15 January 2004

On War

"No universal history leads from savagery to humanitarianism, but there is one leading from the slingshot to the megaton bomb."
--- Theodor Adorno, "Negative Dialectics", 1966

We'd like to think we're a civilised people, that a million years of evolution would breed out the animal in us. Violence, according to some historians, has been effectively tamed through the "civilising process", and we are the only species to draw up rules of engagement for war, a code of morality for justified violence...

Why would the technology of war (and the capacity to kill) still march on relentlessly, unless the urge to slaughter remains undiminished?

Whither the morality of war, that sense of justice in combat, that allows some of us today to declare others as "unlawful combatants" undeserving of justice, basic human rights, and exempt from the Geneva convention on the treatment of prisoners?

No comments: