Eating ice-cream in Vietnam,
Belgian chocolate in Ypres;
Sipping beer on the Killing Fields of Cambodia –
A damn sight better than blood and screams.
Sitting in a deserted pillbox
Surveying the beauty of the beach and sea
Through an oblong slit;
Walking through a forest of majestic unbroken trees
In the woodland at Vicksburg
Where thirty seven thousand men were blown to bits.
Photographing butterflies and birds
On the flowers on the battlefield of Culloden
Where two thousand suffered
The agonies of slashing wounds or death.
A damn sight better than being pierced by steel,
Slashed, smashed and shattered.
Then Hiroshima, Dresden, the London Blitz, the Crusades
And Jihad – What was it all for?
The IRA, Black Panthers, Weathermen and Baader Meinhof –
Shrapnel, chlorine, uranium, steel, bombs, bullets, missiles, napalm, knives, swords, machetes and indoctrinated will.
What is it for?
Enemies become friends.
Time changes everything.
Nothing is gained.
Agony, blood, sacrifice and early death.
Such a waste.
Standing on the scene of such terrible carnage
One is reminded of the stupidity, tragedy and uselessness.
What is it for?
Eating ice-cream in Vietnam where Agent Orange destroyed so much, twisted thousands of lives and created nothing but misery, I was struck by the pointlessness and waste.
I would rather be eating ice-cream and photographing flowers.
There is nothing quite as stupid as humanity. History gives perspective to everything. To stand on a battlefield and look around one sees nothing but stupidity.
Culloden was a beautiful meadow full of grass, flowers and shrubs on which the birds and butterflies flitted. Back in 1746 two armies charged each other with blind hatred. They slashed with swords and hacked each other to death. They inflicted terrible injuries and horrendous agony. They were driven by patriotic passion.
Vicksburg was the battle that was a major blow to the Confederacy. Men were shot and blown to pieces. Limbs were blown off. The mud was sticky with blood.
Hiroshima melted people alive. People stumbled out of the city with their skin dragging behind them like grotesque shadows. They were half cooked alive.
Now ISIS is using medieval methods to kill slowly to inflict the greatest agony. They burn people in cages, slowly drown people, slice their heads off, bury them alive, crucify them and slowly crush them.
War. What is it for? Time robs all of these maniacs of their purpose. Today Vietnam is a tourist trap, Scotland is part of the UK, the USA is united and Japan is a friend from which we buy our cars and TVs.
Tomorrow ISIS will be a dim distant memory. They will be remembered with disbelief and disgust. All their obscene ambition will have been seen to be pointless.
All those wars; all that blood; all that agony – all pointless! There was nothing that could not have been sorted out through intelligence and humanity! Jaw jaw – not war war – as Churchill said!
There are no easy answers or quick fixes. War is the last resort!