Chapter 1: State of War
1. State of war ‘Part of war’s intoxication comes from the difficult but undeniable fact that there is pleasure in it. Some people can come to enjoy killing. It gives them a buzz of pleasure and power. Many describe it as erotic.’1 1. CONVENTIONAL WAR Heraclitus claimed that everything changes.2 Yet fundamental things remain the same. Wars have changed technologically but the ancient motives of war-making – security, honor and self-interest3 – have stayed the same. Wars are still driven by leaders, executed by soldiers, and witnessed from a distance with indifferent curiosity. Our era is that of persistent conflict.4 Emerging powers are challenging an order where only a superpower remains, providing a glimpse at a future of uncertain alliances, competing interests and a constant urge to look over one’s shoulder. Terrorists of various ideological strands aim to create conditions of intimidation, fear and panic in societies. Failing states provide easy platforms for the conduct of war away from the prying eyes of the media. Conventional war has been defined as the war between opposing armies struggling to acquire superiority in the battlefield in order to keep or capture territory or force changes in the policies of an adversary. The goal of conventional warfare is to defeat an adversary’s armed forces. Since World War II, however, the battlefield has expanded beyond the theatre of the battle. Now strategic bombings in city centers that are to guarantee a decisive victory are routine. Many kinds of wars are conducted in Hugo Slim, Killing Civilians:...
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