Greetings Fellow BookNerds
Before you dedicate yourself to reading todays post, I should tell you right off the bat that you will not find a book review, and most likely no mention of a book in any way, shape or form. This is more or less just an offering of my own personal thoughts, inspired by one of my all time favourite classic tv shows; M.A.S.H. For those unfamiliar with this 1970’s sitcom, M.A.S.H. is the story of a group of doctors who worked at the 4077 mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean war. What separates it from most other war themed shows or movies is that the events are portrayed based entirely on the perspetctive of the doctors who had to operate on the soldiers, conveying the more gruesome and bloody side of the war that many people during that time were unaware of.
Why do I bring this up all of a sudden? Well, as I often do when I have run out of original shows to keep me entertained during my sudies, I fall back on the ones I have not seen for quite some time. I happened to be in the mood for something with a bit of comedy, and I thoroughly enjoy the quality of Alan Alda’s acting. It was after I had watched a few seasons of it that I was finally hit with a line of thought that has crossed my mind many times before; what is the point of war?
The history of human civilization, or more accurately our progression towards it, has been wrought with battles, violence and bloody turmoil, enough to make ones stomach turn over at the mere thought of it. We have killed in the name of religion, culture, patriotism, ideology, and some have even gone so far as to create an enemy where one did not exist. Many who have doned the uniform and taken up arms proclaim that they must fight in order to ensure peace, for supposedly peace can only be achieved through war.
At the risk of angering those who firmly believe in this truth, I must confess that I just don’t see it. I don’t see a world where war will ever achieve peace. Our history is primarily defined by centuries of killing and slaughtering, and today, nothing has changed. Perhaps it is not taking place right outside our doorstep, but the endless war still rages on.
One of my favourite quotes from the show was a bit done by the character Benjamin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce about how he absolutely refused to carry a gun. He really couldn’t have said it any better.
These views on the war are told in a comedic fashion, but there is a sincerity in those words that seeps through the jokes and sheds light on the very real horrors people witnessed during that war.
Alan Alda, who played Pierce in the show, really puts it best in an interview about the show and why it ended up doing so well.
My eyes cannot see past the death to the glory and honor that others see. My brain simply becomes scrambled from the confusion of how humans can justfy killing each other for any reason, for I see nothing that is worth taking a life for. There is an episode of MASH where the character Frank Burns is trying to explain why they are in Korea, claiming that the threat of communism will come to the United States if they do not stop it, and Pierce asks what it is that they have that North Korea could possibly want? Burns, thrown off by the question, says that they want their bathrooms, and they will do anything to get them, and Pierce answers by saying he will gladly give them his if it would stop the war. This was one of my favourite episodes, because it shows just how ridiculous war can be, especially when no one really knows what started it in the first place, or what either side is really after.
This could just be my idealism talking, but I really do hope there will come a day when people from every country and continent around the globe will realize that we are all on the same side, and that this senseless war amongst ourselves will never come to an end unless we all throw in the towel and grasp each others hands in friendship.
Thank you for humouring me, for I realize that this rant went on quite a bit longer than I had meant it to. Next time, I assure you it will be of a more literary nature. Until then, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, and as always, happy reading!