallynever get an opportunity tothink at all about any- thing. Warsand revolutions and battles aredue simply and solely to the body and itsdesires.All wars areundertaken for the acquisition of wealth,and the reason we havetoacquire wealth isthe body."2o ThatwasearlierPlato;laterhefoundanothersourceof war: "All statesbytheir verynature,arealwaysengagedin aninformal war againstallother states."21 ButKant,likeHobbesbeforehim,takesitbackfromsociety, findingwartobeanuncausedcomponentof humannaturefor which noexplanation need be sought. "War,"he writes,"requires no motivation,but appearstobeingrained in human nature and is even valued assomething noble."22 Agreed,opines Steven LeBlanc's book Constant Battles.Warfare isingrained from earliest times,back tochimpanzees.Notso,arguesR . B.Ferguson:archeologysup- portshisviewthatwarfareisadevelopmentof onlythepastten thousand years. Ingrained or acquired?Individual person'saggressiveinstinct or socialgroup'saggrandizingclaims?Thevariouscontestingasser- tionsabouttheoriginsof warcanbereducedtotwobasicposi- tions.On the one side,theoriesof psychoanalysisthat takehuman naturebacktoearlylossof loveobjectsandtothebirthtrauma; theoriesof animalbiology(inbornreleasemechanismsof fight-or- flight;theories of determining genes pushing to get what they want). Ontheotherside,warisaproductof theinternalstruct\lreof groups,their belief systems,their territorial claims,their exogamous fertility requirements, and the collective psyche of the crowd as such. In both cases,whether human drive or societal necessity,war re- quires an imagined enemy. "Warre," writes Hobbes, isthat condition 23 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR "where every man isEnemy toevery other man,"and Clausewitz insiststhat"theenemymust alwaysbe kept inmind."The ideaof othernessor alteritythat currently dominatesthinking about gen- derandraceandecologyistooabstracttounleashthedogsof war.Canyouimagineawarwithoutfirstimagininganenemy? Whetherthefocusbeuponprey,sacrificialvictim,evilspirit,or object of desire,enmity mobilizes the energy. The figureof the en- emynourishesthepassionsof fear,hatred,rage,revenge,destruc- tion,and lust,providing thesupercharged strengththatmakesthe battlefield possible. War certainly does relyupon the individual'srepressions and/or aggressions,pleasureindemolition,appetitefortheextraordinary andspectacular,maniaof autonomy.Warharnessestheseindivid- ualurges and procures their compliance without which there could benowars;but war isnot individualpsychologywrit large.Indi- vidualscertainlyfightruthlesslyandkill;familiesfeudandharbor revenge,but thisisnot war."Soldiers arenot killers."23Even well- trainedandwell-ledinfantrymenhaveastrong"unrealizedresis- tancetowardkilling"24whichtacticallyimpedesthestrategyof everyengagement.Only a polis(city,state,society)canwar:"The onlysourceof warispolitics,"saidClausewitz. 25 "Politicsisthe wombinwhichwardevelops."26Forwartoemergefromthis womb, for the individual to muster aggressionsand appetites,there must be anenemy.The enemy isthe midwifeof war. The enemy provides the constellating image in the individual and isnecessarytothe statein order tocollect individuals intoa cohe- sivewarring body. ReneGirard'sViolenceandtheSacred elaborates this single point extensively:the emotional foundationof a unified society derives from "violent unanimity,"the collective destruction of a sacrificial victim, scapegoat, or enemy upon whom all together, without exception or dissent,turn on andeliminate.Thereby,the inherentconflictswithinacommunitythatcanleadtointernal 2 4 WARISNORMAL violence become exteriorized and ritualized onto an enemy.Once an enemy hasbeen foundor invented,named,and excoriated,the "unanimous violence" without dissent,i.e., patriotism and the pre- emptive strikes of preventative war, become opportune consequents. Thestatebecomestheonlyguarantorof self-preservation.If war begins in the state, the state begins in enmity. Thirteen colonies; a variety of geographies,religions,languages,laws,economies, but acommonenemy.For alltheutopiannobilityof theDeclaration of Independence, the text actually presents a long list of grievances againstthe enemy of them all,the king. Mind younow:there maynot actually beanenemy!Allalong we are speaking of the ideaof an enemy,a phantom enemy. It isnot the enemy that isessentialto war and that forceswars upon us,but theimagination.Imagination isthedriving force,especiallywhen imagination hasbeen preconditioned by the media,education, and religion,and fed with aggressiveboosterism and pathetic pieties by thestate'sneedforenemies.Theimaginedphantomswellsand cloudsthehorizon,wecannot seebeyondenmity. The archetypal ideagainsa face.Once theenemy isimagined,one isalreadyin a stateof war.Oncetheenemyhasbeennamed,warhasalready been declaredand theactualdeclaration becomes inconsequential, onlylegalistic.Theinvasionof Iraqbeganbeforetheinvasionof Iraq;it had already begun when that nation wasnamed among the axisof evil. Enmity formsitsimagesin many shapes-the nameless women to be raped,the fortressto berazed,therich housesto be pillaged and plundered,themonstrous predator,ogre,or evilempireto be eliminated.Anelementof fantasycreatestherationalityof war. Liketheheart,warhasitsreasonsthatreasondoesnotcompre- hend.Theseexfoliateandhardenintoparanoidperceptionsthat invent "the enemy,"distorting intelligence with rumor and specu- lation and providing justifications for the violent procedures of war 2 5 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR andharshmeasuresof depersonalizationathomeinthenameof security. Tracking down the body of a young Vietcong freshly killed in a firefight,PhilipCaputowrites:"Therewasnothingonhim,no photographs,no lettersor identification . . . it wasfinewith me.I wanted thisboyto remainanonymous;Iwanted tothink of him, not asadeadhuman being,witha name,age,and family,but asa dead enemy."27 A dead enemy, however, leaves an existential gap;no one there to fight.Becausetheenemy issoessentialtowar,if one party givesin to defeat,the victor alsoloses hisraison d'etre. He hasnothing more todo,no justification forhisexistence.Therefore,ritesof triumph to ease the despair of the victors whose exaltation does not last.Cel- ebrations, parades,dancing, awarding ribbonsand medals,or a ram- page against civilians and collaborators to keep an enemy present. As the war against Nazi Germany drew to a close,Patton grew gloomy; heexpected "a tremendousletdown,"28but soonfoundanewen- emyinCommunist Russia:"savages,""Mongols" ... Inshort,the aimsof war arenone other than itsown continuation, for which an enemy isrequired. Withthedefeatof theConfederatesin1865,whocouldnext serveasenemy for Union troopsand their generals?General Sher- man urged Grant to exterminate the Sioux, including the children, and General Sheridan famouslydeclared "the only good Indian isa dead Indian."General Custer,heroof the Shenandoah compaigns, wasalready out West in 1866 and smashing the Cheyenne in 1868. Like war,the fantasyof the enemy has no limit, sothat a dead Indian meant alsoa dead buffalo.Some sixhundred eighty thousand were shot down-one man could takeahundred a day-between 1871 and1874,andnearlyelevenmillionpoundsof buffalobone were shipped fromthekilling fields,according toRoe'sanalysesof the records. 26 WARISNORMAL If the enemy isevil,then any means used to oppose evil are ipso factogood.If theenemy isa predator (consider the monster ftlms, the dinosaur films,the gangster films),then kill any which way you can.If theenemyisanobstaclestandinginthewayof yourself- preservation,self-establishment,or self-aggrandizement, then knock it down and blow it apart.Carthagemust be destroyed;Tokyofire- bombed. Alexanderorderedthelevelingof everysinglestructure inPersepolis;ChristiansdefacedallthestatuesoftheEgyptian godstheycouldgettheirhandson.ProtestantChristiansinEn- gland even destroyed Catholic imagesof Mary and Jesus. The Tal- ibanblewupthegiantBuddhistimagescarvedintherockof Bamian. Israelisbulldozed West Bank housesand gardens. These arenot exceptional, deviate instances. So why doesSon- tagsay,"Wecan'timaginehownormal[war]becomes"?Allthat happensinit,during it,afterit,isalwaysthesame,regular,tobe expected,predictablein general,conforming toitsown standards, meetingitsnorms.S.o.P.Theimaginationcanbegraduallyin- ducted into the battlefield and can follow that creeping desensitiza- tion of civilian,outsider mentality ('Journalist,and aid worker and independentobserver"),that processfromtheintolerablethrough the barely endurabletothe merely normal. Howcanthelivingcellsinanypersonattheextremeof ex- haustionamiddyingfriendsandmangleddead,howitzershells whooshing pastlikefreighttrains,accommodatetothis"normal- ity"? How can any person thrice wounded climb back on hishorse andcontinuethechargestraight"into thecannon'smouth"?The human psyche's capacity tonormalize the most adverse conditions, adapttothem,findthem usual(peoplein extremeclimates, rarely movetoanothergeography;veryfewcaptivesresisttheirimpris- oners)haskeptthespeciesgloballyspread,diverse,andalive throughmillennia.Normalizationmayallowsurvival-and,nor- malization mayalsobe oneof thedumbestof human faults.How 27 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR doesit differ fromdenial,willfulunconsciousness,ignorance,psy- chic numbing? Doesn't accepting all also lead to pardoning all?The shadow sideof tolerance isthe lossof the senseof the intolerable. Tonormalizemaymeap.totaketheside,notof survival,butof death. Warachievesanaccommodationwithdeath.Afteraseriesof missions through dense antiaircraft fire,bomber crews begin to be- lievethey willnot makethe lastfewmandatoryrunsbeforerota- tion;veteransonpatrolclingtosuperstitiousroutinestofendoff theexpectationthatthenextbulletwillfindthem.Prolonged combat turns the soulintoanautomatismeanesthesiant;29a German writesof having"lostfeelingforalotof things";anEnglishman comparesthestatewithgoingunder ananesthetic,withautohyp- nosis. 