Monday, September 01, 2003

Special Edition

Since this is a holiday here in the US, I have a day off work. So I have an opportunity to do something here that I wish I could do more often--muse on something that I think relates to the ever-expanding "War on Terror".

Yesterday, I watched "Conquest" on The History Channel. It's a program where a guy who I think does combat scenes for movies takes a team and teaches them how to accomplish some task related to history. They've done some weird stuff; defeated a knight in armor using some unique weapons, fought as gladiators, become a SWAT team, and the host has done some "solo" tasks as well; a demolition derby, bronco busting, air combat and greco-roman wrestling. I'm waiting for the team to try and learn either the weapons of the samauri or the mysterious arts of the ninja.

But yesterdays task had them trying to survive "in the trenches" of World War I. This was war the old-fashioned way; remember the airplane was only about 10 years old, so basically the charge was still a primay means of attack. Going from trench to trench, hole to hole, inch by inch. And I've realized, while technology has made warfare safer, it's also removed the human element.

With warfare being in many cases much like a computer game, we've managed to see the enemy as damage, much like an object, as opposed to a human being. And when war does get back to the ground, we wonder why things are bogging down.

Now I'm glad to see that warfare is safer, but I wonder how many of the soldiers in Iraq would react if they had to fight the way soldiers in World War I or the Civil War had to fight. And whether more of them would ask the questions that I and my allies in the "anti-war" movement would ask.