I don't think that combat has ever been written about truthfully; it has always been described in terms of bravery and cowardice. I won't even accept these words as terms of human reference any more. And anyway, hell, they don't even apply to what, in actual fact, modern warfare has become.
--James Jones, novelist (1921-1977)
(70:2.9) War has had a certain evolutionary and selective value, but like slavery, it must sometime be abandoned as civilization slowly advances. Olden wars promoted travel and cultural intercourse; these ends are now better served by modern methods of transport and communication. Olden wars strengthened nations, but modern struggles disrupt civilized culture. Ancient warfare resulted in the decimation of inferior peoples; the net result of modern conflict is the selective destruction of the best human stocks. Early wars promoted organization and efficiency, but these have now become the aims of modern industry. During past ages war was a social ferment which pushed civilization forward; this result is now better attained by ambition and invention. Ancient warfare supported the concept of a God of battles, but modern man has been told that God is love. War has served many valuable purposes in the past, it has been an indispensable scaffolding in the building of civilization, but it is rapidly becoming culturally bankrupt—incapable of producing dividends of social gain in any way commensurate with the terrible losses attendant upon its invocation.
James Ramon Jones (November 6, 1921 – May 9, 1977) was an American novelist known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath. He won the 1952 National Book Award for his first published novel, From Here to Eternity, which was adapted for the big screen immediately and made into a television series a generation later.
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