3o Yetthe sensesmay remain vigilant,especially a hyperacuity of thesenseof smell.(Both Vietcong and Americansdetectedthe hiddenpresenceofeachotherbycharacteristicodors.)"Inthe abysmaldarkof Hadesthesoulknows/isknownby scent."3!Not the senses,but the psyche seemstohavevacated the person and en- teredthemythicalunderworld populated byshadesand phantoms. Combatants speak of "seeing things," firing away into illusions. The personwhoseidentityisgivenbylifeanditsexpectancies(some- timescalled"hope")hasbeenabandonedbytheseexpectations. The psyche isno longer the same. "I am all right-just the same asever,"writes a British soldier tohiswifein 1916, "but no-that can never be.. . . No man can experience such things and come out the same."32 War's"violence does not consist so much in injuring and annihilating personsasin interrupting their continuity ... making thembetraynotonlycommitmentsbuttheirownsubstance .. .. War . .. destroystheidentityof thesame,"writesLevinas. 33 The psychecannot be the same asbefore because it hasbecome a part- nerwiththesoulof thedying,companionof thedead,"half in lovewitheasefuldeath."Normalmeansbecomingonewiththe 28 WARISNORMAL norm,deadamong the dead."If these pagesarethick with death," saysSusanGriffin,"thinkof thebattlefield.Corpsesindifferent stagesof decay,theslowlydying,momentsof deathexistaround you everywhere. Who areyou?Youareamong the living,but can you be certain?"34 EXCURSION: Peace I fthesepages,too,arethick withdeathit isbecausethe written pageiswhere memory isbrought back fromthe burial ground and kept alive. Because the dead are speechless andtheveteransdon'ttalk,because"theearthyandcold hand of death/Liesonmytongue"(1Hen.IV 5.4.84),the writtenpagebecomesamementomori.Asfarbackas Thucydides,Herodotus,andthebooksof Joshua,Kings, and Samuel,writing transmuteswar intochronicles,mem- oirs,novels,poems,films.PaulFussell'ssuperbresearchlays out in detail how the death of 1914-18 remainsalivein the writtenimagination.Writers,especiallywritersof war,do notcreate;theyre-create,andreadingisbotharecreation andthere-creationof whathasslippedawayfrompresent graspand into thesoul'srecesses,avoided,forgotten. Thenameof thisvoidof forgetfulnessispeace,whose shortfirstdefinitionis:"theabsenceof war."Morefully, theOxford English Dictionary describes peace:"Freedom from, or cessation of,war or hostilities;a stateof a nation or com- munityinwhichitisnotatwarwithanother."Further, peacemeans:"Freedomfromdisturbanceorperturbation, especially asa condition of an individual;quiet,tranquility." 29 WhenNevilleChamberlainandhisumbrellareturned from Munich in 1938 after utterly failing to grasp the nature of Hitler,hetoldtheBritishpeoplehe hadachieved peace inourtimeandthatnoweveryoneshould"gohomeand get a nicequiet sleep."35 Thesepagesarethick with death in order todisturbthe peace. The worst of war isthat it ends in peace,that is,it absents itselffromremembrance,asyndromeChrisHedgescalls "collective or blanket amnesia,"36beyond understanding,be- yond imagining. "Peace is visible already," writes Marguerite Duras. "It's likea great darkness falling,it'sthe beginning of forgetting."37 Iwillnot march for peace,nor willI pray for it,because it falsifiesall it touches. Itisa cover-up,a curse. Peace issim- ply a bad word. "Peace," said Plato,"is reallyonly a name."38 Even if statesshould"ceasefromfighting,"wroteHobbes, "It isnot to becalledpeace;but rather abreathingtime."39 Truce,yes;cease-fire,yes;surrender,victory,mediation, brinkmanship,standoff-thesewordshavecontent,but peace isdarkness falling. When peace follows war,the villages and towns erect me- morials with tributes to the honor of the fallen, sculptures of victory, angelsof compassion, and local names cut in granite. Wepassbythesestrangestructureslikeobstaclestotraffic. Even theimmediate presenceof war'saftermath,the rubble of London,the rubbleof Frankfurt,the desolation through Russia,the Ukraine,become unremarkabletoitscitizens in the anesthesia of peace. The survivors themselves enter a state of unperturbed quiescence;they don't want to talk about it. 30 The dictionary's definition,an exemplary of denial,fails the word, peace. Written by scholars in tranquillity,the def- inition fixatesand perpetuatesthe denial.If peace ismerely anabsenceof,afreedomfrom,it isboth anemptinessand arepression.Apsychologistmustaskhowistheemptiness filled,sincenatureabhorsa vacuum;andhow doesthere- pressed return,since it must? The emptiness left byrepressing war fromthe definition of peace bloats it with idealizations-another classicdefense mechanism. Fantasiesof rest,of calmsecurity,lifeas"nor- mal,"eternalpeace,heavenlypeace,thepeaceof lovethat transcendsunderstanding;peaceasease(shalvahintheHe- brew Bible)and completeness (shalom).The peace of naivete, of ignorance disguised asinnocence. Longings for peace be- come both simplistic and utopian with programs for univer- sal love, disarmament, and an Aquarian federation of nations, or retrogradetothestatusquoanteof Norman Rockwell's applepie.Thesearetheoptionsof psychicnumbingthat "peace"offersandwhichmusthavesooffended Jesusthat he declared fora sword.40 Todispelsuchquietingillusions,writersalongwith thosehoundedbyMarsroilthecalm.Thepagesarethick withdeathbecausewritersdonotholdtheirpeace,keep silent,playdumb. Books of war givevoicetothetongueof the dead anesthetized bythat major syndromeof the public psyche:"peace." The specificsyndromesufferedby Americanveterans;- post-traumatic stress disorder-occurs within the wider syn- drome:theendemicnumbingof theAmericanhomeland anditsaddictiontosecurity.Thepresentsurroundingsof 31 theveteranin"peacetime"canhaveasstrong,ifsubtle, traumaticeffectandcancauseasmuchstressaspaststress and trauma. PTSD breaks out in peacetime because peace as defineddoesnotallowupsettingremembrancesofwar's continuing presence.Warisneverover,evenwhenthefat ladysingson victory day.Itisanindeliblecondition inthe soul,givenwiththecosmos.Thebehaviorof veterans- theirdomesticfury,suicides,silences,anddespairs-years after a war is"over" refutes the dictionary and confirms war's archetypal presence. Peacefor veterans isnot an "absence of war"butitslivingghostinthebedroom,atthelunch counter, on the highway. The trauma is not "post" but acutely present,and the "syndrome" isnot in the veteran but in the dictionary,in the amnesiac's idea of peace that colludes with anunlivablelife. PTSDcarriersof theremnantsof warin their soulsin- fectthepeaceablekingdom.Theyarelikeinitiatesamong innocents.Thepainandfear,andknowledge,absorbedin theirbodiesandsoulsconstituteaninitiation-butonly halfway.It isaninitiationinterruptusstillaskingforthewise instructionthatisimpartedbyinitiations.Whywar;why thatwar;whatiswar?HowcanwhatInowknowinmy bones about treachery and hypocrisy,about loving compas- sionandcourage,andkilling,reentersocietyandservemy people?If peacemeansnowarandIamsoakedinwar's blood, what am I doing here? Again that failureof imagina- tionandphilosophicunderstanding.Thepotentialofthe veteranisphasedout withthewarinwhichhematures;I havebeen mothballedbypeace.Peacetimehasnotimefor my awareness. There isno response in the least way adequate 3 2 totheordealfromthecivilizationIhavebeensentbyand returned to. The return fromthe killing fieldsismore than a debrief- ing;itisaslowascentfromhell."Theireyeslookedasif theyhad beentohellandback."41The veteranneedsarite desortie that belongs to every initiation asitsnormal conclu- sion,makingpossibleanintactreturn.Thisprocedureof detoxification,that givesmeaning totheabsurdand imagi- nation to oppressive facts, should take aslong and be asthor- ough astherited'entreeof boot-camp basictraining. Society has still to recognize the value offered to it by the disturbedvet.Initiatesoftenserveasleadersof traditional societies. They havebeen totheedge,stood among thean- cestors in theunderworld. In our societies,combat veterans aremarginalized."Of thoseunemployedbetweentheages of thirty and thirty-four in Britainattheend of the[nine- teen]twenties,80percentwereex-servicemen."42 U.S.vet- eranstendtobecomemisfits,outcasts,driftingbackwards into belligerency, or they find themselves in a pressure group of oldboyslobbyingforrewardsincompensationforthe recognitionfailedthem.Wepaythemoffwithveterans' benefits insteadof reaping the benefits they could bring. Ambrose'scareful follow-upof what became of the sur- vivorsof the company whose story hetellsin BandrifBroth- ers shows that ideal potential in men who were exceptionally led and exceptionally close, i.e.,initiates. "A number of men went intosomeformof building,construction,or making things."43 An even larger number began to teach,and one of themasks:"Isitaccidentalthatsomanyex-paratroopers fromEcompany becameteachers?,,44 3 3 Even though our disturbed veterans may only be incom- pleteinitiates,theirpresenceallthroughthenationcould serveto inoculatethebody politicagainsttheworst disease brought by the god of war:the headlong rush into action by the uninitiated. Isthat why many older generalsand veteran citizensspeakoutandholdthelineagainstthemarchof folly? "Veteran"fromvetu5,old,ripe,worn,belonging tothe past.Timealonedoesnotmakeveterans.Atwenty-year- oldGermanstudent writes:"allaboutusdeathhissedand howled.Suchanightisenoughtomakeanoldmanof one."45Combat isinstant aging. The veteran hassurvived an initiation;thefactof thatsurvival,thatchanceor miracle, forcesupononethedeepestquestioningandtheveteran's burden of carrying the dead into life.Of course a veteran is ripe and worn and burnished by the past. The one virtueof thedictionary'sdefinitionof peace is itsimplied normalization of war.War isthe larger idea,the normativeterm giving peace itsmeaning. Definitions using negationorprivationarepsychologicallyunsophisticated. Theexcludednotionimmediatelycomestomindand,in fact,the word "peace" can be understood only after you have grasped the"war." Warisalsoimpliedinanothercommonmeaningof peace:peaceasvictory.Thefusionof peacewithmilitary victory shows plainly enough in the prayers for peace which tacitly askfor winning the war. Do people ever pray for sur- render?Unconditionalsurrenderwouldbringimmediate peKe. Do they eve, light candle
