Why I Can’t Talk

WARNING: This post contains some pretty controversial views that I hold about war. Please be aware this was/is/and will never be intended to offend anyone.

I have what some would call a controversial view of war. I prefer to think of it as progressive, but I can’t fault anyone for viewing it as a point of contention. In all honesty, they’re right.

I don’t believe in war. I don’t support it in the slightest. To me war is just a group of people in power forcing those who are not to kill and maim one another. Another bourgeoisie/proletariat debate that will never be solved.

For that reason, I have a huge problem discussing the Borden book in class. More so now than earlier simply because we’ve read further in the text, but a problem nonetheless. I get so heated about everything and I’m not sure I could accurately explain myself without devolving into a full blown set of sobs.

A major theme we’ve seen in most, if not all, of the texts we’ve read this semester is that of pointlessness/worthlessness. In the section of Borden we read for class today, a man tried to commit suicide and the narrator had to deal with the ethics of letting him die vs. letting him live. If he lived, he would most likely be shot and killed for basically trying to desert the war through death. If he died, he would escape the war.

We also read about the ethics of being a nurse in WWI where the job description implies bandaging the sheep and leading them to slaughter.

In real life, all the fighting and the death leading up to armistice was pointless. Both sides knew the war would end Nov. 11th, 1911, at 11 a.m. So why did they keep fighting? When the nurses bandage up the soldiers, they know they will be sent back into battle. So why keep bandaging? People talked about the war as the “peace to end all peace.” So why keep sending people into battle? In All Quiet we heard the men joking about just sending all the people in power to battle and sparing those who typically do their bidding. So why continue going?

How do we read all of the war books, listen to all these accounts, learn all this information, and continue sending ourselves into war? Continue sending our own selves to die? What’s the point of it all?

In class Dr. Scanlon said,

“The whole Earth is going to slide off of itself”

Isn’t that what Borden is saying? That by continuing the war we’re allowing humanity to self-destruct? Isn’t that what we’re doing today?

This really makes me wonder (and you all should too) who really is the bad guy? Who is the good guy?

War just seems so beyond hypocritical to me. It’s sickening.

Sorry this was more of a rant than anything else. I just felt like if I didn’t say anything, I’d explode. Obviously, if I were to say this out loud, I’d be extending the inevitable and explode then too. It’s a no-win situation…a lot like war.



207 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Talk

  1. There is SO MUCH slaughter stuff to write about, which really gets to me, but I don’t want to talk about that here.
    I agree with your viewpoint of war. I think it is pointless and depressing and very sad. My boyfriend and I get into debates over this all the time. He wanted to join the military when he was younger but due to medical reasons was not allowed due to being a liability, so he is very pro-military and pro-war. I don’t see the point in sending people out to die for another person’s gain (who benefits from war? who has a say in the war?). It just all is monsterous. Borden relates these men to animals all the time, but isn’t that how we are acting? Like violent and uncivilized people just killing to kill. Maybe to kill so they won’t be killed. An extreme version of survival of the fittest. All of it grosses me out. It all makes my heart sad. It all angers me. I ask the same thing you do, why keep fighting, why keep bandaging? Because it becomes so ingrained into them they don’t know what else to do, they’ve lost themselves, they’ve become robots, machines, beasts, everything but human, and I think that is the saddest part for me.

  2. I agree with both of you! Jordan, you’re definitely not alone! I think its one thing to arbitrarily discuss and debate war, especially if you haven’t experienced it closely. But when you really stop to think about it, the ripples that affect the soldiers, the doctors/nurses, the families, and society at large are pervasive and seemingly hard to understand, let alone combat! I think with war, dehumanization (animal comparisons, mechanization, infantalization of men, inanimate objects of war wielding power over people) is at its peak and I think that’s the scariest thing to contend with. And we see it over and over again in all of the texts, both in class and in contemporary society. Also I’m soooo excited to see the slaughterhouse analysis

  3. Jordan, do you see that in some ways you are living the paper prompt? It’s too hard to find language for trauma, fury, grief. You are immersing in the words of people who tried, whether for or against the war. Dissolving into sobs is reasonable.

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