The Ephemeral Gains

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May 31, 2021- Someone, writing about Memorial Day, recounted the most significant things about his time in the Armed Forces, especially with regard to Iraq. His love of the pomp and circumstance, esprit de corps and the camaraderie that he found in each of his units was reflected throughout the essay. One statement he posits, however, is particularly curious- “It’s the unbreakable bond that only war can provide.”

War certainly does form unbreakable bonds. It can also form unbreakable barriers. It is also not the only means to build such bonds. Any number of shared struggles can do the same, and not all are calamitous in nature. Any gains made by a fight to the death are, in fact, ephemeral.

Some will argue that the current territorial condition of the United States was made possible primarily by warfare. That, in its initial increments, is largely true. However, the initial victors have had to either fight a series of subsequent conflicts, either as declared wars or as acts of political chicanery. This has been true of every conflict faced by the United States, with the possible exception of World War II-and even it did not address the totalitarian threat posed by Communism-or the lingering residue of state-sponsored racism and anti-Semitism.

Building societies and social bridges can certainly construct unbreakable bonds along with them. It just takes a whole lot more enlightenment than we’ve seen in the past.