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A TERRIBLE LOVE OF ·WAR. JAMESHILLMAN THEPENGUINPRESS NewYork 2004 THEPENGUINPRESS a member of PenguinGroup(USA)Inc. 375Hudson Street New York,New York10014 Copyright © JamesHillman,2004 All rightsreserved Pages 255-256 constitute anextension of this copyright page. LIBRARYOFCONGRESSCATALOGINGINPUBLICATIONDATA Hillman, James. Aterrible loveof war / James Hillman. p.cm. Includesbibliographical referencesand index. ISBN1-59420-011-4 1. War.2. War-Psychological aspects.I. Title. U21.2.H54352004 303.6'6-dc222003069049 Thisbook isprinted on acid-free paper.i§ Printed in tlIeUnited Statesof America 3579108642 DESIGNEDBYAMANDADEWEY Withoutlimitingtherightsundercopyrightreservedabove, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or in- troduced into a retrieval system,or transmitted, in any form or by any means(electronic,mechanical,photocopying,recording orotherwise),withouttheprior writtenpermissionof both tlIecopyrightownerandtlIeabovepublisherof thisbook. The scanning,uploading,anddistributionof thisbook viathe Internet or viaanyother means without the permission of the publisher isillegal and punishable by law.Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate inor en- courage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your sup- port of the author'srightsisappreciated. "The Lord isa man of war,The Lord isHis name." -EXODUS15 :3 CONTENTS chapterone WARISNORMAL chaptertwo WARISINHUMAN43 chapterthree WARISSUBLIME104 chapter four RELIGIONISWAR178 Acknowledgments21 9 Notes221 Bibliography2 2 9 Index24 J About the Author2 5 7 A TERRIBLE LOVE OFWAR ChapterOne: WARISNORMAL O NESEN TEN C EinonescenefromonefUm,Patton,sums up what this book tries to understand. The general walks the field after a battle. Churned earth, burnt tanks,dead men. He takes up adying officer,kisseshim,surveysthehavoc,and says:"I love it.God helpme Ido love it so.I loveit more than my life." Wecan never prevent war or speak sensiblyof peace and disar- mamentunlessweenterthisloveof war.Unlesswemoveour imaginations into the martial state of soul, we cannot comprehend itspull.Thismeans"going towar;'andthisbook aimsto ,induct our mindsintomilitaryservice. Wearenot going towar"in the nameof peace"asdeceitfulrhetoricsooftendeclares,butrather forwar's own sake:to understand themadnessof itslove. ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR Our civiliandisdainand pacifisthorror-all the legitimateand deep-feltaversiontoeverythingtodowiththemilitaryandthe warrior-must be setaside.This because the first principle of psy- chologicalmethodholdsthatanyphenomenontobeunderstood must be sympathetically imagined. No syndromecanbetrulydis- lodged fromitscursedcondition unlesswefirstmove imagination into itsheart. War isfirstof allapsychologicaltask,perhapsfirstof allpsy- chological tasksbecause it threatens your life and mine directly,and theexistenceof alllivingbeings.Thebelltollsforthee,andall. Nothing can escape thermonuclear rage,and if the burning and its aftermath areunimaginable,their cause, war, isnot. War isalsoapsychologicaltaskbecausephilosophyandtheol- ogy,thefieldssupposedtodotheheavythinking forour species, haveneglectedwar'soverridingimportance."Waristhefatherof all,"saidHeraclitusatthebeginningsof Westernthought,which Emmanuel Levinas restatesin recent Western thought as"being re- vealsitself aswar."lIf it isaprimordial component of being,then warfatherstheverystructureof existenceandourthinking about it:our ideasof theuniverse,of religion,of ethics;wardetermines the thought patterns of Aristotle's logic of opposites,Kant's antino- mies, Darwin's natural selection, Marx's struggle of classes,and even Freud'srepressionof theid bytheegoandsuperego.Wethinkin warliketerms,feelourselvesatwarwithourselves,andunknow- ingly believe predation, territorial defense,conquest, and the inter- minable battle of opposing forcesarethe ground rules of existence. Yet,for all this, has ever a major Western philosopher-with the greatexception'ofThomasHobbes,whoseLeviathanwaspub- lishedthreeandahalf centuriesago-delivered a full-scaleassault onthetopic,or givenittheprimaryimportancewardeservesin thehierarchyof themes?ImmanuelKantcametoitlate(1795) withabrief essaywrittenwhenhewaspastseventyandafterhe 2 WARISNORMAL had publishedhismain works.He statesthetheme of thischapter in a few words much like Hobbes:"The stateof peace among men living side by sideisnot the natural state;the natural state isone of war."Thoughwaristheprimaryhumancondition,hisfocusis upon "perpetual peace" which isthe titleof hisessay.About peace philosophersandtheologianshavemuchtosay,andweshalltake up peace in our stride. Fallen fromthehigher mind'scentralcontemplation,war tends tobeexaminedpiecemealbyspecialists,or setasideas"history" where it then becomes a subchapter called "military history" in the hands of scholarsand reporters dedicated to the record of facts . Or itsstudy isplacedoutsidethemainstream,isolatedin policyinsti-' tutions(often at war themselveswithrival institutions). The magic of theirthinkingtransmuteskillinginto"takingout,"bloodshed into "body counts,"and the chaos of battle into "scenarios," "game theory;' "cost benefits;' as weapons become "toys" and bombs "smart." Especiallyneeded isnot more specialist inquiry into past warsand futurewars, but rather an archetypalpsychology-the myths,phi- losophy,and theology of war's deepest mind. That isthe purpose of thisbook. There are,of course,many excellent studiesof aggression,pre- dation,geneticcompetition,andviolence;worksonpack,mob, and crowd behavior;on conflict resolution;on classstruggle,revo- lution, and tyranny; on genocide and war crimes; on sacrifice, war- riorcults,opposingtribalmoieties;ongeopoliticalstrategies,the technologyof weaponry,andtextsdetailingthepracticeandthe- oryof wagingwarsingeneralandtheanalysisbyfinemindsof particularwars;andlastly,alwayslastly,ontheterribleeff.t:ctsof war on itsremnants. Militaryhistorians,warreporterslonginthefield,andmajor commanders in their memoirs of warsfromwhom Ihavelearned andrespectfullyciteinthepagesthatfollowhaveofferedtheir 3 ATERRIBLELOVEOfWAR heartfelt knowledge.1ndividual intellectualsand excellent modern writers, among them Freud, Einstein, Simone Weil, Virginia Woolf, HannahArendt,Robert J.Lifton,SusanGriffin, JonathanSchell, Barbara Tuchman, and Paul Fussell,havebrought their intelligence to the nature of war,ashavegreat artists from Goya,say,to Brecht. Nonetheless,Ropp's wide-ranging survey of the idea of war con- cludes:"Thevoluminousworksof contemporarymilitaryintel- lectualscontainnonewideasoftheoriginsofwar.... Inthis situation a 'satisfactory' scientific view of war isasremote asever."2 From another morepsychological perspective,SusanSontag con- cludes similarly:"We truly can't imagine what it waslike. Wecan't imaginehow dreadful,how terrifYingwar is-and how normal it becomes.Can'tunderstand,can'timagine.That'swhateverysol- dier,and every journalist and aid worker and independent observer who hasput in time under fireand had the luck to elude the death thatstruckdownothersnearby,stubbornlyfeels.Andtheyare right."3But,here,sheiswrong. "Can't understand,can't imagine"isunacceptable.It getsusoff thehook,admittingdefeatbeforewehaveevenbegun.Liftonhas saidthetaskin our timesisto"imagine thereal."4Robert McNa- mara,secretary of defenseduring much of the Vietnam War,look- ingback,writes:"wecannowunderstandthesecatastrophesfor what they were:essentially the products of a failure of imagination." Surprise and itsconsequents, panic and terror, are due to"the pov- erty of expectations-the failureof imagination," according to an- othersecretaryof defense,DonaldRumsfeld. 5 Whencomparing the surpriseatPearlHarbor with thatof theTwin Towers,thedi- rectoroftheNationalSecurityAgency,MichaelHayden,said, "perhaps it wasmorea failureof imagination thistimethan last."6 Failure of imagination is another way of describing "persistence in error," which Barbara Tuchman says leads nations and their lead- ersdowntheroadtodisasteron "the marchof folly,"7asshecalls 4 WARISNORMAL her study of wars from Troy to Vietnam. The origin of these disas- ters lies in the unimaginative mind-set of "political and bureaucratic lifethat subdues the functioning intellect in favorof "working the levers."8Workingtheleversofduty,followingthehierarchyof command without imagininganything beyondthenarrownessof factsreducedtoyetnarrowernumbers,preciselydescribesFranz Stangl, who ran the Treblinka death camp,9 and also describes what Hannah Arendt definesasevil,drawing her paradigmaticexample fromthefailureof intellectandimaginationin Adolf Eichmann. If we want war'shorror to be abated sothat lifemay goon, it is necessarytounderstandandimagine. Wehumansarethespecies privilegedinregardtounderstanding.Onlywehavethefaculty and the scopeforcomprehending theplanet'squandaries.Perhaps that iswhat we are here for:to bring appreciativeunderstanding to the phenomena that have no need to understand themselves. It may even be a moral obligation to try to comprehend war. That famous phrase of William James, "the moral equivalent of war,"with which he meant themobilizationof moraleffort,today meanstheeffort of imagination proposed by Lifton and ducked by Sontag. The failuretounderstand may be becauseour imaginations are impaired andour modesof