View Full Version : An obvious message on war for the modern world

Rising Sun*
03-31-2010, 09:22 AM
A consise statement of the problem politicians and military leaders have failed to grasp and to resolve since WWII, from various post-colonial wars to Vietnam to Afghanistan and to whatever their next ill-considered conflict will be.

What is the purpose of a war machine of such a monstrous size that it cannot be exerted against a small, weak and recalcitrant nation? ... It is hard for people caught in the mould of conventional thinking to re-think the functions of armed force in the modern community. It is hard for them to reach the conclusion that the objectives which from time immemorial armed might has pursued, are no longer attainable by it. And that these huge war machines, intolerably burdensome in every respect, are no longer relevant to existing society. ... the war machine, whilst it can capture and hold a specific military objective, is incapable of re-shaping a whole community. It cannot be used for the imposition of long-term social and political policies, for these ferment and fructify in the minds of men and women , and cannot be created and maintained by the crude mechanisms of armies, navies and air forces.

Permanent social objectives are beyond the reach of armed force, and yet it is to the attainment of just such objectives that the war machines of the whole world, including Russia and the United States, have set themselves.

Aneurin Bevan, Introduction to Paul Johnson's book (which I am reading) The Suez War, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1957

06-13-2010, 12:00 PM
Let us not forget, however, dear old Nye Bevan was a closet socialist, and didn't greatly care to have his envisionment of a people's Utopia disturbed by the realities of life in his, or any other era.
The statement, in as far as it goes, is admirably concise, and typical of Bevan's notorious bluntness.
I cannot help but feel, however, that his worldview overly coloured all such pronunciamentae he is recorded as having made, both privately and publically.

Kind and Respectful Regards RS* My Aussie mate, Uyraell.