Four Swords Good. Two Spears Better.

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Seeing this statue making tribute to the exploits of Alexander the Great made me think: there has always been a weapons race. I knew that, but the length of these spears showed clearly that a guy with only a sword would have a hard time getting close enough to use it.

Thus, there might be four guys with swords, but two guys with spears would give them a run.

But what I'm thinking about here is how we, as combative and aggressive civilizations, tribes, towns, countries and all sorts of rough alliances among all those, have always fought against others. Sure there have been periods of peace. That's the good part about being human. But the history of conflict and war is sadly interweaved with every part of out history.

For example, at the time of Christ, the Romans occupied Palestine and made the rules. A thousand years later the Crusades were battles fought between Muslims and Christians for that holy terrain. Yet 1,500 years before that the Macedonians with Alexander the Great at the lead pushed out from their homeland to conquer land to the east. Not important who got what land, since around here ownership has changed every century or two, if not more often.

My point is that we as humans have become obsessively cunning at making weapons to better our neighbors.

The early battles were fought with weapons such as these:

So lets look at this. Just when the guys with spears and swords though they had the advantage. Some guys showed up on the battlefield dressed like this:

 

And when they started carrying these crossbows, suddenly the spears were outlengthed.

 

Sure the suits of armor helped against the crossbows and bows, with their deadly bolts and arrows. But not everyone got a suit of armor.

Then again, someone came onto the battlefield with these:

And with gunpowder and explosives, the situation got worse and worser. And it continues to get worser.

These next three photos show weapons from the First World War. Note the device used to shoot out of a trench without sticking your head up.

And this is a bicycle built for two.
These weapons were used in the Bosnian War.

The suits of armor went away when explosives hit the battlefield. Suits of steel armor do little against weapons like these.

 

 

And, even though the fighting forces of the various tribes, armies and other groups fighting each other wore uniforms to identify themselves, the uniforms just made them targets for the other side.

Things got worse during the First World War, when the battle went into the air. It started with pilots shooting at each other with small weapons. And has now developed into bombings, such as this:

Yet, it was not good enough to just have bombs. Those cunning minds behind weaponry, realized smart bombs would be even better.

These images were taken in Belgrade, Serbia this year. They show the results of NATO strategic air strikes on the Defence Ministry buildings in 1999. The buildings have been left to drop away. Memorials? Or no money?

NATO made many air attacks in Serbia in an effort to stop what NATO determined were extreme measures by the Serbian government to suppress Kosovo independence. The air attacks killed many people and caused much damage. In the end, though, the war in Kosovo stopped. And just this week there are movements by Serbia to recognize Kosovo's status as independent.

If you talk to Serbians, generally speaking, they are outraged by the bombing by NATO in 1999. Yet in Kosovo, the people are very happy with what the Americans did as the primary movers behind NATO.

So the question is this: as you look at the destruction, is it acceptable to make this destruction in the name of peace?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that the older building to the right is not hit too badly. Just some shrapnel.

And across the street from this destruction of 1999 stands a statue celebrating two earlier heros of war and religion. Defiantly, they raise they arms at something. When smart bombs blew up the building just across the street in 1999, these two were long dead.

But their images of war and religion, and maybe even love and peace struck me. Like us, they stood and watched yet another military catastrophe play out. Yet they, like us, could do nothing except watch.

Even so, their image against the backdrop of war says something. People, living or dead, still care about others. At the same time, whether by an axe, sword, spear, crossbow, musket, cannon, or even smart bombs, humanity will keep fighting each other.

So there it is. Those who want war and those who want peace. And in between that there are those people who realize they must be able to fight for peace. Thus, all sides continue to arm themselves with the latest gadgets to outdistance the enemy. It's smart bombs against spears.

 

 

 









About This Place…

"This website is dedicated to the many people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have suffered and died."

 

The writer was a journalist, prosecutor, and Canadian soldier who is now trying to help the people who live in the DR Congo.

 

The photographs and the commentary here are solely those of the writer and his pet dog named "Bark." The United Nations and MONUSCO have nothing to do with this website.

Similarly, the township of Puskokum in eastern Tennessee is equally not interested.