comprehension need a paradigm shift. If theponderousobjectwardoesnotyieldtoourtool,thenwe haveto put downthat tool and search foranother. The frustration maynotliesimplyintheobduracyof war-that itisessentially un-understandable, unimaginable. Isit war'sfaultthat we havenot graspeditsmeanings?Wehavetoinvestigatethefaultinessof our tool:why can't our method of understanding understand ~ a r ?An- swer: according to Einstein, problems cannot be solved at the same levelof thinking that created them. Youwouldexpectthatthewar-wise,themastersof war,like Sun Tzu, Mao Tse-tung, Machiavelli,and Clausewitz, would have come toconclusions about war beyond adviceforitsconduct . For 5 ATERR[BLELOVEOFWAR them, however,it isa:matter of practical science. "The elements of theartof war arefirst,measurementof space;second,estimation ofquantities;third,calculations;fourth,comparisons;andfifth, chances of victory."lOLong before there were glimmerings of mod- ernscientificmethod,thatmind-setwasalreadyappliedtowar. Theempiricalmind-setistimeless,archetypal.It startsfromthe given-war ishere,isnow,sowhat'stodo?Speculationsabout its underlying reason,andwhyor what itisinthefirstplace,distract fromthehugetaskof howtobring wartovictory."No theorist, andnocommander,"writesClausewitz,"shouldbotherhimself withpsychologicalandphilosophicalsophistries."l1Eventhough the rational science of war admits the obvious,that in "military af- fairsrealityissurprisinglyelusive,"12itomitsfromitscalculations the elusive-and often determining-factors such asfighting spirit, weather,personalproclivitiesofthegenerals,politicalpressures, healthof participants, poor intelligence,technological breakdowns, misinterpreted orders,residues in memory of similar events. War is the playground of the incalculable. "Asfliesto wanton boys,are we tothe Gods,/They killusfortheir sport"(Lear4.1.39). A keyto understanding war isgiven by the normality of its surprisingly elu- slveunreason. Wardemandsaleapof imaginationasextraordinaryandfan- tasticasthe phenomenon itself.Our usualcategoriesarenot large enough,reducing war'smeaning toexplaining itscauses. Tolstoy mocked the idea of discovering the causes of war.Inhis postscript toWar and Peace, widely considered the most imaginative and fulleststudyof wareverattempted,heconcludes:"Why did millions of people begin to kill one another? Who told them to do it?Itwould seem thatit wascleartoeachof them thatthiscould not benefit any of them, but would be worse for them all. Why did theydoit?Endlessretrospectiveconjecturescanbe made,andare 6 WARISNORMAL made,of the causesof thissenselessevent,but the immensenum- ber of theseexplanations,andtheirconcurrenceinonepurpose, only provesthatthecauseswereinnumerableand thatnotoneof themdeservestobecalledthecause."!3For Tolstoywar wasgov- ernedbysomething likeacollectiveforcebeyond individualhu- man will. The task,then,isto imaginethe natureof thiscollective force. War's terrifying prospect brings us to a crucial moment in the history of themind,amomentwhenimaginationbecomesthemethod of choice, and the sympathetic psychologizing learned in a century of consulting roomstakesprecedenceovertheoutdated privileg- ing of scientificobjectivity. Asa psychologist I learned long ago that I could not explain my patients'behavior,noranyone's,includingmyown.Therewere reasonsenough:traumas,shamesand miseries,defectsin character, birthorderwithinthefamily,physiology-endlesscausesthatI imagined were explanations. But these possible causes gave little un- derstandingthatseemedtodependonsomethingelse,reasonsof another sort. Later on,I learned that thisdivision that baffled me in practice--explaining andthemethodof scienceontheonehand and, on the other, understanding and the approach of psychology- hadalreadybeenmadeclearbyGermanthinkersfromNietzsche and Dilthey through Husser!,Heidegger, Jaspers, and Gadamer. An- cestortothemallwastheNeopolitangenius,Giambattista Vico, who invented a "new science"(the titleof hisbook of 1725)in re- volt againstunsatisfactoryexplanationsof human affairsthatrested on Newton's and Descartes'kind of thinking. Vicothinkslikeadepthpsychologist.LikeFreud,hes«eksto getbelowconventionalconstructsintohiddenlayersanddistant happenings.Causalreasoningcomeslateonthestage,saysVico. The basiclayerof themind ispoetic,mythic,expressed byuniver- 7 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR sali jantastici,which 1translateasarchetypalpatternsof imagina- tion. Thematics are his interest, whether in law or in language or in literature-the recurring themes,the everlasting,ubiquitous, emo- tional,unavoidablepatternsandforcesthatplaythroughanyhu- man life and human society, the forceswe must bow to and are best generalizedasarchetypaLTograsptheunderlyingpressuresthat move human affairs we haveto dig deep, performing an archeology in the mind to lay bare the mythic themes that abidethrough time, timelessly.War isone of thesetimelessforces. Theinstrumentof thisdigispenetration:continuingtomove forward with insight to gain understanding. "Understanding isnever acompleted staticstateof mind,"writestheprofound philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. "It always bears the character of the proc- ess of penetration ... when we realize ourselves asengaged in a proc- essof penetration,wehavea fullerself-knowledge."Hecontinues: "If civilizationistosurvive,theexpansionofunderstandingisa prime necessity."14Andhowdoesunderstanding grow?"The sense of penetration ... hastodowith thegrowth of understanding."15 War asks for this kind of penetration, elseitshorrors remain un- intelligible and abnormaL We have to go to deepthinkers with pen- etrating minds,and these may not be the experts on war with wide experienceor thosewhobreedtheirtheoriesinthink tanks.The fact that philosophers have not put war in the center of their works maybe lessa sinthanablessing,sincewhat philosophy offersbest to thisinquiry islessa completed theory than the invitation toen- joyhardthinkingandfreeimagining.Thewaysphilosophers' mindswork,their waysof thinking aremorevaluabletothestu- dent than the conclusions of their thought. Archetypalpatternsof imagination,theuniversali jantastici,em- bracebothrationalandirrationalevents,bothnormalandabnor- mal. These distinctions fadeaswe penetrate into the great universals of experience.Worship;sexuallove;violence;death,disposal,and 8 WAR.ISNORMAL mourning;initiation;thehearth;ancestorsanddescendents;the makingof art-and war,aretimelessthemesof humanexistence givenmeaningbymyths.Or,toputitotherwise:mythsarethe normsof theunreasonable.Thatrecognitionisthegreatestof all achievementsof theGreekmind,singling out thatculture fromall others.TheGreeksperfectedtragedy,whichshowsdirectlythe mythicgovernanceof humanaffairswithin states,withinfamilies, within individuals.Only theGreekscould articulatetragedytothis pitch and therefore their imagination ismost relevant for the tragedy with which we arehere engaged:war. Thismeansthat tounderstand war wehavetoget at itsmyths, recognizethat war isa mythical happening,that thosein the midst of itareremovedtoamythicalstateof being,thattheirreturn fromit seemsrationallyinexplicable,and that the loveof war tells of a love of the gods,the gods of war;and that no other account- political,historical,sociological,psychoanalytical-canpenetrate (which iswhy war remains "un-imaginable" and "un-understood") tothedepthsof inhumancruelty,horror,andtragedyandtothe heightsofmysticaltranshumansublimity.Mostotheraccounts treat war without myth, without the gods,asif they were dead and gone. Yetwhere elsein human experience,except in thethroesof ardor-that strangecouplingof lovewithwar-do Wefindour- selvestransportedtoa mythicalcondition and thegodsmostreal? Before warsbegin until their last skirmish,a heavy,fatefulfeel- ingof necessityoverhangswar;nowayout.Thisistheeffectof myth.Humanthoughtandactionissubjecttosuddeninterven- tions of fortuneand accident-the stray bullet,the lost order;"for the want of a nail,the shoe was lost ..."This unpredictabilit¥ isat- testedtothroughouthistory.Therefore,arationalscienceof war can only go so far,only to the edge of understanding. At that point a leap of imagination iscalled for,a leapinto myth. Theexplanationsgivenbyscientificthinkingareindeedre- 9 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR quiredfortheconductof war.Itcancalculateandexplainthe causesof artillerymissesandlogisticfailures,anditcertainlycan build precisely efficient weapons.But howcanit takeusinto bat- tleor toward grasping war? We cannot understand the Civil War by pointingtoitsimmediatecause--thefiringonFortSumterin South Carolina in 1861-nor by its proximate cause--the election of Lincolnintheautumnof 186D--norbyalistof underlying causes,i.e.,thepassionsthatriledtheunion:secession,abolition, theeconomicsof cotton,theexpansionwestward,power contest in theSenate ... adinfinitum.Nor willacompilation of the fac- tors of that war's complexity yield what we seek. Even the total sum of everyexplanationyoucanmuster willnot providemeaningto the horrific,drawn-out,repetitive butchery of battle after battleof thatfour-year-longwar.SameforVietnam,fortheNapoleonic wars.Themissinglinkinthechainof causesistheonethatties themtounderstanding.Patton'semotionaleruption-"Iloveit. GodhelpmeIdoloveitso"-leads uscloserthananentirenet- work of explanations. Now wearein a better positiontoagreewith Ropp'sconclu- sion(quoted above)that a '''satisfactory' scientific view of war isas remote asever."It will remain remote forever because the meaning of war isbeyond theassemblageof itsdata and causalexplanation. Thisdour conclusion promotes an unfortunate belief:because war cannot be explained,it cannot be understood. I expect this book to pull usout of this predicament, that some- thingsopowerfulandsousualcannotfindadequatemeasure.A psychology