Why warmongers have wet dreams about India-Pakistan war

Jingoists on both sides of the border thrive on sustaining hatred and conflicts.

 |  4-minute read |   13-10-2016
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"I started this war killing Germans in Africa. Then France. Then Belgium. Now I’m killing Germans in Germany. It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people gotta die."

Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband Brad Pitt’s character US Army Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier utters these lines in the 2014 movie Fury, a poignant and painful reminder of how much war can take from each of us. While not quite a masterpiece, the film lacks the dreaded stench of self-righteous soliloquies and takes the viewer into the belly of the beast — the eponymous American WWII tank — to smell the iron vapour of blood, rust and gasoline.

After decades of hostility, three full-scale wars and numerous assaults by proxy, relations between India and Pakistan are once again at sword’s point. Predictably, the warmongers on both sides have crawled out of the woodworks, settled down in front of their laptops or smartphones, and started churning out bizarre armchair-conquistador ideas.

brad_101316011251.jpg The 2014 movie Fury is a poignant and painful reminder of how much war can take from each of us.

The human tendency to wage war is an evolutionary puzzle. Vietnam veteran William Broyles may have offered an explanation in his 1984 article for Esquire magazine, "Why Men Love War".

"War is beautiful. There is something about a firefight at night, something about the mechanical elegance of an M-60 machine gun. They are everything they should be, perfect examples of their form. When you are firing out at night, the red tracers go out into the blackness as if you were drawing with a light pen. Then little dots of light start winking back, and green tracers from the AK-47s begin to weave in with the red to form brilliant patterns that seem, given their great speeds, oddly timeless, as if they had been etched on the night. And then perhaps the gunships called Spooky come in and fire their incredible guns like huge hoses washing down from the sky, like something God would do when He was really ticked off. And then the flares pop, casting eerie shadows as they float down on their little parachutes, swinging in the breeze, and anyone who moves, in their light seems a ghost escaped from hell."

Who would want a war between two nuclear-armed neighbours?

Well, Pakistan’s national security strategy is still driven by its perceived existential threat from India. Many of its citizens loathe Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a belligerent anti-Muslim Hindu fundamentalist.

The extremists want to provoke him into military action that would unite Pakistanis in a war against India instead of against homegrown terrorists. They feel, considering Modi’s reputation and self-image as a strongman, he would have to respond forcefully to violence emanating from the neighbouring country or he risks losing credibility.

The jingoists on both sides of the border thrive on sustaining hatred and conflicts, knowing fully well that the only ones likely to benefit from a war are the two countries’ armies, defence industries, ultra-nationalists, and religious extremists.

India’s keyboard hawks, mostly supporters of the BJP and hardline Hindu groups, have time and again urged the government to nuke Pakistan. To be fair, they are not discriminating. Many of these featherbrained fighters have frequently offered the sage advice of dropping an N-bomb (not the drug) on Kashmir or any group of people that doesn’t agree with their ideology.

Analysts feel the recent escalation will not lead to full-fledged combat between India and Pakistan as the main deterrent to a hot war on the subcontinent is nuclear weapons. The militarists have latched onto this, goading the government to choose conflict while cheerfully assuring the country that everything would turn out fine.

There’s much merit in the argument that Pakistan is unlikely to use the nuclear option because it knows that in such a scenario it would be reduced from an Islamic state to a gaseous state in a matter of minutes. But there’s always the teeny-tiny, atomic-sized possibility that if matters escalate, the military would drop a dirty bomb or two into the lap of a terrorist group and let it do some target practice on India.

The warmongers here may argue that this step too would prove suicidal for Pakistan. And that’s also a sound contention. Because, like we all know, the drought of suicidal tendencies among the rogue nation’s populace is well-documented.

Why do some people crave war? Perhaps because it conceals the limits and inadequacies of their separate natures. It replaces the difficult grey areas of daily life with an eerie, serene clarity. It creates a sense of unity in the face of a collective threat.

Or, as Broyles wrote, "Most people fear freedom; war removes that fear. And like a stem father, it provides with its order and discipline both security and an irresistible urge to rebel against it, a constant yearning to fly over the cuckoo’s nest."

Also read: India-Pakistan's phallic stand-off

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Pathikrit Sen Gupta Pathikrit Sen Gupta @pathikrit2sen

Sr Asst Editor @mail_today, @IndiaToday | Writer | Actor | Voice Artiste | Sofa Spud. At 6'3'', a bit of a stretch.

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