Call me Simple, but I Just Don’t Understand

November 5, 2009 at 11:22 am 3 comments

War is Hell. Sound Bites aren’t so good, either.

That phrase should be enough to make anyone think twice, three times, 33 times about entering such Hell. Instead, political hawks use “War is Hell” (attributed to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman) with the righteous air of martyrs who’ve already decided on battle.

Upon first glance, this post may seem removed from Writing, Branding, Journalism and Marketing Communications. But amassing so much recognition – good and bad – around Sherman’s famous three words helped usher in the “sound-bite” news culture that has done so much damage to communication today.

Sherman’s longer quote goes like this: “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.”

Blessed are the Peacemakers …
Why doesn’t that sound bite (from book of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 9) reverberate through more than just church sanctuaries? I don’t understand how people can talk about “the right war” or “the just war” and then also call themselves Christians.

Yes, peace in the world may very well be impossible. But shouldn’t you strive for it? Even if you don’t want to listen to what Jesus had to say about it. Shouldn’t you listen to more of Sherman’s description of war?

This is not a tribute to Gen. Sherman – who did and said some terrible things, that’s true. I’m looking for understanding about war. He lived it and has a better decription of it than his 3 word ditty.

I will assume that the great majority of people want to see an end to all war. Can you end war by starting war? Remember “the war to end all wars”? Ever heard anyone say “this will be my last cigarette”?

Look at it this way – President Obama and other leaders: You want to improve Health Care in the U.S. and the world? Start by choosing NOT to escalate the fighting in Afghanistan.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Social Side of Medicine Don’t Wall Me In

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alice Morrow  |  November 6, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Glenn, once again, I cannot agree with you more. War is hell so why do we want to send anyone there. Add to this that this hell was started based on false premises eg Iraq, and probably won’t be rectified by continued escalation in Afghanistan. I think social aide to the Afghani’s, especially women and children, and our withdrawal would be a much more effective strategy.

  • 2. Chaz  |  November 9, 2009 at 9:17 am

    You could probably bring one more name into the fold: Dwight D. Eisenhower. His 1961 warning on the military-industrial complex has completely left the public consciousness — if it was ever there in the first place.

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that corporations that profit on war have heavy influence in Washington and it is in the best interest of its profits to continue the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars.

  • 3. Joe R  |  January 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm


    You are spot-on. Thank you for pointing out that war is failure.

    I would love to see you pick up the conversation more frequently! Keep it coming!


    Joe R


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