Thursday, November 3, 2016

the addictive grappling hooks of war

"They can't imagine any other life but war."
Russian mercenaries, like their American counterparts, are perhaps finding an increasingly hospitable home in the fiery hell of the Middle East. Well, maybe the American special forces sent in to advise one faction or another aren't exactly mercenaries, but their blood seems approximately as red. Two American soldiers were reported killed today in Afghanistan ... "rare combat deaths for Western forces who handed over the task of securing Afghanistan to local troops some two years ago."

But the shadow Russian troops, as reported by Reuters, are, well, shadowy.
Back in southern Russia, medals were delivered to [the] families [of two dead contractors]: the order of bravery, with certificates signed by President Vladimir Putin. The medals, seen by Reuters, were intended to honor the sacrifice they had made for their country.
Except Kolganov and Morozov were not employed by the Russian state. They were in Syria as private contractors, a small part of an army of such people who are being deployed secretly by the Kremlin in Syria.
And why?
"The Arabs are not warriors by nature, but are thrown together and told to storm high ground. They don't know how to storm it let alone conquer their instincts and move towards the bullets. How can you make them do it? Only by setting yourself as an example," Kapa said. "That's why our guys reinforced their units."
War is an insidious drug, it seems: Once introduced to this handmaiden of chaos, it seems impossible for a combatant to draw back, to stop thinking of so magnetic a companion. There is only one solution for the moment -- enter the fray yet again and again until the mind finds some surfeit. In drug addiction, "if one's good, two's better" and it seems that war has the same effect ... the beast must be fed and young men everywhere are learning to feast. And where the beast is fed, the attention is diverted from anything that might resemble peace. More and more and more ... and the souls of Russians and Americans alike rot away.

With the U.S. presidential election scheduled next Tuesday, it is impossible not to think that the souls of our young soldiers are destined for ever more of the deliciousness that politicians bask in -- the wars that go on and on and on and give rise to ever more fearsome fear tactics and, thereby, ever more successful re-election bids.

Hillary Clinton will be elected. Wars in the Middle East are assured. Women and children and otherwise peaceable men will suffer deprivation and death and meanwhile, the shadow warriors, the addicts who cannot avert their eyes and hearts, will crumble at the core.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the lord Krishna encourages the warrior Arjuna to fight in ways he has been trained despite the injunction against killing and for a wider peace. It is the way of the world, it seems, to reap even as you sow. What (wo)man does not encounter such difficulty, whether on the actual battlefield or otherwise? And yet there is something heinous and shameful and scream-worthy about the young who take on the burden of this addiction.


  1. We remain apes, aware of evolution, but indifferent to its promise.

  2. Happy Russian Unity Day.