Sunday, August 3, 2014

212. War

“Tell me about war.” Oh no. I hate it when C.W. gets like this. He assumes the form of a 12-year old boy and starts asking questions for which I don’t have good answers.

I said, “What do you want to know?”

“I want to know why.”

“I don’t think there is a good answer,” I said.

“Good people die in wars,” he said.

“That they do.”

“Then why do some of your species love it so much, including many in your country?”

“I wish I knew,” I said.

“You’re celebrating the beginning of one a hundred years ago,” he said. “Why?”

“I don’t think we celebrate it,” I said, “I think we simply observe it.”

“The delicately complex and understated inferences of your language confuse me.”

“The ‘subtleties’ of our language cause much confusion,” I said.

“Could that be one of the reasons you love war so much?”

“I don’t love war.”

“Do you hate it?”


“Then why don’t you protest it?”

“Don’t you have something you could be doing? Have you reported to the Falloonian Elders lately?”

“This War of the Entire World Number One,” he said. “Why did it start?”

“Someone assassinated an archduke.”

“He must have been an important one.”

“Not too important, but it set two countries at one another.”

“For revenge? Couldn’t the guilty country simply have paid the other what the man was worth?”

“The country wasn’t guilty,” I said. “just one person.”

“A corporation person?”

“No,” I said, “the other kind. Corporation persons don’t go to war.”

“Why not?” he said. “They stand to make lots of money from them.”

“Hey,” I said, “why don’t we go fishing?” He has taken up this activity lately and it has become one of his favorites, as long as I bait his hook for him.”

“So all the countries of the world chose sides and went to war because one archduke was killed?”

“Not exactly.”

“Why exactly?”

“Only two went to war.”

“That’s not the whole world.”

“Only two at first. Then there were treaties and alliances.”

He thought for a moment, “Things written on paper?”


“The entire world went to war because of things written on paper?”

I thought for a moment.“I’m afraid so. Those dragged the other countries into the conflict.”

“Things written on paper?”


“What was written on your country’s?”

“Uh …,” I struggled. “Our country didn’t have one.”

“But it entered in anyway?”

“Late in the conflict,” I said, “but yes, we entered the fray.”

At times like this, when he struggles to assimilate illogic, I swear I can smell electrodes frying.”

“I’m beginning to understand,” he said.

I was relieved. “Now,” I said, “let’s dig us some worms and go fishing.”

He ignored me. “Other countries go to war over things written on paper and your country joins in because it seems like fun.”

“That’s a gross generalization,” I said.

“And this current conflict in what they call your planet’s ‘Middle East’ that threatens to start War of the Entire World Number Three is being generated by things written on paper over two thousand years ago.”

Wouldn't it be nice if your corporation people said their
religion prohibited them from supporting war? - C.W.
I stopped in my tracks and thought, but I didn’t have a ready answer.

“The world may see a conflict,” he said, “involving the most modern technology, including nuclear weapons, because of words written on paper by bronze-age scribblers who didn’t even know that the earth orbits around the sun?”

I struggled hopelessly. “Well it may have been papyrus.”

He looked at me with true sadness in his eyes. “You really are a big dope,” he said.

“Hey,” I said, “I’m not the one who wants to go to war. I’d rather go fishing.”
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