that is philosophical, a philosophy that ispsychological, ought to be ableto fathom itsdarkness. War begs for meaning,and amazinglyalsog i ~ e smeaning,a meaning foundin the midstof its chaos.Men whosurvivebattlecome back and sayit wasthemost meaningfultime of their lives,transcendent toallother meanings. Major books have collected these accounts and arededicated to this 10 WAR,'SNORMAL theme. Despitethe wasting confusion,accidental senselessness,and the numbing dread, meaning appears among those engaged, mean- ing withoutexplanation,without fullunderstanding,yet lastinga lifetime. After World War IIa Frenchwoman said to J.Glenn Gray, "You know that I do not love war or want it toreturn. But at least it mademe feelalive,asI havenot feltalivebefore or since."16 EXCURSION: ThePersonalPart H OWcan I assume the role of Analyst of War?How do I dare point to the omissions of others and set myself up asan authority deserving your attention? I never "fought ... knee deepin the saltmarsh,heaving a cutlass,"asT.S. Eliot in " Gerontion"saysof anold man reflecting on hislife.My "war experience"wasallstatesidein anavalhospital,phar- macist mate 2nd class, a corpsman assigned initially to a ward of thewar-deafenedandtonightduty with amputees,and thenforoverayearasaspecialistassistanttothewar- blinded.Iwasjusteighteen,andtwentywhendischarged. What I knew of battle wasonly itsremnants. Remnants too in what wasthen called"war-torn Europe"where,asara- dionewswriter(1946),theenvironmentwasscavengers, rubble,and displaced persons. AltogetherdifferentfromthewarmapsIlovedto study-the Solomon Islands,Burma,the Ukraine-and the campaign strategies I overheard when I was a copyboy in the newsroomof WTOPinWashingtonduringtheperilous year,1943. TheclosestIgottotheactionwaspickingup l pressreleasesover atthePentagon and standing in the back 11 I of the room when d"hing wa, cOHespondent Edc Sevareid camein and told about eventsmiles and milesaway. The big wars(Korea, Vietnam)thatfollowed"my" war came to me,then living farawayfrom America,not aswars but asnews, much like the recent wars in former Yugoslavia, . Rwanda,and MghanistanareforAmericans,oceansapart. Warsfor discussion;theengagement of strangers. BacktosophomoreEnglish,Room214.TheShake- speareplayforthat yearwas JuliusCaesar.TheonlypieceI chose and learned by heart was: Domestic furyand fiercecivil strife Shall cumber allthe partsif Italy; Bloodanddestructionshallbesoinuse And dreadfulobjectsso familiar, Thatmothersshallbut smilewhentheybehold Theirinfantsquarter'd withthehandsifwar; All pity chokedwithcustomoffelldeeds: And Caesar'sspirit,ranging forrevenge, WithAte byhissidecomehot fromhell, Shallintheseconfineswitha monarch'svoice Cry'Havoc!'andletslipthedogsof war. ... (J.I. 26 3 tf ) AsasmallboyIhadplayedwithleadsoldierswhose heads could come off,and later I built my fleet of a hundred self-designed warshipsof balsawood fora complicated war gamespreadoutonthefloor.(Iowned apreciouscopyof Jane'sFighting Ships.)In the streets weplayed with water pis- tolsandcapguns.CopsandRobbers,notCowboysand 12 Indians:thiswasNew Jersey.Iremembertoomyfather's stereopticonofWorldWarI,imagesonglasswhichwe sneaked to look at becausehenever showed it:3-D images of battlefieldsinBelgium-muddytrenches,blowntrees, gaunt men under round helmets. IcanevenrecallthemilitaryparadesontheBoardwalk onMemorialDayandArmisticeDayintheearly1930s. Firstcametheveteransof theCivilWarandtheSpanish- American War. Some still walking. And terrifying men with blue-gray faces,fromgassing and shrapnel I wastold.Rem- nantsof wars long agoand faraway. Asaboyof eleven"heroicadventure"meantRichard Halliburton and AmeliaEarhart,deep-seadiversandarctic explorerson theSteelPier. Ihadnomilitaryidols.Ididn't even own a BBgun. By1944whenIwasdraftedintotheNavy,myhigh schoolbuddieshad long been inuniform.One wasalready drowned,washedoff thedeckof adestroyer.Mybrother- in-law wasa captain in theQuartermaster Corps running a truckcompanyintheRed-BallExpresssupplyingPatton's army;my fatherhadcome into Normandy with theCana- dians;mybrotherwasfiyingaP-47.Me?Iwaslearning bandaging.Butsomethingwasworkingonme,inme.I wrote sob-sister war poems. Whatever it wasstruck directlywhileI wasdrivingpast anold battlefield of 1914-18 France. Suddenly I found m y ~ selfchokedup-justlookingthroughacarwindow.For whom,forwhat?Warasaninexplicableemotion.Which battle? Who died here?I had no idea,but I did recallSand- burg's"Grass": 13 Pilethebodieshighat Austerlitz andWaterloo. Shovelthemunder andletmework-- I amthe grass;I coverall. Twoyears,tenyears,andthe passengersasktheconductor: What placeisthis? Wherearewenow? I amthe grass. Let mework. Thegrassnevergrewonmymemoriesof amputees.I could notsitdowninaParisMetroseatmarked"reserved forthemutilatedof war."Mygenerationremembersmen with no legssitting on littlerolling platforms,selling pencils andshoestrings(!).Aspart of my job inthenavalhospitalI tookTalkingBooks(recordedreadingsfortheblind)to other wards.I used to visit a Marine my agewho had lost all four.I look atmy handsnow asI writethis. WhenIwentwithafriendonamonth'swalk-around- train-aroundItalyin thespring of 1947,Ipushedtogobe- yond Siracusa to the beach of Gela,imagining Patton's troops beginningtheirinvasionof Europeonlyfouryearsbefore. Finally,theCivil War.Our war,our "Iliad"-as remote, heroic,andunfathomableastheworldofHomer.Inmy later yearsIhavebeen going to battlefields-Shiloh, Antie- tam,Vicksburg,ColdHarbor,Petersburg,Chickamauga, Appomattox-talking and walking with friends.Amood of puzzlement,reverie,and a kind of sacred sadness.For what? Maybe,for writing this book. 1 4 Writingbooksformeisanywaymuchlikeamilitary campaign. Iconfesstofightingmywaythroughwithmili- tary metaphors. Thereisastrategy,anoverallconcept,and there aretacticsallalong the way.When stuck,don't dig in; keepmovingforward.Don'tobsesstryingtoreducea strongpointbysheerforceor layingsiege.Isolateitandin time it will fallby itself.No pitched battles with the interior voicesof saboteurs,critics,adversaries.Alightskirmish,a showerof arrows,anddisappearintothenextparagraph. Camouflageyourownvulnerability,yourlackof reserves with showyparades and bugles-remember everyoneelseis equally vulnerable. Pillage the storehouses of thought, refur- bish old material and useit toreinforce your lines. Abandon ground youcan'texploit,but when you'vegot anissueon therun,takealltheterritory youcan. Writingonwarbringswarcloser,bringsdeathcloser. WillI seethisthroughto itsend;could Ibe stopped in my tracks?Letusimaginethistobeapropitiation,anoffering tothe gods who governthesethings. Theseoccasionalconfessionsanddistantimagesaremy pedigree. Yourauthor'sauthorityrestsonlyon thisthin red lineof calling. That calling,astrologers would claim,wasal- readywrittenintheheavens:Plutoascending,Sunand MoonconjunctinAries;Mercurythere,too.Tradition would sayI wasa "child of Mars." Strange indeed that what I am assuming to be my last book should land on the shores of thistheme;again,assooftenwith mythemes,thisdoes not derivefrompersonalexperience-unless "personalex- perience" includes the ferments of the soul and not only bi- ographicalactualities.Weareusuallytaughttowritewhat 1 5 wereally know,but arewe not drawn more into the depths bywhatwedon'tquiteknow?Anoldadagesays:"Ap- proachtheunknownbywayof unknowing."Iamnot an empiricist,somy passion isnot encumbered with expertise. IlikeSartre'sphilosophicaldictum:"He whobeginswith factswillnever arriveatessences."My having been witness only to war'sremnants and saved from war's action,hasper- hapssavedthistheme formy latelife.Whatever it wasthat earlier gaveme pausenow givesme cause. The step into the mind of war isa change of pace. Abrupt. Dis- turbing.Thecivilworld anditscivilitiesleftbehind.It isasif we areunder ordersto get on with it swiftly.The very styleof writing accommodatestoitssubject,submitting towhattheRenaissance writersknewasthe"rhetoricof speed"whosepatron wasMars, god of war.Hismetalisironwhichlikesfire,andrustswhen set asidein reflection;iron makesa poor mirror. Psychologistsarenotathomeinthisstyle.Wearearmchair generals; we like to watch. We listen for echoes and prefer to move sideways. Our passion is for the past, how things got this way,rather than hoping for a decisivevictory. Besides,we prefer the wounded tothevictors.Apsychology book whose subjectunder analysisis war will haveto developdifferent tactics for winning over itsread- ers,who will most likely defend against its offensive tone and its as- saults on entrenched thought. Readers may find themselves joining an underground resistance, looking for weak spots and exposed po- sitions. It will seem asif the book iswritten lessto cajole the reader than to knock him,or her,out flat.But war isnot a normal condi- tion,sowhy expect a normal study? Shouldn't the abnormalities of war sound in the voice speaking about it? 16 WARISNORMAL Halt!Iswar abnormal? I findit normal in that it iswith usevery dayandnever seemstogoaway.After World War IIsubsidedand thebigconflictsthatfollowedit(India,Korea,Algeria,Biafra, Vietnam,Israel/ Egypt),warwentrighton. Since1975theglobe hasbeenengagedinwarsinHaiti,Grenada,theFalklands,Peru, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador,Guatemala; in Lebanon, Palestine,Israel,Iran,Iraq,Kuwait;in Uganda,Rwanda, Mozam- bique, Angola,Sierra Leone,Liberia,Congo, Eritrea,Chad, Mau- ritania,Somalia,Algeria(again) , Sudan;in Afghanistan, Myanmar, India/Pakistan,Kashmir,SriLanka,thePhilippines,Cambodia, EastTimor,Sumatra,Irian;inBosnia,Croatia,Kosovo,Ireland, Chechnya,Georgia,Romania,Basque/Spain ... Youmayknow of others;stillothers onlytheparticipantsknow.Someon thislist arestill going on asI write,while new ones breakout asyou read. SomeofthemaresuddeneruptionsliketheFalklands,andthe sheepgraze again.Others in places likeAlgeria and