24 July 2005

The Glorious Wars of the Past

There was a rather interesting discussion today on the WTM Boards concerning feel "on edge" with the way thing are in the world today. There also was a bit of discussion concerning modern history and how it is more difficult to study because of the wars in the last 150 years.

I hear this a lot, and one of the posters on the board gave what I think is a reasonable explanation, "War of old seems glorious and engaging; war we "know" is just disturbing." We do tend to glorify historical wars, and it has always bothered me.

Why should we have more of a problem with the Persian Gulf War than the mass slaughter of the Canaanites by the Israelites? Genghis Khan was far from merciful to those who opposed him. The Assyrians and the Crusaders were brutal. And there are many more examples. Do we simply not understand history? Why do we glorify the awful things in the past? Why do we think that our world today is so much more difficult than any other time in the past?

Modern wars have had devastating effects on many people. I am not saying that modern wars should bother us less than ancient wars. It's simply that I don't understand why there is a double standard concerning our portrayal of war. I think we do ourselves a disservice in many ways as a result.

1 comment:

Mark said...

We've even seen it in modern times. As time goes along, there are more opportunities for true history to fade and romanticized legends to grow. There's been, for example, a marked difference in the way hollywood has treated the Vietnam war from then to now.

MRKH