Once again, Donald Trump has shot his mouth off, remarking that John Mc Cain was not a hero just because he was captured and tortured. It’s a dinosaur, but a real one–it used to be thought, indeed, that it was unheroic to be captured rather than just go down with your boots on.
After WorldWar I, William Butler Yeats put together a collection of war poets into which he would not put any poetry by men in the trenches, because he considered “passive suffering”unheroic. Time has proved his opinion outmoded, and that also he missed some great poems like Wilfred Owens’ Dulce et Decorum Est.”
But there is another peculiarity about war” the warrior wanabe. These are men who claim to have been in the military, but actually, were not. I heard the statistic one that for every man who actually served in the Lafayette Escadrille, 100 said they had. My Sunday school teacher told us her uncle was in the Lafayette Escadrille. When I grew older and checked the roster of the L.E, there he wasn’t. They will often study the war extensively by reading or military history conferences.
There are aspects of being taken prisoner which are quite dangerous. If an officer has given the order “take no prisoners,” you won’t even get a chance to try! The moment of surrender is really a matter of a life or death situation an individual opposing soldier can shoot him because he just does not want the trouble of a prisoner.
World War I and its aftermath removed the glamour from war. You could die from a shell explosion miles away by a man you never even saw. Yet the idea of bravey and courage resists dying off completely.
War is an experience unlike any other, which creates an atmosphere Teilhard Chardin describes as “magnetic.” He is not alone is using that word. George Bernard Shaw tried to minimize his visit to the front by entitling an essay on his visit “Joy Riding at the Front.” (Nothing was bigger than GBS!)Everyone who had a chance to visit the front took it–Edith Wharton had to be restrained from going further!
Chardin refers to war is something which thrust itself up through our fixed universe. And war costs money. This is probably the untold toll. War stops: inflation sets in, followed by a Great Depression.. and we are all effected . For every earthwuake, there is always an aftermath.