the Sudanand Palestine belong to the normal round,utterly normative fordefin- ing daily life. Thisnormal roundof warfarehasbeen going on asfarback as memory stretches.During thefivethousandsixhundredyearsof writtenhistory,fourteenthousandsixhundredwarshavebeen recorded.Twoor threewarseach yearof humanhistory.Edward Creasy'sFifteenDecisiveBattles(1851)andVictorDavisHanson's Carnageand Culturehavetaught usthat the turning points of West- ern civilizationoccur in battlesandtheir"killing sprees":Salamis and Carthage, Tours and Lepanto, Constantinople, Waterloo, Mid- way,Stalingrad.Which youchooseasthetopfifteendependson your own criteria,but the point iscarried-the ultimatedetermi- nationofhistoricalfatedependsonbattlewhoseoutcome,we havealsobeen taught,depends upon an invisible genius,a leader,a hero,who,ata criticalmoment,or in prior indefatigableprepara- tion,"saves the day."In him a transcendent spirit ismanifested. The 1 7 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR battleand itspersonified epitome,thisvictor,thisgenius,become salvationalrepresentationsinour secularhistory.Laurelsforhalo. The statuesin our parks,thenamesof our grand avenues,andthe holidayswecelebrate--andnotonlyinWesternsocieties-com- memoratethe salvational aspect of battle. Neglected inCreasyandHansonarethethousandsof indeci- siveones,foughtwith equal valor,yet which ended inconclusively or yielded no victory fortheultimate victor of the war.Centuries of namelessbodiesinunheraldedfields.Unsungheroes;diedin vain;lost cause. The ferocityof battle may havelittle todo with its outcomeandtheoutcomelittletodowiththeoutcomeof the war.Italy,a "victor" of World War I,suffered more than half a mil- liondeathsinthefierceIsonzocampaignwhosefruitwasonlya disastrousdefeat.At VerdunamillionFrenchandGermancasual- tiesaccomplishednothingforeither side."Thebonesof perhaps 170,000 French soldierslieinthemassiveossuaryof Douaumont above Verdun."!7 Speaking of bones, more than a million bushels of men and horses were harvested fromthe battlefields of Napoleon's wars(Austerlitz,Leipzig,Waterloo,andothers),shippedtoEn- gland,ground into bone meal by normal workers at normal jobs. 18 EXCURSION: "Normal" W hat is"normal"? What aretheeffectsof thisword, what does it imply? Let'sfirst look at itsbeginnings. "Norm"and"normal"derivefromtheLatinwordnorma, meaningacarpenter'ssquare.Normaisatechnicalinstru- mentaltermforarightangle;itbelongsfirsttoapplied geometry.Normalisin Latinmeans"madeaccordingtothe 18 square";normaliter,"inastraightline,directly."Inthesix- teenth and seventeenth centuries "normal" meant rectangu- lar,standing at a right angle;then,in the eighteen hundreds usagewidenedandflattenedthestrictnessof itsmeaning: normal asregular (1828) ; normal school for teacher training (1834);normalasaverageinphysics(1859);normalize (1865);and normal as usual(1890). Thetroubledfeelingthatariseswhenwehear"waris normal"comesfromtroublesinthewaythewordisused. "Normal"canbeunderstoodintwoways,whichtendto fusesothatwetendtobelievewhatisaverage(normal)is alsostandardandright,i.e.,theright standard. The average sense of "normal" isstatistical,referring to occurrences that are usual,common, frequent,regular. This sense of the word canbe depicted by meansof a graph,for instance,the mid- dlesection of a Gaussiancurve where it swells.Hence,nor- malasmiddle,mean,centered;andabnormalasmarginal, eccentric,atthe edge. Abnormal then relieson quantitative or mathematical descriptions, as unusual,infrequent,excep- tional,deviate,rare,odd,anomalous. The second useof "normal"does not imply averageand ordinary,butratherideal.Thissecondmeaningstillrelies ontheroot--square,straight,upright;butthesetechnical descriptivetermsnow becomenormalized intometaphors. Normsnowmeanstandards.Apreestablishedimagepre- scribes the norm, the model, the rule. Whatever isclosest to it isthe most normal,even when that singular example isstatis- tically rare,if not an impossibility in fact . The norms of con- duct should be straight and upright-no lying,no cheating, no killing. The norms of bodily beauty should show no gross 1 9 distortions or blemishes. If "normalize" brings one down to the average,"normative" liftsone toward anideal. The ideal standard against which youmaymeasureyour conformityordeviationmaybesetbytheology(imitatio Christi);bylaw(thecitizen,thecomrade);bymedicine (weight/height/age/gender ratio);by philosophy(Stoic man, Kantianman,Nietzscheanman);byeducation(testscores, intelligencequotient);bytheculturalcanonsof asociety. Normalinthefirstsensesimplydescribesthewaymost thingsare;normalinthesecondsenseprescribesthingsas they might be best. Whenthetwomeaningsmerge,thenaveragebecomes thestandard.Infact,theveryword"standard"showsthis merging.Todayittendstomeanusual,ordinary,regular rather than ideal.Or,worse,theidealbecomesconformity with the averagerather thanan imageof perfection. Whenthetwomeaningsmergeinregardtowar,then descriptionsofbattlebecomeprescriptionsforbattle. "Should" devolvesto"what most people do."If war ishell, asSherman said,then war ought to be hell;ideally,war will be hellish,whichShermandemonstrated according toresi- dentsof Georgia.Sincebutchery happens,itought tohap- pen,andamedalshallbebestowedupontheonewho approximatestheidealnorm bykillingthemost.Pentagon plannerslayingoutthermonuclearscenariosarefollowing thelogicof normalcy,inwhichthegreatesthorrorfuses withthegreatestgood."The stateof war suspendsmoral- ity . .. renders morality derisory,"writes Levinas. 19 This isa terriblethought,asterrible aswar. Thewaybeyondthisdevastatingdilemmaistobreak 20 apart the fusion,soasto contain the term "normal" and the statement "war isnormal" within the limitsof itsown par- adigm.Inwar,atwar,whileengaged,immersed,under its sway.The norms war generateswithin itself arenot norma- tive beyond itself. This omnivorous appetite to encroach and consumeothernormsofothergods,suspendingtheir norms,iswar'sgravestdanger.Becausewaristotalonthe battlefield(McClellandidnotgraspthis,keepingbackhis reservesat Antietam;nor did Meade,who wastoo spent to followuponGettysburg),war must beall-out,totalitarian, monomanicinitssingle-mindedpursuit,andruthlessly monotheisticinitsdemandfornegatingallothernorms. That war isnow considered total war,world war,global,and withnoforeseeableend intimeor limit in target,equalin concepttothetotalizingpowerof itsinstruments,reveals thatwarismonotheisticinessence.Theresponsetothe megalomania of its normalcy requires maintaining the coun- tervailing powers of all the other gods and their norms. This connectionbetweenmonotheisticthinking,religion,and war we shallexplore in chapter 4. Todeclarewar "normal"doesnot eliminatethe pathologiesof behavior,theenormitiesof devastation,theunbearablepainsuf- fered in bodies and souls.Nor does the idea that war isnormal jus- ti£Yit. Brutalities such asslavery,cruel punishment, abuseof young children,corporal mutilation remain reprehensible, yet findaccept- anceinthebodypoliticandmayevenbeincorporatedintoits laws.Though"warisnormal"shocksourmoralityandwounds our idealism,it stands solidly asa statement of fact. 21 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR "War"isbecomingmorenormalizedeveryday.Tradewar, gender war,Net war,information war. But war against cancer, war againstcrime,againstdrugs,poverty,and other illsof society have nothing to with the actualities of war. These civil wars, wars within civilian society,mobilize resourcesin the name of a heroic victory overaninsidiousenemy.Thesewarsarenoble,goodguysagainst bad and no one gets hurt. This way of normalizing war has white- washed the word and brainwashed us,sothat we forgetitsterrible images.Then,wheneverthepossibilityof actualwarapproaches with its reality of violent death-dealing combat, the idea of war has been normalized into nothing more than putting more cops on the street,more ratsin the lab,and tax rebatesforurban renewal. I base the statement "war isnormal" on two factors we haveal- ready seen:itsconstancythroughout history and itsubiquity over the globe.Thesetwofactorsrequireanothermorebasic:acceptabil- ity.Warscould not happen unlessthere werethosewilling to help themhappen.Conscripts,slaves,indenturedsoldiers,unwilling draftees to the contrary, there are alwaysmassesready to answer the calltoarms,to join up,getinthefight.Therearealwaysleaders rushing totaketheplunge.Everynation hasitshawks.Moreover, resisters,dissenters,pacifists,objectors,and desertersrarely are able to bring war to a halt. The saying,"Someday they'll give a war and no one will come," remains a fond wish. War drives everything else off the front page. If war isnormal,isthis because it islodged in human natureor becauseit isinherent to societies?Iswar basicallyanexpressionof humanaggressionandself-preservationoranextensionof pack behavior-the hunting pack,theraiding pack,allthewayupto a coalition of millions in adistant land? TheNew Testamentoptsforthe first:"Whence come wars- cometheynothence,evenof yourpleasuresthatwarisinyour members. Yelust and havenot: ye kill and covet and cannot obtain: 22 WARISNORMAL yefightandwar;yehavenotbecauseyeasknot"(James4:1-2). Warsbegin in the lowlinessof our all-too-human material desires. Platoconcurs:"Thebodyfillsuswithlovesanddesiresand fears and allsortsof fanciesand a great dealof nonsense,with the result that we literallynever get an opportunity tothink at all about any- thing. Warsand revolutions and battles aredue simply and solely to the body and itsdesires.All wars areundertaken for the acquisition of wealth,and the reason we havetoacquire wealth isthe body."2o ThatwasearlierPlato;laterhefoundanothersourceof war: "All statesbytheir verynature,arealwaysengagedin aninformal war againstallother states."21 ButKant,likeHobbesbeforehim,takesitbackfromsociety, findingwartobeanuncausedcomponentof humannaturefor