Some pessimistic historians think the whole society of man runs in cycles
and that one of the phases is war.
The optimists, on the other hand,
think war is not like a flood or a spell of bad weather.
They believe that it is more like a disease
for which a cure could be found if the cause were known.
Because war is the ultimate drama of life and death,
stories and pictures of it
are more interesting than those about peace.
This is so true that all of us,
and perhaps those of us on television more than most,
are often caught up in the action of war to the exclusion of the ideas of it.
If it is true, as we would like to think it is,
that our age is more civilized than age past,
we must all agree that it’s very strange that in the twentieth century,
we have killed more than 70 millions of our fellowmen on purpose, at war.
Probably the reason we are able to do both ? that is,
believe on the one hand that we are more civilized
and on the other hand wage war to kill ?
is that killing is not so personal an affair in war as it once was.
The enemy is invisible.
One man doesn’t look another in the eye and kill him with a sword.
The enemy, dead or alive, is largely unseen.
He is killed by remote control:
a loud noise, a distant puff of smoke and then...silence.
The pictures of the victim’s wife and children,
which he carries in his breast pocket,
are destroyed with him.
He is not heard to cry out.
The question of compassion or pity or remorse does not enter into it.
The enemy is not a man, he is a statistic.
It is true, too,
that more people are being killed at war now than previously
because we’re better at doing it than we used to be.
One man with one modern weapon can kill thousands.