Some film-buffs would associate the quotation with Richard Attenborough’s 1969 musical film, the farce “Oh What a Lovely War !” In fact, it is an outrageous, pathetic, tongue-in-cheek line from Howard Hawks’ 1936 movie, “The Road to Glory”, a pacifist, cinéma-vérité film portraying the horrors faced by French soldiers in the trenches of World War 1 : the recurrent absurdity of 50% killed in every attack “over the top”, the screams of a comrade agonizing in the barbed wire twenty yards from the trench, the Dutch courage of officers fueled by aspirin and cognac, the incessant, deafening, deadly bombing, the frightful treatment of the wounded and the dying in field hospitals.
War is never lovely. But today we are all caught up in a unique, unprecedented conflict that is particularly vicious, in that it is being waged by terrorists who remain invisible until they decide to strike selected targets of unsuspecting groups of innocent people whom they assassinate with assault rifles. Other wars end. Even the 100-year War ended. The World War, begun in 1914, did finally end . . . in 1945 ! The terrorist war could go on forever, as long as radicalized individuals, lone wolves, driven by their Islamist fanaticism, decide on their own to destroy the enemies of Allah, or as long as Daech and other terrorist organizations decide to strike massively, anywhere they please, with their weapons of guaranteed destruction, suicide bombers. Other wars end with defeat and armistice. The terrorist war will end only when the terrorists themselves decide, for whatever reasons, to cease and desist.
We can and must try to protect ourselves, to identify, disarm and restrain potential terrorists. But the only real solution is to get the fanatics to recognize that they have been duped into believing that God is calling them to kill His enemies and even themselves, His blind, faithful servants. Until terrorism’s target populations – one day that will cover the planet – unite to deradicalize the fanatics, it will be terror as usual. Meantime this Blog will continue in its feeble efforts to attack and ridicule the blindfaithblindfolly which fuels fanaticism and this unlovely war.
D E L E N D A R E L I G I O