which noexplanation need be sought. "War,"he writes,"requires no motivation,but appearstobeingrained in human nature and is even valued assomething noble."22 Agreed,opines Steven LeBlanc's book Constant Battles.Warfare isingrained from earliest times,back tochimpanzees.Notso,arguesR . B.Ferguson:archeologysup- portshisviewthatwarfareisadevelopmentof onlythepastten thousand years. Ingrained or acquired?Individual person'saggressiveinstinct or socialgroup'saggrandizingclaims?Thevariouscontestingasser- tionsabouttheoriginsof warcanbereducedtotwobasicposi- tions.On the one side,theoriesof psychoanalysisthat takehuman naturebacktoearlylossof loveobjectsandtothebirthtrauma; theoriesof animalbiology(inbornreleasemechanismsof fight-or- flight;theories of determining genes pushing to get what they want). Ontheotherside,warisaproductof theinternalstruct\lreof groups,their belief systems,their territorial claims,their exogamous fertility requirements, and the collective psyche of the crowd as such. In both cases,whether human drive or societal necessity,war re- quires an imagined enemy. "Warre," writes Hobbes, isthat condition 23 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR "where every man isEnemy toevery other man,"and Clausewitz insiststhat"theenemymust alwaysbe kept inmind."The ideaof othernessor alteritythat currently dominatesthinking about gen- derandraceandecologyistooabstracttounleashthedogsof war.Canyouimagineawarwithoutfirstimagininganenemy? Whetherthefocusbeuponprey,sacrificialvictim,evilspirit,or object of desire,enmity mobilizes the energy. The figureof the en- emynourishesthepassionsof fear,hatred,rage,revenge,destruc- tion,and lust,providing thesupercharged strengththatmakesthe battlefield possible. War certainly does relyupon the individual'srepressions and/or aggressions,pleasureindemolition,appetitefortheextraordinary andspectacular,maniaof autonomy.Warharnessestheseindivid- ualurges and procures their compliance without which there could benowars;but war isnot individualpsychologywrit large.Indi- vidualscertainlyfightruthlesslyandkill;familiesfeudandharbor revenge,but thisisnot war."Soldiers arenot killers."23Even well- trainedandwell-ledinfantrymenhaveastrong"unrealizedresis- tancetowardkilling"24whichtacticallyimpedesthestrategyof everyengagement.Only a polis(city,state,society)canwar:"The onlysourceof warispolitics,"saidClausewitz. 25 "Politicsisthe wombinwhichwardevelops."26Forwartoemergefromthis womb, for the individual to muster aggressionsand appetites,there must be anenemy.The enemy isthe midwifeof war. The enemy provides the constellating image in the individual and isnecessarytothe statein order tocollect individuals intoa cohe- sivewarring body. ReneGirard'sViolenceandtheSacred elaborates this single point extensively:the emotional foundationof a unified society derives from "violent unanimity,"the collective destruction of a sacrificial victim, scapegoat, or enemy upon whom all together, without exception or dissent,turn on andeliminate.Thereby,the inherentconflictswithinacommunitythatcanleadtointernal 2 4 WARISNORMAL violence become exteriorized and ritualized onto an enemy.Once an enemy hasbeen foundor invented,named,and excoriated,the "unanimous violence" without dissent,i.e., patriotism and the pre- emptive strikes of preventative war, become opportune consequents. Thestatebecomestheonlyguarantorof self-preservation.If war begins in the state, the state begins in enmity. Thirteen colonies; a variety of geographies,religions,languages,laws,economies, but acommonenemy.For alltheutopiannobilityof theDeclaration of Independence, the text actually presents a long list of grievances againstthe enemy of them all,the king. Mind younow:there maynot actually beanenemy!Allalong we are speaking of the ideaof an enemy,a phantom enemy. It isnot the enemy that isessentialto war and that forceswars upon us,but theimagination.Imagination isthedriving force,especiallywhen imagination hasbeen preconditioned by the media,education, and religion,and fed with aggressiveboosterism and pathetic pieties by thestate'sneedforenemies.Theimaginedphantomswellsand cloudsthehorizon,wecannot seebeyondenmity. The archetypal ideagainsa face.Once theenemy isimagined,one isalreadyin a stateof war.Oncetheenemyhasbeennamed,warhasalready been declaredand theactualdeclaration becomes inconsequential, onlylegalistic.Theinvasionof Iraqbeganbeforetheinvasionof Iraq;it had already begun when that nation wasnamed among the axisof evil. Enmity formsitsimagesin many shapes-the nameless women to be raped,the fortressto berazed,therich housesto be pillaged and plundered,themonstrous predator,ogre,or evilempireto be eliminated.Anelementof fantasycreatestherationalityof war. Liketheheart,warhasitsreasonsthatreasondoesnotcompre- hend.Theseexfoliateandhardenintoparanoidperceptionsthat invent "the enemy,"distorting intelligence with rumor and specu- lation and providing justifications for the violent procedures of war 2 5 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR andharshmeasuresof depersonalizationathomeinthenameof security. Tracking down the body of a young Vietcong freshly killed in a firefight,PhilipCaputowrites:"Therewasnothingonhim,no photographs,no lettersor identification . . . it wasfinewith me.I wanted thisboyto remainanonymous;Iwanted tothink of him, not asadeadhuman being,witha name,age,and family,but asa dead enemy."27 A dead enemy, however, leaves an existential gap;no one there to fight.Becausetheenemy issoessentialtowar,if one party givesin to defeat,the victor alsoloses hisraison d'etre. He hasnothing more todo,no justification forhisexistence.Therefore,ritesof triumph to ease the despair of the victors whose exaltation does not last.Cel- ebrations, parades,dancing, awarding ribbonsand medals,or a ram- page against civilians and collaborators to keep an enemy present. As the war against Nazi Germany drew to a close,Patton grew gloomy; heexpected "a tremendousletdown,"28but soonfoundanewen- emyinCommunist Russia:"savages,""Mongols" ... Inshort,the aimsof war arenone other than itsown continuation, for which an enemy isrequired. Withthedefeatof theConfederatesin1865,whocouldnext serveasenemy for Union troopsand their generals?General Sher- man urged Grant to exterminate the Sioux, including the children, and General Sheridan famouslydeclared "the only good Indian isa dead Indian."General Custer,heroof the Shenandoah compaigns, wasalready out West in 1866 and smashing the Cheyenne in 1868. Like war,the fantasyof the enemy has no limit, sothat a dead Indian meant alsoa dead buffalo.Some sixhundred eighty thousand were shot down-one man could takeahundred a day-between 1871 and1874,andnearlyelevenmillionpoundsof buffalobone were shipped fromthekilling fields,according toRoe'sanalysesof the records. 26 WARISNORMAL If the enemy isevil,then any means used to oppose evil are ipso factogood.If theenemy isa predator (consider the monster ftlms, the dinosaur films,the gangster films),then kill any which way you can.If theenemyisanobstaclestandinginthewayof yourself- preservation,self-establishment,or self-aggrandizement, then knock it down and blow it apart.Carthagemust be destroyed;Tokyofire- bombed. Alexanderorderedthelevelingof everysinglestructure inPersepolis;ChristiansdefacedallthestatuesoftheEgyptian godstheycouldgettheirhandson.ProtestantChristiansinEn- gland even destroyed Catholic imagesof Mary and Jesus. The Tal- ibanblewupthegiantBuddhistimagescarvedintherockof Bamian. Israelisbulldozed West Bank housesand gardens. These arenot exceptional, deviate instances. So why doesSon- tagsay,"Wecan'timaginehownormal[war]becomes"?Allthat happensinit,during it,afterit,isalwaysthesame,regular,tobe expected,predictablein general,conforming toitsown standards, meetingitsnorms.S.o.P.Theimaginationcanbegraduallyin- ducted into the battlefield and can follow that creeping desensitiza- tion of civilian,outsider mentality ('Journalist,and aid worker and independentobserver"),that processfromtheintolerablethrough the barely endurabletothe merely normal. Howcanthelivingcellsinanypersonattheextremeof ex- haustionamiddyingfriendsandmangleddead,howitzershells whooshing pastlikefreighttrains,accommodatetothis"normal- ity"? How can any person thrice wounded climb back on hishorse andcontinuethechargestraight"into thecannon'smouth"?The human psyche's capacity tonormalize the most adverse conditions, adapttothem,findthem usual(peoplein extremeclimates, rarely movetoanothergeography;veryfewcaptivesresisttheirimpris- oners)haskeptthespeciesgloballyspread,diverse,andalive throughmillennia.Normalizationmayallowsurvival-and,nor- malization mayalsobe oneof thedumbestof human faults.How 27 ATERRIBLELOVEOFWAR doesit differ fromdenial,willfulunconsciousness,ignorance,psy- chic numbing? Doesn't accepting all also lead to pardoning all?The shadow sideof tolerance isthe lossof the senseof the intolerable. Tonormalizemaymeap.totaketheside,notof survival,butof death. Warachievesanaccommodationwithdeath.Afteraseriesof missions through dense antiaircraft fire,bomber crews begin to be- lievethey willnot makethe lastfewmandatoryrunsbeforerota- tion;veteransonpatrolclingtosuperstitiousroutinestofendoff theexpectationthatthenextbulletwillfindthem.Prolonged combat turns the soulintoanautomatismeanesthesiant;29a German writesof having"lostfeelingforalotof things";anEnglishman comparesthestatewithgoingunder ananesthetic,withautohyp- nosis. 3o Yetthe sensesmay remain vigilant,especially a hyperacuity of thesenseof smell.