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Is There Victory in War?

September 25, 2013

With all of the talk about air attacks on Syria, the conversation about what victory will look like in this potential military action must be part of the national conversation. This is an interesting question, what does victory look like in an armed conflict?

Politicians can set parameters for an armed conflict. They can control the finances, establish rules of engagement, and interaction with the media. The people of a nation can determine the support it gives to the war and the troops involved in a war. Protests and welcome home signs are two sides of the coin the people hold. The media can slant their coverage of a conflict to suit their end purpose. Instead of a direct reporting of the facts, they can choose what to report and how to report it in an effort to influence the outcome.

In reality, the only person who has no say in the outcome of a war is the soldier[1] carrying out the orders of the nation. Soldiers see the effects of the war on themselves, their comrades, and on the population where the action is happening. Soldiers realize there is no real victory, just survival.

War costs billions of dollars. These funds drain resources for other activities and add to the debt of our nation. It goes beyond funding the war, but also rebuilding nations afterwards. Because of the distances involved, and the hostile areas, these costs are radically inflated from what we would think. These are monies which could assist the jobless, homeless, or social security recipients.

Wars devastate not just the lives of those who die, but many others. See, for every person who dies, there are family members let behind. Parents, and siblings, carry the burden forward through the years. Innocent people end up being killed in wars. For example, innocent children have died in wars since the beginning of wars. These children leave traumatized families behind. Many soldiers who serve in wartime are traumatized even after they come home. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has been affecting troops for years, just now we have been able to identify the injuries. The trauma PTSD and TBI causes can be mild causing quirks in a veteran’s behavior, or severe to the point where they are violent or even take their life. Their families also suffer in silence with those who have TBI and PTSD.

You see, these are just two areas which, when openly addressed, prove that victory is a myth of war. This is by no means an anti-war article. I am a realist; I know there will be wars. But the cost must be measured by not only the politicians and the media and the rewards they reap, but each and every citizen of must participate in the conversion. We must realize that we are the ones who vote people into office. These people make decisions, and we hope they do so in our best interest. To hold them accountable the people must remain informed and educated about the situations facing the nation. But without understanding just a few of the deeper consequences of war, how can we hold anyone accountable?

The next time you see the elected speaking of war, or even a single military action, honor those who serve by taking the time to educate yourself as to the issues at hand. Then correspond with your elected officials and give them your opinion. This is an honorable way to stand up for the soldiers who ultimately work for each tax payer.

[1] “Soldier” is being used in a generic sense referring to a service member, male or female, in any branch of the service.

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