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 Why is War Fascinating?

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PostSubject: Why is War Fascinating?   Fri 09 May 2014, 10:31

Being drawn to watch war films and documentaries and reading a breadth of stuff, why does it interest I often ask myself. Sometimes it's a search for truths - and often to get misconceptions sorted. A recent example of that is a lengthy and very well produced documentary about the taking of Iwa Jima; considerably more dramatic than the raisings of that flag (once being for the photo shot.)
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Nobiles Barbariæ

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PostSubject: Re: Why is War Fascinating?   Fri 09 May 2014, 13:17

I find the background to war, reports of what was going on outside of the main spotlight at any time during a war, and the testimonies of the ordinary people caught up in such tragedies the more fascinating aspects to reading about war or if watching documentaries. War is when the social conventions and other niceties of civilised behaviour upon which we depend and behind which we normally hide our animosities are most likely to be stripped away, revealing often a rather more stark and honest portrayal of the reality beneath the facade. We can learn a lot from such evidence.

Battle strategies, deployments, hardware etc however do little to interest me normally. And much about war disgusts me. So yes, it is fascinating, but in a very qualified way.
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PostSubject: Re: Why is War Fascinating?   Sat 10 May 2014, 12:11

Like Nordmann, I am not very interested in the strategic bits of war and indeed don't really know how a gun operates, barely having held one.  War shows up dichotomies like courage and cowardice (though I don't really see why cowardice has such a bad rap, really), idealism and cynicism, illusion and disillusion, enmity and mateship, empathy and indifference, greed and sacrifice, etc.  I have been fascinated in the WWI oral histories I have been reading to see how quickly the young men were able to ignore dying people and at the same time fight bravely so they didn't let down their comrades. 

The other thing, of course, is that war is so omnipresent in current affairs and historical events and stories; you can't really get away from it. So in a way an interest in it is forced on you. 

But there are people who only find ugliness in war and can't bear to watch documentaries or films focusing on it.  [How do you spell focusing? I always want to put two 's'es in it, but the spellcheck objects; however it is American - the computer refuses to keep it on any other spelling for some reason - and maybe this particular spelling of focussing is too.]
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Virgo Vestalis Maxima

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PostSubject: Re: Why is War Fascinating?   Sat 10 May 2014, 12:27

Humans are nasty creatures and aggression - real or vicarious -  seems to be what we are programmed for.

I usually hate war and programmes about war, but when I watched the old film "Sink the Bismark!" I nearly cheered when we finally got the German ship. I was appalled at my own reaction - shades of the Sun's "Gotcha!" there.

But we are after all just highly evolved animals with a potent chemical soup sloshing about inside us. War is perhaps so fascinating because aggression causes the release of some pretty addictive stuff into our systems - killing is the ultimate adrenaline high. That's a chilling thought. I'm very confused by my own reaction to the news this week that women in the British Army are to be allowed to fight at the front with the men. I find that hard to deal with, possibly because it's the last thing I could - or would want to - do.

Am I a coward, a softy, a wimp? I think I must be.

That said, if anyone tried to invade our little septic isle I'd be down on the beach with me pitchfork (or something) with the best of 'em. Sorry, but I would.
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