Are wars simply a matter of sex and psychology: irrational alpha males grabbing the bananas and lovemaking at the top of the tree with his submissive sweet fruit? Or in conflict conducted in a purposeful manner by thinking and reflective men and women? And, in the Middle East as a metaphor for larger contexts, god and war seem inextricable; god’s warriors of sword and sonnet.
Clausewitz’s famous thesis about war as the continuation of policy is rarely evoked today to explain different conflictual phenomena. The basic message is that war is rooted by tribalistic ritual or a twisted psychic self-gratification as ideology. Or worse, is inherent in the genetic make-up and national characteristics of nation states we disagree with. Incredibly, ostensibly knowledgeable thinkers like Martin van Creveld have written that the real reason we engage in wars in that men like fighting. And John Keegan, has also posited the psycho perspective in asserting that warfare reaches in the hidden and secret places of the individual’s heart; a kind of adventure/romance based on primeval stone throwing.
So, the new line of thought is that the rational is substituted for the irrational.The fear factor than anything can happen at any moment. There is no connection between politics and battle, and relationship theories between conflict and human nature are promoted as obvious truths. It become war for wars sake, like an artistic esthetic; not a means to an end, but an end in itself. Something in the grip of forces beyond human control in the back alleys of genetic makeup, rogue sexual characteristics and a place at the table of culture.
Van Creveld might deny the existence of a “war gland” or “aggressive gene,” but he asserts that given a choice, “men might very well give up women before they give up war.” And while Keegan detours into the brain’s “seat of aggression,” he concludes that, “half of human nature – the female half – is in any case highly ambivalent about war-making.” Read More:http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/CaleReview.htm
Dorian Lynsky:Whatever one thought of David Cameron’s attack on trigger-happy rap lyrics over the summer (try shallow and opportunistic), some of his critics were equally simplistic in their defence of hip-hop, applying the say-what-you-see defence to lyrics that are no more sincere reportage than Scarface is a poignant meditation on the plight of Cuban immigrants.
The point is not that rappers don’t revel in the drama of flying bullets; it’s that they’re not alone. Guns have always been a guilty pleasure for storytellers. In American music, you can trace the tradition back through Johnny Cash shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die and Robert Johnson cradling his 32-20 rifle to the legend of Stagger Lee, the mythology of the old west and the second amendment….
…Even socially conscious songwriters romanticise the gun if they consider the cause righteous. Alabama 3 based Woke Up This Morning on the true story of a woman who shot dead her abusive husband. Not that you can hear it now without picturing Tony Soprano’s long drive home. Hey Joe has the dark resonance of a folktale. It’s been passed on like a folktale, too, with versions by Love, Deep Purple, Ice-T and Cher, among others, but Hendrix owns it with his ominous, uncoiling machismo.
The gun is also a – cough – loaded political metaphor. In Magazine’s thrillingly tense punk landmark Shot By Both Sides, Howard Devoto portrays himself as a lone refusenik caught in the era’s ideological crossfire. To the perpetually peeved Rage Against the Machine, the bullet represents government propaganda. The lyrics may be as subtle as a bullet in the head, but such explosive ire doesn’t really call for subtlety.
In the anti-gun camp, Gang of Four take aim at the emblematic firearm of the Ulster conflict, the Armalite, and the Valentines tackle the epidemic of gun violence in 1960s Jamaica, albeit in such a chirpy manner that you’d think they were all for it. Lynyrd Skynyrd contradict their good ol’ boy image with Saturday Night Special, a thunderous, NRA-bothering demand for gun control, and Steve Earle offers a rollicking morality tale in which, contrary to his mama’s warnings, our pistol-packing hero shoots dead a card cheat. Doesn’t he know that characters in country songs should always heed their mama?
Hip-hop has more to say about guns and their uses than any other genre, and I’ve never encountered a more eloquent and original example than I Gave You Power. Nas, a fascinatingly conflicted MC with a sensitive angel on one shoulder and a gangsta devil on the other, imagines himself as a gun that’s finally grown sick of killing: “I might have took your first child/Scarred your life, crippled your style/I gave you power.” The narrative grips like a fist. Let’s go out not with a whimper but a Bang Bang: written for Cher, turned inside-out by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood and made shockingly literal by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill. As for what the Audio Bullys did to it, they want shooting.Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2006/nov/10/2
Stephen Metz:Van Creveld’s conclusions run counter to much of the thinking within the US Army concerning the military force of the future. And, he feels, it is not simply armed forces that are growing obsolete, but also the world’s basic political unit. Since the territorial state with a conventional army has proven unable to decisively defeat low-intensity conflict, it will fade into obsolescence. “The most important single demand that any political community must meet,” he writes, “is the demand for protection” . If the territorial state cannot protect its citizens, “then clearly it does not have a future in front of it.” First to go will be the weak states of the Third World, the last Western Europe and Japan. Even the United States may fall victim if proper preventive measures are not taken. Van Creveld writes:
America’s current economic decline must be halted; or else one day the crime that is rampant in the streets of New York and Washington, D.C., may develop into low-intensity conflict by coalescing along racial, religious, social, and political lines, and run completely out of control.
This line of thinking leads to a stark picture of a future where war will not be waged by armies but by groups whom we today call terrorists, guerrillas, bandits, and robbers, but who will undoubtedly hit on more formal titles to describe themselves. Their organizations are likely to be constructed on charismatic lines rather than institutional ones, and to be motivated less by “professionalism” than by fanatical, ideologically-based, loyalties.
Van Creveld is not arguing that future war will pit conventional, modern forces against guerrillas and terrorists; instead, as low-intensity conflict becomes the dominant form of armed violence, all armed forces will move toward a guerrilla and irregular configuration. This is a profoundly radical idea. Americans are used to thinking that as other nations and groups “progress” they become more like us. But van Creveld is on solid historical ground when he contends that “we” may become more like “them.” Read More:http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/Metz.htm