7-year-old Nermin Divovic lies mortally wounded in a pool of blood as U.N. firefighters arrive to assist after he was shot in the head along Sarajevo’s notorious Sniper Alley. The boy died outright. November 18, 1994 –

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I agree completely. I indirectly reference this in some of my other responses, but the thing about war, the reason I have always been fascinated by it, is that it exhibits not the worst of humanity, but the full spectrum of human experience. Sure, you see the children who are shot, in cold blood or in hot and heights of sadism and cruelty most people would prefer not to know exist. It should be a terrible thing to even consider and let alone to fascinate, but it isn’t… for one thing, it tells us a lot about human nature and just how bad we can be, but it is also the scene of acts of compassion and courage that ordinary circumstances just don’t call for.

I’m trying to avoid rambling here, but I think I can make the point this way… I love a lot of stories from history, good and bad, [but one of my favourites is from 1914](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce). By December, they had devolved to trench warfare, one of those experiences that the healthy human mind just cannot adequately envision. On the 25th, Christmas Day though, all those people on both sides who had been so intent on killing each other, often in defiance of orders, stopped fighting. No official orders, no planning, they just stopped. They went out into no mans land and they exchanged gifts, they sang carols and played football matches. That is an image that is hard to convey… these people were propaganda infused, had endured trauma that is hard to imagine, had watched their friends die at the hands of these people… yet their they are, playing a game of football and sharing chocolates in the middle of a hellscape with people they had been killing the day before and would resume killing the day after. That isn’t something that you can imagine, it goes against every simplistic view that we have of humanity and of soldiers… they are traumatized and brainwashed and taught to kill without remorse on one side, on the other extreme they are noble and courageous and so on. The first side can’t explain the Christmas Truce, the other side can’t explain snipers executing children… it’s a degree of complexity that challenges every simple assumption about human nature.

Which brings me back to what you are talking about, this idea that war is so terrible to us because it isn’t a moral absolute, it doesn’t let us put simple boxes of good and evil round this that and the other. It is a complexity, the idea that even people now, those living safe and happy lives with none of the suffering that precipitated things like Hiroshima can look back and say with certainty that we would (or would not) have dropped those bombs. That goes beyond what people are comfortable with, they would rather say that war is hell, war is evil and those who make war are evil… History takes those moral absolutes and burns them into cinders.

TL;DR: I agree and I’m sorry about the length… this post kind of took on a life of its own.

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