go to war or go to jail

(The photo is of me on a training exercise back in the day.  Note:  I have an AK47 in my hand.  Rawdawg will appreciate that.  Click on the photo to see a larger version.)


Here is a little known fact: by formal education, I am a military historian.  You start life down one path, then end up on another.  I had every intention of being a working military historian.  Things happen.  People change.  Life moves on. But that is another story, for another day.

I was rummaging through my attic looking for an old journal of mine that contained a passage I wanted to quote in an essay.  In the messy process of searching for this journal (I am so glad we now have things like blogs, and macjournal, with search functions) I stumbled across one of my old military history notebooks.  I couldn’t resist having a skim through it.  This passage caught my eye:

9 reasons why governments go to war:

– to reclaim certain rights or defend them
– to protect interests of the state
– to maintain balance of power
– to fulfill treaties and alliances
– to promote political or religious theories
– to acquire territory
– to defend independence of state
– to avenge insulted honor
– for conquest

I suspect a combination of these reasons could work as well.  I am just thinking what category might places like Iraq and Afghanistan fit.  I see Iraq being about protecting the interests of the state and possibly about the balance of power.  That’s just me speculating.  My mind no longer occupies this kind of space anymore.  I have no desire to go deep with this.  I am curious, though, about where other current conflicts might sit.

By the way, I cite in my notebook, Antoine-Henri Jomini as the originator of the 9 reasons governments go to war.

Perhaps some of you arm chair generals and politicians out there might want to have a go at classifying some of the current conflicts.

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