It is difficult to make general statements about most subjects, but I think it is easy to say that war is a waste.
It is not that I cannot understand why some wars begin or that certain groups feel that they need to fight back. No matter the reason behind the conflict, I think that we could conclude that war wastes human lives, sucks up financial resources, and wastes buildings and infrastructure built over centuries in some cases.
War Wastes Human Lives
The world has lost thousands of human lives due to the Hamas-Israeli conflict and the invasion of Ukraine.
Think about the ripple effect of a stone thrown into the water, how it radiates outward farther and farther. A father or mother, the principal provider for a family is killed. Not only are the children, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and extended families affected by the loss, but who will sustain the remaining nuclear family members? Who will help? Who can help when multiple family members die?
In addition to needing sustenance, how will the loss of a parent and war in general affect children, especially? The experience of war is traumatizing and will affect people’s psychological lives for years. Perhaps that is one reason why Hamas attacked. Is the organization filled with adults who were traumatized? How many people on both sides have experienced trauma? Trauma affects primal responses such as fight, flight, and freeze. I would imagine that these responses are heightened in a world where violence is familiar.
Thus far, who has died? Farmers and soldiers have died. Palestinians and Israelis. Adults and children. In addition could one of these people have died? a future Nobel Peace Prize winner, a researcher who could make huge strides in addressing poverty, or a scientist who could figure out how to use natural substances to dissolve plastic?
War Wastes Financial Resources that Could Build Rather than Destroy
Those of us who live far away have seen photos in Ukraine and in the Middle East of destroyed apartment buildings. A hospital was taken down in Gaza. What we do not see is the effects that bombs and missiles on “invisible” resources such as water and gas lines, sewers, and roads. It is difficult to help when an area has lost bridges or roads.
Whenever these conflicts end, if they do, how long will it take to rebuild what was lost? A significant period, I would imagine. Building housing, schools, medical facilities, and stores takes time. What were the plans under discussion for future building? Those plans will have to be tabled for years. Meanwhile, additional funds disappear to support warfare that could have been used to address societal concerns and improve lives.
War Destroys the Infrastructure of Life
Everyday life requires sleep, food, and activity. Is it possible to sleep through shelling? It sounds as if not much food has arrived in Gaza to date. What were the regular shipping channels previously? Can they be used?
I would imagine that many adult workplaces have been affected. What do the adults do? Can children go to school even if it is in another building? No doubt there are some smart and resilient men and women helping to create some normalcy even as the attacks continue in Gaza and Israel. I heard that some mosques have been hit in Gaza but do not know about synagogues. Having places of worship seems vital in crises.
It is rarely the people who initiate a violent conflict who suffer the most from it. While violence may release anger people have felt for years, what other good does it do? It disrupts daily life and wastes resources that everyone needs.
War is a waste.