(Both Vietcong and Americansdetectedthe hiddenpresenceofeachotherbycharacteristicodors.)"Inthe abysmaldarkof Hadesthesoulknows/isknownby scent."3!Not the senses,but the psyche seemstohavevacated the person and en- teredthemythicalunderworld populated byshadesand phantoms. Combatants speak of "seeing things," firing away into illusions. The personwhoseidentityisgivenbylifeanditsexpectancies(some- timescalled"hope")hasbeenabandonedbytheseexpectations. The psyche isno longer the same. "I am all right-just the same asever,"writes a British soldier tohiswifein 1916, "but no-that can never be.. . . No man can experience such things and come out the same."32 War's"violence does not consist so much in injuring and annihilating personsasin interrupting their continuity ... making thembetraynotonlycommitmentsbuttheirownsubstance .. .. War . .. destroystheidentityof thesame,"writesLevinas. 33 The psychecannot be the same asbefore because it hasbecome a part- nerwiththesoulof thedying,companionof thedead,"half in lovewitheasefuldeath."Normalmeansbecomingonewiththe 28 WARISNORMAL norm,deadamong the dead."If these pagesarethick with death," saysSusanGriffin,"thinkof thebattlefield.Corpsesindifferent stagesof decay,theslowlydying,momentsof deathexistaround you everywhere. Who areyou?Youareamong the living,but can you be certain?"34 EXCURSION: Peace I fthesepages,too,arethick withdeathit isbecausethe written pageiswhere memory isbrought back fromthe burial ground and kept alive. Because the dead are speechless andtheveteransdon'ttalk,because"theearthyandcold hand of death/Liesonmytongue"(1Hen.IV 5.4.84),the writtenpagebecomesamementomori.Asfarbackas Thucydides,Herodotus,andthebooksof Joshua,Kings, and Samuel,writing transmuteswar intochronicles,mem- oirs,novels,poems,films.PaulFussell'ssuperbresearchlays out in detail how the death of 1914-18 remainsalivein the writtenimagination.Writers,especiallywritersof war,do notcreate;theyre-create,andreadingisbotharecreation andthere-creationof whathasslippedawayfrompresent graspand into thesoul'srecesses,avoided,forgotten. Thenameof thisvoidof forgetfulnessispeace,whose shortfirstdefinitionis:"theabsenceof war."Morefully, theOxford English Dictionary describes peace:"Freedom from, or cessation of,war or hostilities;a stateof a nation or com- munityinwhichitisnotatwarwithanother."Further, peacemeans:"Freedomfromdisturbanceorperturbation, especially asa condition of an individual;quiet,tranquility." 29 WhenNevilleChamberlainandhisumbrellareturned from Munich in 1938 after utterly failing to grasp the nature of Hitler,hetoldtheBritishpeoplehe hadachieved peace inourtimeandthatnoweveryoneshould"gohomeand get a nicequiet sleep."35 Thesepagesarethick with death in order todisturbthe peace. The worst of war isthat it ends in peace,that is,it absents itselffromremembrance,asyndromeChrisHedgescalls "collective or blanket amnesia,"36beyond understanding,be- yond imagining. "Peace is visible already," writes Marguerite Duras. "It's likea great darkness falling,it'sthe beginning of forgetting."37 Iwillnot march for peace,nor willI pray for it,because it falsifiesall it touches. Itisa cover-up,a curse. Peace issim- ply a bad word. "Peace," said Plato,"is reallyonly a name."38 Even if statesshould"ceasefromfighting,"wroteHobbes, "It isnot to becalledpeace;but rather abreathingtime."39 Truce,yes;cease-fire,yes;surrender,victory,mediation, brinkmanship,standoff-thesewordshavecontent,but peace isdarkness falling. When peace follows war,the villages and towns erect me- morials with tributes to the honor of the fallen, sculptures of victory, angelsof compassion, and local names cut in granite. Wepassbythesestrangestructureslikeobstaclestotraffic. Even theimmediate presenceof war'saftermath,the rubble of London,the rubbleof Frankfurt,the desolation through Russia,the Ukraine,become unremarkabletoitscitizens in the anesthesia of peace. The survivors themselves enter a state of unperturbed quiescence;they don't want to talk about it. 30 The dictionary's definition,an exemplary of denial,fails the word, peace. Written by scholars in tranquillity,the def- inition fixatesand perpetuatesthe denial.If peace ismerely anabsenceof,afreedomfrom,it isboth anemptinessand arepression.Apsychologistmustaskhowistheemptiness filled,sincenatureabhorsa vacuum;andhow doesthere- pressed return,since it must? The emptiness left byrepressing war fromthe definition of peace bloats it with idealizations-another classicdefense mechanism. Fantasiesof rest,of calmsecurity,lifeas"nor- mal,"eternalpeace,heavenlypeace,thepeaceof lovethat transcendsunderstanding;peaceasease(shalvahintheHe- brew Bible)and completeness (shalom).The peace of naivete, of ignorance disguised asinnocence. Longings for peace be- come both simplistic and utopian with programs for univer- sal love, disarmament, and an Aquarian federation of nations, or retrogradetothestatusquoanteof Norman Rockwell's applepie.Thesearetheoptionsof psychicnumbingthat "peace"offersandwhichmusthavesooffended Jesusthat he declared fora sword.40 Todispelsuchquietingillusions,writersalongwith thosehoundedbyMarsroilthecalm.Thepagesarethick withdeathbecausewritersdonotholdtheirpeace,keep silent,playdumb. Books of war givevoicetothetongueof the dead anesthetized bythat major syndromeof the public psyche:"peace." The specificsyndromesufferedby Americanveterans;- post-traumatic stress disorder-occurs within the wider syn- drome:theendemicnumbingof theAmericanhomeland anditsaddictiontosecurity.Thepresentsurroundingsof 31 theveteranin"peacetime"canhaveasstrong,ifsubtle, traumaticeffectandcancauseasmuchstressaspaststress and trauma. PTSD breaks out in peacetime because peace as defineddoesnotallowupsettingremembrancesofwar's continuing presence.Warisneverover,evenwhenthefat ladysingson victory day.Itisanindeliblecondition inthe soul,givenwiththecosmos.Thebehaviorof veterans- theirdomesticfury,suicides,silences,anddespairs-years after a war is"over" refutes the dictionary and confirms war's archetypal presence. Peacefor veterans isnot an "absence of war"butitslivingghostinthebedroom,atthelunch counter, on the highway. The trauma is not "post" but acutely present,and the "syndrome" isnot in the veteran but in the dictionary,in the amnesiac's idea of peace that colludes with anunlivablelife. PTSDcarriersof theremnantsof warin their soulsin- fectthepeaceablekingdom.Theyarelikeinitiatesamong innocents.Thepainandfear,andknowledge,absorbedin theirbodiesandsoulsconstituteaninitiation-butonly halfway.It isaninitiationinterruptusstillaskingforthewise instructionthatisimpartedbyinitiations.Whywar;why thatwar;whatiswar?HowcanwhatInowknowinmy bones about treachery and hypocrisy,about loving compas- sionandcourage,andkilling,reentersocietyandservemy people?If peacemeansnowarandIamsoakedinwar's blood, what am I doing here? Again that failureof imagina- tionandphilosophicunderstanding.Thepotentialofthe veteranisphasedout withthewarinwhichhematures;I havebeen mothballedbypeace.Peacetimehasnotimefor my awareness. There isno response in the least way adequate 3 2 totheordealfromthecivilizationIhavebeensentbyand returned to. The return fromthe killing fieldsismore than a debrief- ing;itisaslowascentfromhell."Theireyeslookedasif theyhad beentohellandback."41The veteranneedsarite desortie that belongs to every initiation asitsnormal conclu- sion,makingpossibleanintactreturn.Thisprocedureof detoxification,that givesmeaning totheabsurdand imagi- nation to oppressive facts, should take aslong and be asthor- ough astherited'entreeof boot-camp basictraining. Society has still to recognize the value offered to it by the disturbedvet.Initiatesoftenserveasleadersof traditional societies. They havebeen totheedge,stood among thean- cestors in theunderworld. In our societies,combat veterans aremarginalized."Of thoseunemployedbetweentheages of thirty and thirty-four in Britainattheend of the[nine- teen]twenties,80percentwereex-servicemen."42 U.S.vet- eranstendtobecomemisfits,outcasts,driftingbackwards into belligerency, or they find themselves in a pressure group of oldboyslobbyingforrewardsincompensationforthe recognitionfailedthem.Wepaythemoffwithveterans' benefits insteadof reaping the benefits they could bring. Ambrose'scareful follow-upof what became of the sur- vivorsof the company whose story hetellsin BandrifBroth- ers shows that ideal potential in men who were exceptionally led and exceptionally close, i.e.,initiates. "A number of men went intosomeformof building,construction,or making things."43 An even larger number began to teach,and one of themasks:"Isitaccidentalthatsomanyex-paratroopers fromEcompany becameteachers?,,44 3 3 Even though our disturbed veterans may only be incom- pleteinitiates,theirpresenceallthroughthenationcould serveto inoculatethebody politicagainsttheworst disease brought by the god of war:the headlong rush into action by the uninitiated. Isthat why many older generalsand veteran citizensspeakoutandholdthelineagainstthemarchof folly? "Veteran"fromvetu5,old,ripe,worn,belonging tothe past.Timealonedoesnotmakeveterans.Atwenty-year- oldGermanstudent writes:"allaboutusdeathhissedand howled.Suchanightisenoughtomakeanoldmanof one."45Combat isinstant aging. The veteran hassurvived an initiation;thefactof thatsurvival,thatchanceor miracle, forcesupononethedeepestquestioningandtheveteran's burden of carrying the dead into life.Of course a veteran is ripe and worn and burnished by the past. The one virtueof thedictionary'sdefinitionof peace is itsimplied normalization of war.War isthe larger idea,the normativeterm giving peace itsmeaning. Definitions using negationorprivationarepsychologicallyunsophisticated. Theexcludednotionimmediatelycomestomindand,in fact,the word "peace" can be understood only after you have grasped the"war." Warisalsoimpliedinanothercommonmeaningof peace:peaceasvictory.Thefusionof peacewithmilitary victory shows plainly enough in the prayers for peace which tacitly askfor winning the war. Do people ever pray for sur- render?Unconditionalsurrenderwouldbringimmediate peKe. Do they eve, light candle
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