T Nation

Why Men Love War



I couldn't have said it better myself. Even if you have read it before, it's worth reading again.



"War is a brutal, deadly game, but a game, the best there is. And men love games."
--- quoted from the link

Now that war is becoming impracticle, we have to come up with a substitute.

"According to the report, a 15-member panel, called the Special Study Group, was set up in 1963 to examine what problems would occur if the U.S. entered a state of lasting peace. They met at an underground nuclear bunker called Iron Mountain (as well as other, worldwide locations) and worked over the next two years. A member of the panel, one "John Doe", a professor at a college in the Midwest, decided to release the report to the public.

The heavily footnoted report concluded that peace was not in the interest of a stable society, that even if lasting peace "could be achieved, it would almost certainly not be in the best interests of society to achieve it." War was a part of the economy. Therefore, it was necessary to conceive a state of war for a stable economy. The government, the group theorized, would not exist without war, and nation states existed in order to wage war. War also served a vital function of diverting collective aggression. They recommended that bodies be created to emulate the economic functions of war. They also recommended "blood games" and that the government create alternative foes that would scare the people with reports of alien life-forms and out of control pollution. Another proposal was the reinstitution of slavery."


I have read this before, but read every word again.

The fact that we are trying to deny this and the Bin Laden's (and other's) of the world embrace it is the reason they will eventually win if we don't wake back up.

This is an unbelievably accurate peek into human nature from a very rare man with the forthcoming insight to plainly recognize what most refuse to dare even intentionally think.


I agree.

I rarely speak up here, and when I do it is when I am honestly moved.

Thanks so much for this, Mike. It's the first time I've read it, and I was mesmerized from the first line.

I can honestly say that it is one of the finest articles I have read in my entire life.

Again, thank you so much for posting it here.


I'm glad to be of service. That article was given to me a few years ago by an english professor in college no less. It's helped me find peace with a part of me that even my wife can't understand.



This one is similar; not quite as good, but much more topical.




Even as someone who hasn't been through war, i think i understand post-war mentality a bit better now. good read. Would have to be the first time i heard an honost description of love of war that wasn't in a 80s movie.

almost like the whole thing " if you could ever feel the greatest and most significant feeling humanly possible just once and never again, would you?"

I think get the other side of the coin now why my family members and friends dont talk about their time in nam much, and only when theres alcohol involved does a little bit come out. And maybe why theyre so hardline anti-war. The author describes it as almost borderline torture having that feeling and keeping to yourself all the time.

Mike do you think this "love" have a role in ptsa, solitary social behavior, depression, ect with returning soldiers?


oh and i definitly understand where the author talked about feeling akward at reunions when everyone is drinking ect.

Ive spent a good deal of time at our local VFW hall/bar with friends and i couldn't understand the "aura" for better words that is always in the hall, i have a feeling this is what the author is describing.


..you still have a lot to learn...


I'm not entirely certain, but it wouldn't surprise me if it does. I remember sitting in the hootch in Iraq a few hours before our C-17 was coming in to take us home. I went outside by myself and cried like a baby because I knew that when I went home that was it. I knew exactly how much I was going to miss it.

When I got home I played World of Warcraft for 6 months straight. I lived on the money I had saved up overseas and I almost lost my wife on account of the fact that I couldn't pull myself together. I try to explain it to her four and half years later and she still doesn't really get it. No one except the guys I served with, and I never really see them anymore.

I remember damn near begging the Marine OIC of operations we were conducting in the Philippines against the Abu Sayeff to let me stay. They were worried about guys spending too much time on deployment (this was before Iraq but after 9/11) so they send my small detachment back after about 4-5 months. I had been sleeping on the hood of a Humvee for the bulk of that and it was the happiest time of my life.

I wasn't kicking doors down in Fallujah, but I've been scared shitless for my life and the lives of men under me. I've left good friends behind. Perhaps it was because I wasn't as far in the fight as some guys that I fell in love with it. I don't know. But here's something that they dance around the edges with in these essays that was so attractive to me: every day mattered.

You see, I've had plenty of days since I'd been back. I had plenty of field ops in peacetime. I've worked as a security supervisor at a casino, a card dealer, and a telephone locator. I've taken kids out to do their community service. I've spent the bulk of my time as a history student and now as a law student. But in each of these jobs I could screw up royally and it really didn't matter. Hell, I really don't even have to show up. It doesn't really matter. War isn't like that. If you screw up then someone you care about can die. But what's better is that when you do well, you can save lives. The satisfaction of a job well done will never be matched in the civilian world.

When I arrived in the Philippines the locals were terrified to even look at us. They were afraid of reprisal by the Abu Sayeff if they were friendly toward us. By the time we'd booted the Abu Sayeff these people would run a hundred yards out of their huts to come and wave.

Here in the U.S. I'm just some skinny guy working on his law degree. Until I ran into my wife I couldn't get laid in a college town. In PI I was the guy scared shitless but pushed through physical pain the kind I haven't felt since. I was this guy for whom ADULTS and kids alike would freak out just to touch me. Think of girls at a Beatles concert. I'm not all that certain even they got the treatment we did.

It really just came down to the fact that things mattered. Every day was very real. I wasn't just punching a clock.

And I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way. I've got a wife and beautiful little daughter. How do you explain to your wife that a high five from a little Filipino kid is better than the first time you've had sex? I've been out for almost five years now and kept telling myself that it'd get easier every year I move away, but it's really only been the opposite. It's a daily battle to not call up the recruiter and go back. It's kind of pathetic to tell you the truth. It makes a guy feel like the uncle on Napolean Dynamite. But there it is, every single day. It's like a shadow that walks with me everywhere I go. I never felt like I'd lost my individuality. Quite the opposite. I felt like I was a superhero. I did things that others couldn't do and I'm not talking about the tools put in my hand. I'm talking about motivation.

I remember reading this book a year ago called "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman. This guy goes off to fight these aliens but due to space-time and all that jazz, when he'd returned after a 6 month deployment it was 40 years in the future. He had become disillusioned in the army and swore he wasn't going to reenlist but when he got back to Earth he re-upped anyways because he was so out of place and didn't like the place he came back to. I think it's like that for a lot of us.

And, it just occurred to me that this post is waaaaaay too long.



This was a great read. My dad served in Vietnam, and I'm sure this captures exactly how he feels about it. He never really talked about it to anyone while I was growing up, save for a few times late at night while he was trying to stay awake, driving a truck across various states.


Good stuff Mike. I think the author hit a lot of things right on the head that vets feel. Guilt about enjoying the experience is one of them.


Evil emotions can grip anyone. I hate war. Just because you may get some sick pleasure form it, does not meant it's not sick and wrong. Psychopaths love WAR. REAL psychopaths ARE war mongers.

I much prefer PEACE and Exploration. Meeting cultures. Learning. Traveling. Inventing. Building cool machines for fun and human benefit.

War has been Bred into you by those who profit from it the most. Think about that for a second. Open your mind.

Did you know that people who were abused all their life in a sick way seek out to be abused? That they are unhappy with normal fruitful relationships. That's why they never have them, but dream about a good ideal life anyway. It's a curios dichotomy.

That's why the article casts a wrong conclusion, IMO.


Excellent reasoning on why we shouldn't send men off to war, excepting the most dire and desperate of circumstances.