I see that short phrase every day on the backpacks of schoolchildren, on stickers and placards and I’ve even seen it (with my own eyes) painted blood-red on the Sydney Opera House. No War.
But just like “Make Poverty History”, do the people wearing this slogan have any real idea what it would mean if we really and truly had No War?
First off, we’d have to get rid of all weapons. Because as long as we have weapons, we can have war.
So let’s dismantle all the nuclear weapons. And then let’s move on to all the conventional missiles and other delivery systems, warships, guns, rifles, pistols and knives.
What’s that you say? How will you carve your Tofurky at Christmas without a knife? Well, we’ll just have to invent some technology that will let you cut food but not a human, because as long as someone’s got a knife, you can have a War. (For anyone that thinks a War can’t be fought with knives, I remind you of what happened in Rwanda.)
So we’ll have none of that, or the next time somebody gets mad they’ll knife someone, and that might start a War.
Then, we’ll have to think about other things that can be used to kill people. Like cars and trucks. We’ll have to fence off all the roads so a crazy driver can’t run someone over and trigger a running-over-fest the likes of which has never been seen.
Oh, and I’ll take that stick too, thanks. Oh, and those sewing needles while I’m here.
The fact of the matter is a simple one. For as long as there have been people, tribes, nations and countries (not to mention religion), there have been wars. First with sticks, and these days with smart bombs and ballistic missiles. If you really want to kill someone, there are more than enough things at hand that you can use to do the job. You can even use your hands.
But you need to realize that the technological advance of weaponry is as necessary to the survival of life as we know it as the air we breathe. Truly, it is. For if our neighbour that hates us can take what we have with impunity because he’s got better weapons, he’s going to bloody well do it.
The great equalizer, if you will, between technologically advanced forces and not-so-advanced ones has been guerrilla warfare. And that’s what Hizbollah are doing to Israel right now.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are extremely well-equipped and well trained. They have the very latest in weaponry, they use the very latest thinking in battlefield doctrine, and – dare I say it – they know what it’s like to draw the short straw. And I won’t blame them for not liking it. The modern Israeli military has also never lost a war…that’s why Israel still exists.
Hizbollah, on the other hand, is comparitively small, not nearly as well equipped (but better equipped than many of us thought), and not as well trained. But they are fanatics, and believing in your cause is always worth something.
By hitting and running, making quick incursions into Israel and then withdrawing just as quickly, they make themselves hard to find and harder to hit. So you get the sort of reaction we have now from Israel, and that’s to try and make life *so tough* on the Lebanese that they’ll turn Hizbollah out, as it were, into the cold.
But I don’t think the Lebanese are going to do that, as Hizbollah is a fairly powerful political force in Lebanon, and they’re backed by the one-two punch of Syria and Iran.
And here’s where I start to get to my point. The theory that I’ve heard a bit around this is that Hizbollah was directed to launch these large rocket volleys at Israel *right now* because of the G8 Summit, both to deflect the leaders’ attention from the Iranian nuclear program and to buy it more time. And I think that’s not too far off the mark.
But when they decided to pick on the new government in Israel, they really picked the wrong fight.
So here’s what I’ll say before anyone else:
Israel’s intent is to draw Syria into the conflict. Either in an open war, or by driving elements of Hizbollah back far enough that they then have an excuse to bomb on Syrian soil. From that, they want to draw Iran into the fight. And they want to do that because then they will have all the reason they need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities at Bushehr, Parchin and who knows where else.
And they’re going as hard as they are because they need to get it all done before international concensus builds enough to actually deploy peacekeepers.
Because the one thing Israel cannot afford Iran, Syria or Hizbollah having is a nuclear weapon. They simply cannot let this happen and survive as a state. No bloody way.
You can see they are already preparing the ground for their strikes. Making statements in the press that the missiles are Iranian, coming via Syria, and even Jane’s Defence Weekly agrees that this is the most likely source of the weapons. An Israeli ship off Lebanon was hit last week with an anti-ship missile – either a Silkworm or a Yingji, details are sketchy – the source of which had to be Iran.
And you all know how I feel about the possibility of Iran getting “The Bomb”. Not good. And as long as there are people that want to hurt us, or bend us to their will, there will never be “No War”, and to hope for that is no better than putting your head in the sand.