Wars of Blood and Faith

By Major Van Harl, USAF Ret.


“The genocidal impulse isn’t an anomaly. Humans are hard-wired for it. Only civilization and the rule of law occasionally allow cultures to control the enduring longing to exterminate those perceived as enemies,” states Ralph Peters the author of Wars of Blood and Faith (ww.stackpolebooks.com). Basically, mankind is in a perpetual state of war with the occasional outbreak of peace where laws help temporarily to interrupt the killing. That sure does not give you a warm, safe feeling with which to sleep through the night.

As both a retired policeman and soldier, I have to sadly agree with Ralph Peters. Man will go half way around the world, as a member of an army, to do battle with a group of people he knows nothing about. He will do what he is best at, which is killing his neighbor. Hollywood has done a great job of letting use know that blood is thicker than water. No matter how much you dislike your immediate family, you are still expected to stand beside them on the main street of Dodge City, in a gun fight against an enemy of non-family.

What we are talking about here are tribes. According to Peters, tribe is a term that has fallen out of favor in mainstream media and education. You might insult a minority group that feels it has worked hard to rise above the local village politics mentality.

One side of my ancestry comes from Scotland, where tribes were called clans. Different word, but it meant the same thing. The clans of Scotland fought against each other to the amusement and political gain of England. The English never really conquered the Scots on the field of battle, they just let the clans do what they were the best at--killing their fellow Scots of a neighboring clan. Tribalism will get you or the other guy every time.

In the US, we don’t understand tribalism because we believe America is the melting pot of the world. We allegedly welcome all newcomers, no matter what their old country tribal make-up is, as long as they are willing to assimilate. What you do on the weekends is your own business. If you want to speak in the language of your family’s origin and perform the customs of that culture, that is fine. Just remember that on Monday morning, when you head to work, you must be prepared to be that melting pot American.

I suppose that is what we want and need to keep tribalism from forming in the US. However, every time the issue of diversification is pushed to the front of the media and education agenda, there is yet another opening for tribalism to seep into our culture. In North America and Western Europe (sort of) we are a Judeo/Christian culture that is based on the concept of peace. However, more people are killed in the name of religion than for any other reason.

Violence in the name of religion has no problem with crossing racial and tribal barriers. Protestant and Catholics have had no trouble killing members of their own country, or even local village, in the name of their branch of Christianity. Most people in the US don’t even understand the differences and unending violent conflicts that go on between Shi’i and Sunni Muslims. Two sects of the same religion that will go to war with outsiders, but are most accomplished at killing each other.

At some point the West is going to have to pick a side in the Muslim-on-Muslim violence and assist their choice in destroying the other side. Remember, they would rather kill their neighbor than travel to the far corners of the earth to kill strangers. It is also, logistically, easier to kill locally.

In the opening of the book, Peters quotes General Douglas MacArthur: “It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.” The US has not really won a war since WW II. Tribalism and religion are putting the US on a collision course with an up and coming mother-of-all US wars and we are going to have to win it outright. This means we must stop worrying about collateral damage and how the Americans will be expected (as usual) to pay to rebuild the enemies they destroy in this future war of survival. Peace with honor means nothing if someone else controls your freedom and way of life.




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Copyright 2009 by Major Van Harl, USAF Ret. All rights reserved.

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